While social media is often seen as something that only teenagers or young adults use, it’s actually used by a wide variety of people. Take a look at paralegals, for example. The type of online presence that they have can affect the types of professional contact that they have, the number of job opportunities available to them and what other people in their field think of them.
If you have a career in law, you might have more paralegal friends than you can count. On the other hand, you could be the only paralegal in your circle of friends. Social media can help you find and become acquaintances or friends with other people in your field. Some websites were created specifically to connect individuals with other professionals, but other sites are more general. Whether you use Linkedin to reach out to other paralegals who are working at different firms or Facebook to gently introduce yourself to new coworkers, using social website platforms can help you start or continue to build your network. You can use this opportunity to mentor individuals who are new to the paralegal world or seek advice from experienced professionals who are willing to share their knowledge.
As you become acquainted with more people in the paralegal field, you may notice that many job opportunities are only available through word of mouth. According to Forbes, 41 percent of surveyed employees stated that they got their current job through networking. While this includes both online and face-to-face networking, more social interactions are starting to primarily take place over the Internet. In addition to hearing about open positions through the grapevine, you may find out about available jobs by looking on potential employers’ social networking pages. For instance, if a company is looking for a paralegal, the person in charge of hiring may decide to post the position on the company’s Facebook page instead of putting an advertisement in the newspaper. This is beneficial for both employers and employees as less people will know about the job opening, so applicants will have less competition, and employers will know that most of the people who they interview are actually interested in the company and aren’t just looking for any job that they can find.
You can change the way people think about you by posting or not posting about specific things online. For instance, your boss and coworkers are more likely to think highly of you if they find out through Twitter that you’re involved with various charities or spend a lot of time with your family. On the other hand, you probably won’t be looked upon favorably if you post bad things about other people or about going out and partying a lot. Keep in mind that anyone can see most of what you put online. If you say something bad about your employer or admit to wrongdoing, it might not just make you lose a few friends, you could also lose your job.
There are a lot of things that affect paralegals now that didn’t before the 21st century. Social media can be harmful if you aren’t careful, but if you’re mindful of your online presence, it can be a good thing.