One of the ways LinkedIn adds value to overall career management and job search is that, when leveraged to full advantage, it will keep you and your executive brand top of mind with your network. Using LinkedIn Groups is one way to accomplish this.
To help you land faster, your network on LinkedIn should include recruiters and hiring decision makers at your target companies, and others who can help you reach your career goals.
Steady, gentle reminders of the value you offer can position you as a potential good-fit for your target companies.
Using LinkedIn Groups with a smart strategy will help you do this.
How to Find the Right LinkedIn Groups to Join
LinkedIn allows you to be a member of up to 100 Groups, as of this writing. You’ll want to join different types of Groups, with different kinds of members, such as Groups:
- Representing your target employers and industry
- With people working at your target employers and in your target industry
- For the professional or affinity associations you belong to
- Focusing on job search and career (But be careful with this one. More about this at the end of the chapter.)
5 Ways to Find the Right Groups
1. Search for Groups using LinkedIn’s search engine, based on the categories above.
2. Take a look at the profiles of the following and see which Groups they belong to:
- People in your existing network
- People working at your target employers
- Job seekers with qualifications and backgrounds like yours (they may be competitors)
- Other people whose radar you want to get on
3. Accept invitations you receive to join Groups.
These show up in your LinkedIn feed, messaging or InMail.
4. See if LinkedIn has recommended Groups for you. (More about this below)
5. Ask the people you know well in your various existing networks which Groups they recommend.
The Mechanics of Finding Groups, According to LinkedIn
LinkedIn explains the specifics for finding and joining Groups:
You can search for groups by name or keyword, or you can browse groups recommended for you by LinkedIn.
To search for groups by name or keyword:
Enter your keyword or group name in the Search bar at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
Select (group name) Groups from the dropdown.
To browse for groups recommended for you by LinkedIn:
Click the Work icon in the top right of your LinkedIn homepage and select Groups from the menu that appears.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Search.
On the search results page, you can view a list of groups that are relevant to your search.
This feature identifies existing groups on LinkedIn that may interest you. We look for similar attributes between you and other members in groups (attributes such as companies, schools, or industries in common) and present suggestions for groups you may want to join. You’re not obligated to join any group.
If no groups are recommended for you, the reason could be:
• You’ve already joined or requested to join all available recommended groups.
• All available recommended groups have been removed.
• There are currently no recommended groups available for you.
• Your profile may be missing information like current or past companies, schools, or industries, which makes it difficult for LinkedIn to recommend a group.
How to Use LinkedIn Groups
Before joining a Group, see which members you already know, or you’re already connected to on LinkedIn. You can nurture and deepen your relationships with these people by being in the same Groups. When you go to a particular Group page, you’ll see in the center column whether or not you’re connected to any members, and you can view them.
Also before joining a Group, read over their rules and guidelines, and be sure you’re willing to adhere to them.
When you first join, just look around and take some time to get a feel for how that Group operates.
Look at recent conversations in your Groups’ feeds. When you’re ready, chime in and add your thoughts. Answer questions people ask. Put on your problem-solving cap and help people with resources and advice from your own experiences. Demonstrate your subject matter expertise.
Add images and/or documents to better engage with people. Choose images from your files. Choose documents from your files, or from Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Drive.
Add video to engage even better. LinkedIn allows native video in Groups, which perform better than the embedded videos allowed elsewhere on LinkedIn.
Once you’re comfortable with a Group, start your own conversations:
- ask thought-provoking questions
- share articles by others
- offer resources you’ve found
- share a personal story
- ask for feedback
- post relevant news items
- share relevant blog posts
More LinkedIn Groups Tips
Always respond as quickly as possible to any comments others make about your conversations.
Carefully proofread any of your comments before you post them. Along with showcasing your knowledge, you’re also demonstrating your communication skills.
Share content that you’ve written (blog posts, articles), with a link to your website, if applicable. But don’t go overboard with this, and don’t ONLY do this kind of posting, which may be viewed as promotional. Don’t risk damaging your reputation and brand. Don’t risk being flagged or kicked out of the Group.
Cross-post relevant content you’ve posted in your feed into appropriate Group feeds.
Practice what you see going on in your Groups. Track the people who get the most engagement and do what they do.
Be sure you always add value to the conversation. Establish your presence and become a go-to for your areas of expertise and industry thought leadership.
Practice “give to get” networking. Don’t start out by asking for help or a favor. Instead, spend some time initially responding to group members who need help.
Just as you should do when you post updates, @mention people and add hashtags in your Groups’ posts.
Create a realistic plan for your LinkedIn Groups involvement. To have an impact, you’ll need to show up regularly in your Groups. Will you have the time and inclination to stay engaged with all the ones you belong to?
Expect to leave some Groups and join others over time, and for various reasons. Opt for Groups with a decent number of members, say, over 10,000, unless you don’t care how many people are in the Group.
IMPORTANT !!! If You’re Job-Hunting Under Cover …
It’s okay (in fact, it’s a good idea) to join job search and/or career-related Groups, and check in regularly to pick up valuable advice about navigating today’s job search, but:
- DON’T show the Group logo on your profile.
- DON’T post anything here (or in any Group, or anywhere else online) that will “out” your search.