Many job seekers make the mistake of overlooking valuable networking opportunities that are right in front of them. One example of this is Linkedin groups. These groups provide an opportunity to connect with a large number of people who work in your field, and are looking to expand their network. They can also be a valuable tool for your industry research, and can provide you with an inside look into a particular organization or field. Here are some tips to help you benefit from your Linkedin groups.
Read the discussions: The discussions that take place on Linkedin groups are an excellent source of information for job seekers. You can learn about the challenges that face your industry, keep up to date on recent trends, and become familiar with the language and buzzwords that are used in the field. All of this information can help you demonstrate that your knowledge is current, and that you have a strong understanding of the industry.
Post relevant information: When you post relevant and interesting information on group discussion boards, you can easily position yourself as an expert in the field. Three to five posts per week will make you appear consistent, but not spammy. These posts could be articles or research done on best practices in the industry, changes to legislation, or links to useful websites. Since most professionals try to keep current, they will appreciate it if you make it easy for them by posting these links.
Join the discussion: Respond to other peoples’ comments on the group discussion boards, and join the conversation. These discussions provide you with the opportunity to publicly showcase your knowledge and expertise. They also allow you to connect with people who may otherwise be difficult to reach.
Reach out: Periodically browse through the members of the group to see who is there. You may find someone who works for a company that you are targeting, or someone who is currently doing your dream job. Don’t be afraid to approach these people to ask for advice, or simply to connect. By joining the Linkedin groups, they are saying that they are interested in networking with people who work in their field. While it is not appropriate to ask someone for a job on this forum, most people will be happy to connect, and you never know where the connection will take you.
Now that you’re excited to join Linkedin groups, take a look at your profile and make sure that it is professional, and that it represents you well. Once you start joining groups, lots of people will be checking out your profile. Join as many relevant groups as you can find. If a particular group is not a good fit, you can always leave it. As it often is with networking, you have make a solid effort before you will see any meaningful results. However, the possibilities of these groups are endless.
(Written by: Karen Bivand, Photo From: Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net)