It’s no secret that LinkedIn is an essential tool for modern job search. These days, creating a strong LinkedIn profile is as fundamental as writing a great resume.
However, LinkedIn is a very robust platform with a lot of bells and whistles. The question most users ask is this: What features are actually useful for my job search?
In particular, LinkedIn groups are one area of curiosity. From afar, they look so exciting. Some groups have hundreds of thousands of members! And honestly, there’s a group for everything it seems—any field, any industry, any professional interest…you name it, there’s a group.
Like any social network, groups and the dynamic conversations that take place within them can really suck you in. So, is that a good thing or a bad thing for your job search?
Actually, groups are a great thing…if you know what you’re doing. They can definitely enhance your search in a number of ways. For example:
- Recruiters often browse through groups as a way to source talent. As an active, valuable group contributor, you can get on their radar.
- You can message people who are in a group with you, even if they aren’t directly in your network. Likewise, other group members can message you. This opens the lines of communication and makes it easier to create new contacts.
Of course, you won’t get the benefits if you’re just a passive member of groups. Plus, you want to make sure you’re using your time wisely with them. To effectively use the groups functionality, consider doing the following:
- Only join relevant groups that you feel could provide two-way value, meaning that you can contribute to the group and also receive value from it.
- Stick to a reasonable number of groups—like 5 to 10. More than that and it becomes impossible to be active in all, which makes your membership pointless.
- Add value to the group by posting thoughtful comments, questions, and answers to the questions of others. Because groups are self-selected individuals with similar interests, they are more likely to get engaged in conversation, so be sure to respond to people who interact with you.
Devote some time to group participation and you’ll quickly see the value. However, it might be wise to limit the time you spend there as well. Too many people are intimately familiar with the black hole of internet discussions. Don’t let your participation get in the way of your other job search activities.