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How Expanding Your Legal Network Opens Up New Opportunities

By Erik Lige
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To advance your paralegal career, you must continually add tools to your toolbox. These tools include your professional network. Why limit that network to the people you know today? Grow your professional network, and eventually you’ll also grow your career possibilities—as well as grow in your personal relationships.

Although the benefits of expanding your network are many, we think the four best outcomes of doing so include:

Personal relationships

Networking isn’t just about making and nurturing professional contacts. You also benefit from personal relationships. As you meet and get to know other paralegals and even attorneys and law professionals, you build a network of people you can go to for advice and even the occasional pep talk on the really hard days.

References

Your professional network will know you by your reputation as much as by anything else. Develop a positive reputation so that people will share what they know about you with others, passing your name along when they hear about an opportunity. Build a strong and positive reputation so word-of-mouth marketing can be working in your favor even without your knowing that it’s going on.

Job openings

When you have a reputation and people are acting as references for you on your behalf, that means you’ll know about job openings without even looking. If you are the perfect candidate for a job and they know about you, that might mean you’re offered a position that otherwise you might not ever hear about. At the very least, you will have your foot in the door as a familiar face—or name. Remember, research shows 85% of all jobs are found via networking.

Mentors

If you have the pleasure of getting to know someone both personally and professionally through your networking, that relationship might develop into a mentorship. Having an experienced mentor in your life to offer guidance in your career, and in your work/life balance, can be invaluable. That person has learned lessons the hard way and can save you from grief by passing along what they’ve learned to you. Plus a mentor can be an encouraging influence when you’re feeling discouraged and down. Again, they’ve been there.

Tips for growing your professional network

If you’re now convinced that you’ll benefit from growing your professional network, you might be asking how to go about doing so. In this day and age, you have many ways to meet and connect with people, both in person and online. Three obvious and easy ways to grow your network are described below:

  • Attend various events in the legal space, and set about meeting new people. Purposefully get to know people and grow your network that way.
  • Join a paralegal group or association. Ideally you’ll be able to join one that meets in person, but if that’s not possible, find one online to join. And then take part in it. You won’t grow your network by simply adding your name to the membership roster.
  • Actively use LinkedIn to discover business opportunities, gain insight by participating in discussions, and make discover new connections.

Networking can open doors of possibilities for your future, and that’s an important reason to expand your network and connections. But these relationships can also be meaningful and beneficial to you in ways beyond your paycheck. You can grow in knowledge, build a support group, and even make some true friends with just a little bit of effort.

 

© 2019