Growing a Professional Network: Using LinkedIn’s Groups

3 May

When it comes to embarking on a serious job search, we constantly hear about the important role networking plays in our success.  There are multiple ways in which a job candidate may choose to network; community events, attending professional organizational meetings, and participating in web-based social networks. 

LinkedIn is the Internet’s most widely-used business social networks, and claims that over 65 million professionals use their site to exchange information, ideas, and job opportunities.  One aspect of using LinkedIn that many job seekers may not have previously considered is utilizing the groups feature to grow their network exponentially, with little additional work.

Here are the top five reasons every job candidate should consider signing up for LinkedIn’s professional groups to expand their networking reach, and ultimately land their next job.

1.  The job seeker should search for and join groups that cater to their specific field and industry.

For example, if an individual is a pediatric R.N., they would search for groups within the health care industry, and include pediatric nursing in their keyword search.  A list of search results will provide the candidate with a number of group networking options.  To determine which group is the best match, simply visit each group’s home page, and read the description.  Each member of LinkedIn can join up to 50 groups.

2.  Gain access to targeted job openings.

Each group has a job posting area, where hiring managers and recruiters may post their openings.  Every member of the group can access these job openings on demand, or choose to have updates emailed directly to them.

3.  Connect and send messages to fellow group members.

Job seekers who join LinkedIn groups can easily connect to other members of the same group, without being first level connections.  For example, suppose an individual has 100 first level connections.  They find a hiring manager is looking for a Staff Accountant in their Dallas, Texas office, and this is their target position.  Instead of having to pay to send InMail, (LinkedIn’s direct messaging service), the job seeker who shares a group with the hiring manager may send them a direct group message.  This is an excellent way to expand a person’s network reach, and connect with industry professionals who serve as decision makers.

4.  Post blog entries to groups.

For those job seekers who blog about their profession, and believe it serves as an asset to their employment search, they have the ability to cross-post their blog entries to members of their groups.  When making a blog entry, simply click on the “share” button, and click on the LinkedIn logo.  Candidates who are not sure whether or not their blogging platform offers the share option, can sign up to join add-this.

5.  Start a LinkedIn Group.

For those individuals who do not find a group specific to their needs, LinkedIn allows them to sign up to start their own.  To get started, simply log in on the home page, click on groups, and select “start your own.”

With the high number of members who regularly participate on LinkedIn, it is very likely there is a group for every field and possible profession.  When pursuing a quality job opportunity, it’s important to utilize a professional network.  This enables the candidate to find unadvertised jobs, connect directly with decision makers, and land their next job more quickly.


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