Social media has exploded over the past few years, even becoming an acceptable marketing tool. More recently, it has become a popular way to network professionally and build up an individual’s brand, especially in the law field.
Daniel W. Linna Jr., assistant dean of career development and professor of law in residence at MSU, said the marketplace for lawyers is changing. To be competitive, lawyers must learn the importance of building relationships, not only through face-to-face networking, but also by creating an online presence and brand.
According to the college’s website, application forms are being accepted through Jan. 12. There will be two campaign status updates, one on Jan. 26 and the other on March 2. After these updates, eight to 10 finalists will be selected to give a presentation on their social media campaign to a panel of judges in late March.
“This is somewhat of a progressive idea,” Linna said. “The tide has really turned.”
Third year law student Brian Pike has experienced first hand what kinds of professional connections can be made on social media and said experimenting with it and seeing what kinds of connections you can make is crucial.
Pike said he held an international internship position with a law firm in the United Kingdom simply by reaching out to them on Twitter and initiating a conversation that led to something beneficial for both parties.
“When it comes to career development, it’s all about relationships,” Linna said.
Social media is a great way to build a knowledge system and stay up to date on what’s happening in your areas of interest, Pike said.
When it comes to the social media contest, Pike said, “It’s a great idea. It’s really good because it facilitates conversation and different points of view. We all bring a different perspective.”
Pike said he hopes to focus on being more active in LinkedIn discussions during his campaign.
Monetary prizes will be awarded to the first place campaign, two runner-up campaigns, and five honorable mentions, funded through the Dean’s Choice Grant from MSU Federal Credit Union.
“I’m hopeful that they will have a representative ... to help us pick (winners),” Linna said.
Sarah Bohan, vice president of corporate relations and MSUFCU, said the Dean’s Choice Grant is a fairly new program intended to allow deans to showcase students’ excellence by submitting a proposal for a student competition they feel would best highlight their college or department.
Linna said he hopes students will learn to market their unique professional traits through the social media contest and make a case for why an employer or client should hire them.
“It’s an important way to signal your expertise,” Linna said. “You can put on a resume all of these things, but to show an employer that you are using such skills (is more impressive).”