LinkedIn is an invaluable – actually a crucial – tool in the job hunt. Chances are, your future employer will be there, looking for someone like you.
Once you’ve created your profile, it’s time to go a little deeper and take advantage of the resources LinkedIn offers you, absolutely free. One of LinkedIn’s most valuable resources is its library of Groups – many hundreds from which you can choose.
Dubai Jobs Group. Ukraine Wine Industry. Online Psychologists. There really is a Group for everything, and if you can’t find a Group to match your career or interest, you can start one. LinkedIn Groups are like networking meetings, only you don’t have to go out in the rain in your high heeled shoes, and you don’t have to buy a lunch that will go uneaten because you don’t want to risk getting spinach between your teeth.
LinkedIn describes its Groups this way: they “provide a place for professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to share content, find answers, post and view jobs, make business contacts, and establish themselves as industry experts.”
Being involved with groups have numerous benefits.
- Actively participating in Groups will show that you’re serious about your career and that you write and interact professionally. Showing respect in the Group will show your possible-next-boss that you know how to play in that proverbial sandbox.
- Your Groups posts can be made visible on your profile, so anyone seeing your profile will be aware of your professional knowledge. (If there’s a group you don’t want listed on your profile, go to your settings to change that. More on a confidential search here.)
- If you create a Group and it’s successful because you’ve invited the right people and kept it interesting, your possibly future boss will see that you take the initiative.
- A Group manager can send out one Group announcement per week. This is a great way for you to get your brand into people’s inboxes.
- Participating in a Group will allow you to broaden your network, easily connecting with and messaging people who are not currently your connections, since you don’t need to know their email for this.
SUPER-COOL TIP: To message a non-connection in one of your groups, do this: go to the group, find the person you want to message, hover over their picture, click on “send message” on the middle of the bottom of the pop-up box. No need to pay for an Inmail!
One added bonus about LinkedIn Groups is that people must request to join. The manager can choose whether or not to let them in. This detail provides an air of exclusivity, and helps you look more attractive to potential employers.
Now that you’re in a Group, what do you do to stay active and be noticed? In addition to commenting on others’ posts and participating in discussions, here are some things you can post:
- Introduce yourself. Even if you don’t mention that you are looking for a job, you can position yourself as a professional. Be direct, original and succinct.
- Find out what people think by asking questions (“I’m giving a presentation on employee engagement to other managers at work. What are your tips for building enthusiasm in your teams?” or “If you attended the Prenatal Care Conference last Tuesday, what are your takeaway points?”)
- Have you recently read an article by someone in your field that you found useful? Post a link.
- Start a LinkedIn poll. This app will allow you to find answers to your business and market research questions. You’ll be able to find out how people in different positions, ages or genders answer your question, and you can even share it on Facebook, Twitter, or your own blog or website.
- If you have an upcoming event, link to it to inform or invite people.
- Share your own post, but make sure it’s within the Group’s rules. Some Groups don’t allow you to self-promote, and they vary on how many “strikes” you get before you’re “out.” Check first.
- Have you found a job in your field that you don’t want to apply for, but another group member might? Pay it forward and post that job lead.
Groups can be a great way to engage with colleagues, make new connections, discover new opportunities, and promote your brand. Now that you’ve got some ideas for what to say in your groups, go start a new discussion today!