Most professionals know that LinkedIn is a great way to put your resume online and connect to other people in your industry. However, not as many people realize that LinkedIn groups are also highly useful tool for advancing their career.
Groups can be one of the most helpful places to find information on jobs, connect to professionals you don’t already know and develop a personal brand. However, most people either never use them, or don’t understand how to move forward once they do join a group.
Here are a few suggestions on how to make the most out of LinkedIn Groups with the aim of advancing your career.
The Groups to join
The groups which will probably be most beneficial for you are those associated with your field, your job and your location. If you can identify a group that includes all three, it’s going to be one where you will probably get the most return on your efforts.
After you join a few groups, take note of the conversations that are taking place. There are plenty of helpful, well-moderated groups on LinkedIn, and some that are terrible. It won’t take long for you to realize which kinds of groups you have joined. For example, bad groups either have very little activity, or they’re chock full of spam and blatant self-promoters. Get out of the bad groups, and spend your time in the good ones.
How to participate
Once you join the group, don’t just wait for the opportunities to start rolling in. Look at the posts in the discussion threads and comment on any you find interesting, or that you could provide insight on. Think of these discussions as a way to either learn something new or share your knowledge.
One major benefit of participating in group discussions is the chance to meet people in your area or industry and form a professional connection. Another benefit is the chance to position yourself as someone with expertise in the industry.
In addition to jumping in on what others are posting, it’s also important to start your own discussions and share interesting content with others. Be sure to begin a conversation with the intention of getting fellow group members engaged.
Just be conscious of the group rules and tone of any given group. For instance, don’t introduce politics or controversy if the group tends to steer clear of it.
Furthermore, it’s important to be mindful and deliberate in what you are posting, don’t lash out at those you disagree with or put down group members and their contributions.
Finally, if you end up have a rough time finding a group that’s right for you – go ahead and start your own group. If you’re going to start your own group, you have to be dedicated to moderating it, recruiting others in your field and regularly engaging group members.
Like most networking endeavors, LinkedIn Groups can benefit you when you’re looking for a job. They help get your name out there for hiring managers to see, introduce you to potential job leads and act as a source or professional support.
Groups also help after you’ve gotten the job. They allow you to identify potential clients for your company, act as a knowledge base and help you to find professionals in an attempt to fill an open position for your employer.
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