Using LinkedIn Groups – Both for Job Search and Professional Visibility

 In LinkedIn

Taking advantage of this LinkedIn feature will not only be beneficial as you look for a new job, but will also raise your visibility within your profession and can establish you as an industry leader. There are more than 2.1 million groups, and the average LI user will join 7, however, you can join up to 50.

To find relevant groups, under the “Interest” tab, scroll down to groups. You want to choose groups (at least when first beginning) in 3 areas:

  1. Level
  2. Skills Set or Job Function, and
  3. Industry.

So, for example, if you are an operations manager in the manufacturing industry, you would search for groups at the management level, in the operations job function, and in manufacturing. You can also join your university alumni group and charity groups that are of interest to you, and if you are actively in a job search, there are thousands of groups that will provide job leads, advice, networking, etc.

When evaluating which groups to join, the rule of thumb is to choose larger groups so that you are exposed to a greater number of people. Some groups will automatically accept new members, others are approved by a monitor. Keep in mind that you can always drop out of a group that doesn’t fit your needs, so try out as many as you like. Also, if you don’t want to tip your employer off to your job search, you can make your groups private.

Once you are a member of several groups, it’s time to start networking. In addition to learning from others, your want to find people with similar backgrounds to connect with. There are two ways to contribute in a LI group:

  1. Start a discussion; just like at a “live” networking event if you are the speaker you will be noticed more than if you stand in the corner and say nothing. Ideas for posts include a link to an article along with your comment, initiating a conversation about a current event or best practice in your industry, etc.
  2. Ask a question; are you looking for a good website, or information on an industry certification, or software recommendation??

After you post your discussion or question, you’ll want to follow the comments. You do not need to answer each comment. However, if someone who has a similar background or works at a company you are interested in, go ahead and respond to their comment. Starting a dialogue is a good way to build a rapport and you are likely to have a connection request accepted.

Another method for adding connections is to scroll through the group member list down to second line connections and research those individuals. Send a request indicating your shared interest, i.e., “We don’t know one another, but we are members of xyz group, and I see you have a background in manufacturing operations. I would like to connect with you.”

Finally, here are a few warnings:

  • Don’t post daily or post irrelevant information; post a question or start a discussion once a week at most; you can, however, like or comment daily.
  • Don’t ask for help.
  • Don’t enter into a public debate. If someone says something negative about your post ignore them!

By following these suggestions for participating in groups, LI will reward you by including you in a greater number of search results, you will expand your network, be more visible, and meet more people.

Kathy Keshemberg is a Nationally Certified Resume Writer and Certified Career Management Coach. Since 1983, she has created thousands of interview-winning resumes and related job-search materials for satisfied clients around the world. Need assistance with your career? We’re here to help!

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