You don’t have to be looking for a new job to take advantage of networking. Whether you are a student breaking into the profession, looking to change jobs, and especially if you’re comfortable in your current position, having a network of professional contacts and colleagues is a huge advantage to your career. A well-developed network of fellow paralegals means that you have a group of knowledgeable individuals that you can call upon when you have questions, need a reference, a referral, or just a little help. It gives you a support system full of people who do the same type of work you do. There may be times you need to vent about a task or a case, and others might not understand it quite like another paralegal. You’ll find it easy to talk about work among people in your network.
Some simple ways to grow your network:
1. Join Professional Associations and Attend Events
Paralegal associations provide a wealth of information on topics that help you grow your career and become a better paralegal. Since you are reading this article, you’ve already got the membership part down, but do you attend the events? Socials are a great way to meet your fellow paralegals. Push yourself out of your comfort zone, make small talk, exchange cards, and make friends! You can also become involved by serving on the board or volunteering to help with seminars or other functions.
2. Use Social Media
Social media has made professional networking easy. There are many platforms in today’s world to network. Facebook and Twitter are nice, but LinkedIn is one of the best platforms for paralegal networking. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, you should create one as soon as possible. Your profile should summarize your professional expertise, skills, and accomplishments. Next, search for associations in your area, look at the profiles of other paralegals you know and see who they are following, or just let LinkedIn suggest contacts to you. As your network grows, you can find and collaborate with qualified professionals that will help you accomplish certain tasks or advance your paralegal career.
3. Take Advantage of MCLE Trainings
We all need to attend these trainings, so why not take advantage of the opportunity to chat with other paralegals in the room? Engage with the people around you and exchange contact information. Bring a stack of business cards to make sharing information easier. You may meet someone who can help you answer questions down the road.
Whether you are at a professional event, online, in class, or waiting for court to begin, make friends with the people around you. It will often result in a new contact that you can use to build a network of knowledgeable, skilled professionals that you can call on when you have a need.
About the author:
Amy Jo McGuigan, a paralegal at Swanson & McNamara, is the Paralegal Section’s Vice Chair.