Saturday, May 2, 2009

Twitter: How to Use it To Increase Your Job Marketability

By Marina Sarmiento Feehan, JD, Asst. Director of Employer Relations, Office of Career Planning, USF School of Law.

I have recently started using Twitter and it is my latest obsession. I tweet for the Office of Career Planning (username: USFLawOCP) and I got so hooked that I created my own account (username: marinafeehan). The more I learned about and used Twitter, the more convinced I am that Twitter is a great opportunity to market yourself and pitch your skills to employers.

Here are a few tips on how law students should use Twitter:

  1. Use Twitter Professionally. Twitter is not Facebook but most students use it like a Status update shortcut. Instead of tweeting about how you are falling asleep in Property class, tweet about what you are learning in class. Create a professional persona, as Twitter is so new that it has no privacy settings: what you say is out there for any Twitterer to see. If you are using your real name, your tweets about your drinking nights may be on the web forever. Legal employers are increasingly googling employment candidates, and web-activity you think is normal and fun may look like poor judgment to an employer. The legal professional is all about the exercise of good judgment. Exercise that judgment now and clean up your Twitter and on-line profile.

  1. Create Your Personal Brand. Twitter is an amazing marketing tool. Use it to market yourself to potential employers, colleagues and clients. Upload a lawyerly looking photo, preferably a head shot. Create a bio that states what type of law you practice or the practice area(s) you are interested in. Your profile can also include honors, memberships, and leadership positions. Use your Tweets to promote your knowledge about the law. Did you write a published article? Tweet that but not in a bragging way but in an informative way, i.e. “Wrote article on 4th Amendment, analyzing new case law @ hyperlink.” Did you go to a special lecture where you gained more knowledge about a certain subject? Tweet about what you have learned in an intelligent manner.

  1. Follow Others. Are you interested in Aviation Law? Appellate Law? Employment Law? There are Twitterers who specialize in those fields. Do a search on “law” to find and follow them, then use Direct Messages to show your interest to start a conversation. The trick is to get your name in front of the people doing what you want to do. Exchange tweets, learn about that field and think about what that person may want to learn from you. Your tweets should add value. For instance, you can tweet (or Retweet “RT”) articles about the practice of law or other items that may be of interest to lawyers. Follow legal newspapers on Twitter to be up on the latest legal news that you can pass on to others.

  1. Thank Followers. Exercise good manners by acknowledging and thanking your followers. Tweeters who sent me a Direct Message once I started following them impressed me, enough to make me check out their profile and to consider following them. Your Direct Message is also a good way to point others to your website, your blog, and/or your LinkedIn profile in your signature block, which of course, should all be professional in tone. Then keep in touch and remember to add value. Tweet at least once or twice a day to keep your name out there. Remember, Twitter is all about increasing visibility by increasing the number of followers you have.

  1. Move Beyond Twitter. Twitter is a tool and one avenue to engage in social networking. You can also use it to meet actual people in person, i.e. real life networking. Move beyond Twitter and set up an “Informational Interview” to interview that attorney who is doing exactly what you want to do. Find out about her career path, ask her questions about how to break into her field and what you can be doing now to increase your skill set to be attractive to employers. While the Web 2.0 is an amazing tool, one of the best ways to find a job is to get away from your computer and start making face time.

Hope to connect with you on Twitter soon! If you have any questions, drop by the Office of Career Planning and we are happy to assist you. Follow OCP or me on Twitter @ USFLawOCP; @ marinafeehan.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Street Sign Fun.

Yet another reason to totally love this city sometimes.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Most Important Story in History on CNN's Main Page.

With all that boring madness involving the economy, the new President, or that pesky dust-up across the pond, thank goodness this story is getting the proper amount of attention.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Hearsay Through the Hallway.

I'm sitting in the SBA Office, toiling away on my moot court brief, and I had to close the door to insulate myself from the sound of 1Ls talking (at an above necessary) volume in the hallway about grades. Oh to be a 1L once more - the sheer innocence of the time. If you would have told me two years ago that I would have spent the last two day-and-nights working on a brief and taking 1-3 hour naps on the office couch instead of sleeping in my bed, I likely would have laughed at you for believing I'd ever subject myself to such madness.

