LinkedIn Post 3: Connections and Groups

linkedinAs I have tried to impress in the prior posts, a LinkedIn account is a long-term career investment; building a large connection pool, furthermore, is the best means to maximize this investment with LinkedIn’s connections and groups.

To begin, connections make the basis of searches and your visibility. Searches pull up people in your network which includes: 1st degree contacts, 2nd degree contacts (connections of connections), 3rd degree contacts (connections of connections of connections), and group connections. Adding connections, thus, has an exponential effect in your searching ability and visibility to others. Additionally, as mentioned earlier, LinkedIn provides an easy platform to keep updated on your colleagues and friends. Remember too, LinkedIn shows “mutual connections”, a helpful metric that can impress a connection or recruiter. No matter the stage in your career, a large connection pool provides enormous benefits. Convinced, but not sure how to proceed? Read on…

Building your connection pool:
Building a connection pool is fairly easy and should follow two basic steps: connecting in the future, and connecting from the past. The former is a simple task that only takes a new mindset-when you make a professional connection connect with him or her on LinkedIn. The latter can take a bit more time, but is well worth the investment.

To begin, I recommend you visit the people you may know page (contacts>connections>people you may know). This page is eerily good at finding people from your past to connect with. After this memory lane trip, visiting your employer or past employer page is an easy way to connect with current and past colleagues: simply type in your company name into the search bar and scroll through the names- if a large company then set the search parameters (right hand side) to your location. I also recommend scrolling through the connections of well acquainted connections of yours, e.g. a colleague of yours that has lots of connections, or a good friend well-connected (wouldn’t want to pass up a friend or family member).

The power of groups:
Participation in LinkedIn groups presents a number of career benefits. Groups factor into your network as mentioned above. Groups, furthermore, present another platform to find people to connect with (searching through groups is the same as through a company). Lastly, groups provide a platform for news and discussion surrounding the basis of the group. I have found that LinkedIn groups divide into three general areas and recommend that users strive to join at least a few in each of these categories.

  • Individual groups: this includes alumni groups, hobbies and anything else outside the realm of your professional life.
  • Industry specific groups: this includes groups that derive from your profession and perhaps even location. Two examples include: Audio Engineering Society, and DFW Retail Executives Association. Also, don’t forget to check if your company has a group.
  • Industry generic groups: these all-encompassing, sometimes ambiguous, groups sport enormous membership, e.g. Digital Marketing or Engineering Jobs Worldwide. These groups are best for increasing your searching capabilities and visibility.

This breakdown may not capture the entire pool of LinkedIn groups, but it does provide a starting basis when searching for groups to join. Simply treat the search like Google (make sure to select the pull down groups) and you should be well on your way.

This entry is an introduction to building connections and finding groups. Additional entries will take a closer look at how to use your network and groups for different stages in your professional career. Stay tuned for more.

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