LinkedIn is a popular resource for job hunters, entrepreneurs, and professionals to exchange ideas and find each other. One of the best places to do both is by using LinkedIn’s groups. You can find lots of great information and resources and you don’t even need a premium account to take advantage. All you need is some thoughtful research.
What groups should you choose?
There are several ways pick. The best place to start off would be to check if the professional organizations you belong to have created LinkedIn groups. Also check for alumni groups. These can be a boon to your network because members will post about local events, webinars, and job posts too.
There are job hunting groups too. Some are even field specific. Take advantage of the advanced search to see what you can find. LinkedIn will tell you how active the group is before your join.
The other kinds of groups you should join are groups that focus on professional issues or topics that your are interested in. They are the best places find industry news and new blogs to help you stay informed.
Posting in a group
If you are trying to promote yourself or your company, the best way to do that is to answer a question. It’s way classier than just posting your about company/blog/product. Often people new to a field or seasoned professionals will post questions asking for advice. If you write a concise answer with links to resources, it will show others in the group your prowess and experience. And always remember to proofread.
When you first join a group, it’s best to just hang out awhile and see the kinds of content members post. Take note of who posts, who responds, and what they’ve included.
Be mindful that people will get emailed based on your interactions in the group. So do not spam.
Adjusting your settings
Speaking of email, by going to the settings menu in each group you can change the frequency of emails you receive from groups. You can also adjust whether or not the group will appear on your profile.
Sometimes some groups should not appear on your profile. For example, if you are employed, you do not want a job hunting group popping up on your profile for your manager to see. If you are job hunting and unemployed you might want that to be one of the first groups that’s visible on your profile.
Job hunting help
Often recruiters from staffing agencies will be members of job hunting or sector specific groups. Often they will post jobs and other opportunities on the main feed. You can connect with recruiters but do your homework first. Look at their profile since it’s accessible and look up reviews about the company.
Again if you are employed be mindful of your privacy settings. Your boss mind find it fishy that you’ve become friendly with several people that can take you away from your current job.
Starting or managing your own group
Another great way to promote yourself is to start and manage your own group on LinkedIn. Because there are so many groups on LinkedIn, do your research to see how many similar groups there are. Try to bring something different to LinkedIn like a topic that isn’t covered that often. The best kind of group to create ultimately will attract people that you would like to meet and network with in real life.
And just a reminder…
Networking doesn’t just start or stop on LinkedIn–It’s just one piece of the pie. Go to events, job fairs, and conferences too! Meet some of those people for real and form lasting connections.