[sidenote]: I just heard through outside the door, "And let me know if your GPA is higher than mine. Wait, is it possible to get higher than a 4.0?"

Is it just the newness of it all that compels 1Ls to carry on with these kind of conversations? Are they still making lame law jokes? At what point did 3Ls stop making those same lame jokes?

In any event, did anyone else read the email regarding Arthur Zief's upcoming Memorial? I couldn't track it down on the site, so here's the guts of it:

USF School of Law is extending this special invitation to past and present Zief Scholars --
On Saturday, February 14, 2009, please join the University of San Francisco in celebrating
the life and contributions of our distinguished alumnus
Arthur C. Zief, Sr. B.S. '41, J.D. '47
1919 - 2008

Memorial Celebration: St. Ignatius Church 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Reception: Dorraine Zief Law Library 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Basketball at USF Memorial Gym: Gonzaga v. USF Dons - Tip-off at 7:00 p.m.

Two things struck me as odd:

1. Was it necessary to host a memorial on Valentine's Day, especially when the man's been dead since July? Seems like the entire Fall semester was one giant opportunity to host the same event. And I'm not pretending the "holiday" is a big deal that requires deference, but really, a memorial on the same day that Hallmark has convinced us we're supposed to be celebrating love? If single folks needed any more of a reminder of just how alone they are on that day, a memorial is probably the cherry on the sundae.

2. Does combining the memorial with a basketball game undermine the sanctity of the event for anyone else? Keenan pointed out that Zief was a huge Dons fan, so the basketball game makes sense. I can accept that, but it still strikes me as a tad garish.

Update on Oscar Grant.

And the protests rage on another night. But it sure is nice to see members of Grant's family come out and ask the protesters to stop destroying property.

I think it's downright inspiring that his mother, while dealing with her own grief, can still clearly see the forest for the trees. I can't say for certain I'd be able to do the same were I in her shoes.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

On the BART Shooting & Oakland Riots.

During one of my every-other-hour check of new headlines on CNN, my attention was drawn for the first time to an iReport, specifically a video clip of four young guys from Oakland, entitled 'The Oakland Riots - Youth Explain Their Anger.'

I'm not exactly sure what separates iReport from youtube - the discussion board was atrocious for the most part, so they have that in common. When I scrolled down to check out the comment board, I was initially shocked at how off-base the discussion got - to the point that many people were only now lobbing racist rhetoric back and forth. Some of it even dealt with trying to offer a rational explanation (i.e. racist justification) for why the BART officer (Johannes Mehserle) fired on Oscar Grant - arguments based on race/crime statistics. I attempted to throw in my two cents (included below), but couldn't manage to get any real traction with all the misspellings and hyper-offensive arguments going on. Here was the point I tried making:

There seems to be a scary amount of "missing the point" going on on this board. First and foremost, it's clearly a tragedy that this man was shot. There's no point in trying to rationalize it by pointing to any statistics relating to race/crime - the man was clearly not posing enough of a threat to warrant lethal force. Second, it was clearly inappropriate for people to react to this tragedy by attacking/destroying the property of people who had nothing to do with the incident, regardless of how poor (or not) the above folks are at articulating their views (or not). And finally, any fair-minded person can recognize the possibility of a scared and possibly poorly trained BART cop mistakenly pulling his pistol instead of his taser gun. If you're under the false apprehension that taser guns do/can not resemble pistols, I recommend doing a google image search. It would take a fool or an intentionally obtuse person to not recognize that.

Am I off-base here?

I mean, based the video I watched, it looks to me like Mehserle was shocked at what he had just done. I'm not so cynical as to think that not only did he intend to fire a pistol (as opposed to a taser gun) into the man's back, but that he is cool-headed enough to feign surprise at the result.

I don't think any more needs to be said about the rioters, I'm probably preaching to the choir on that one.

Out of curiosity, any thoughts on what the liability will be here? My take is that BART (i.e. California?) is in for a hefty civil suit (like, maybe, this one) for failure to properly train the guy - that seems pretty clear. What about criminal charges? Manslaughter? Seems like the most vocal on the subject are calling for murder charges, but I can't see any way that that notion will get anywhere.