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Posts Tagged ‘Online Communities’

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If I’ve learned anything over the course of my recent job search, it’s the importance of networking. I think networking is something everyone accepts as an important process in getting a job, but very few actually utilize their resources available for networking as much as they could. I’d like to share one way I’ve used LinkedIn groups to my networking advantage, and maybe you’ll find it will work for you as well.

I love LinkedIn. In fact, I love it so much I added a link to it for you in the menu of this very blog. Once I discovered the wonders of LinkedIn, I wanted to talk to everyone I knew about it! Did they have an account? Were they a member of this group? It was the Facebook for professionals! Of course I wanted to connect with everyone I knew. What I didn’t expect was how many people didn’t even know what LinkedIn was.

If you’re one of those people, click on that link I set up for you and create your profile asap. After filling out a decent amount of information, begin searching for connections under the “People You May Know” menu. You can instantly send a connection request to those people. Connecting to others may be a little trickier. Unlike Facebook, you can’t just request to connect to random people. If you try, LinkedIn will ask you how you know that person and if you have no real connections, it’s time to take another route. This also goes the opposite way. You want to be accessible to people trying to connect to you as well.

The solution? Joining groups!

I’ve joined Alumni groups related to my university, HR specific groups, company groups, even common interests groups. I’ve found the more specific the group, the more likely you’ll be able to make a connection. For example, try joining a group specific to alumni who graduated from your university with your major. Or if there’s a specific sector of HR you’re interested in (Talent Acquisition, Global, etc.) try searching for a group related to that. Once you’re in these communities, it’s easy to connect to your fellow members by simply indicating your shared group.

Ok, you’re in the group. Now what?

Once you’re in the group, there’s a number of ways you can utilize your membership beyond connecting with its members. I recommend getting daily notifications of the group’s current discussions. This could get overwhelming if you join a lot of groups, but you’ll quickly discover the ones you need to concentrate on. Read the articles and discussions people post, and try to jump in every now and then. Even if you feel like you have nothing to offer, you’ll find many people are more than willing to offer their advice or opinion.

Through my LinkedIn groups, I’ve been able to gather useful information and talk to top professionals in the HR industry. I’m more prepared and have a better idea of what I can expect, what is required of me, and what I’d like to focus on in my future career in Human Resources.

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