In 2006, when I still worked at Cisco, I started a little LinkedIn Group called “Cisco.” Okay, not very creative or original. But I thought it was a good idea at the time to help Cisco folks leverage our mutual LinkedIn networks for career opportunities. HR didn’t like the idea though — which only made me want to do it more 😉
Today, my group has over 17,000 people, grows by 100 people every week, and houses discussions about job postings, business strategy, and even sales on Cisco gear.
Recently, however, requests to join became overwhelming, and I “hired” a co-manager to facilitate the group.
What is a LinkedIn Group?
Simply, within the vast network of separated professionals on LinkedIn, groups allow people to connect on a single theme. Groups are a great way to network with NEW people without introductions or cold calling. Why? Because you have something in common.
Groups can be anything from alumni associations, professional associations, common interests, even companies and subsets within companies. Hell, you can even create your own group in about 2 minutes.
Why groups are a great job search tool
By joining and participating in a group, you (the job seeker) have a powerful way of adding value to and growing your online reputation. As a group facilitator, I can tell you who are the leaders of the discussion, and who are the valued contributors to the group. When you participate, people notice.
Furthermore, by being members of the same group as your target company, your odds of getting a favorable response to your job inquiry are much higher.
Group Guidelines for the Job Seeker
- Join a group that takes you where you want to go, not one that keeps you where you are.
- Join a group that you WILL participate in. Don’t be a fly on the wall.
- Participation in a group means posting and responding to discussion. Make sure you are putting your best foot forward, be positive, show your motivation.
- Tell your truth but don’t shout! If you are unemployed, then don’t be ashamed and try to keep it a secret, but don’t flaunt it either. Just be cool and make sure that you are always honest about where you are and what you are looking for.
- Identify other leaders in the group and determine whether they could be valuable connections or information sources; if so, then by all means reach out to them.