Building your network is a crucial part of advancing your career, but knowing where to start may be confusing. While your network could begin with friends, family, and coworkers, expanding your network is one of the most important steps to take in professional success. LinkedIn, which has proven its influence on the professional world, has a great tool for those looking to expand their network: LinkedIn Groups.
What are LinkedIn Groups?
LinkedIn Groups provide a place for professionals to share insights and experiences, ask for guidance, and build valuable connections. Many groups are made based on industry or interest. As a group member, you can join conversations, ask and answer questions, and send connection requests to group members you have interacted with.
Why Is Joining LinkedIn Groups Helpful?
LinkedIn Groups is a great way to build your personal brand and expand your professional network – all for free! Being in a targeted group allows you access to quality content that can progress your professional life. You can gain credibility by contributing to conversations, asking questions, and giving insightful answers to group members. If you are a job seeker, LinkedIn groups can help you connect with others that can help you find your next job opportunity.
How Do I Join a Group?
If you haven’t already, set up a LinkedIn profile. Once you’ve created a profile, use these steps to find groups that appeal to you.
- 1. Search your keyword(s) in the search bar on the top left of the screen, as you would do when searching anything else on LinkedIn.
- 2. Select ‘Groups’ on the search results page.
- 3.If you need to narrow down your searches, you can do this with the filters on the left side of the search results page.
- 4.Request to join groups using the ‘Request to join’ button. Admins of groups will determine if you are a good fit for that group.
What Groups Should I Join?
LinkedIn has over 2 million active groups, so there is guaranteed to be a group that can expand your network. Don’t know where to start? Try searching with these keywords:
- Industry: Joining a group related to your industry is one of the best ways to find and build meaningful relationships with other professionals in your field.
- Alumni: After graduation, you have a built-in network of peers and mentors through your alumni association. LinkedIn Groups makes it easier than ever to connect with fellow alumni.
- Location: If you are moving to a new city, joining location-based groups can help you find a community in that area.
How Do I Navigate a Group Once I’m In?
Once you’ve joined a group, be sure to follow these best practices:
- Listen and observe: As a new member, you are joining an ongoing conversation. Pay attention to popular topics of discussion and tone used by other group members.
- Contribute to the conversation: After you’ve scoped out the group, it’s time to add your value and expertise. Carefully craft messages that build trust and attract like-minded members to connect with.
- Avoid Self-Promotion: Make sure you are talking with the group and not at Avoid posting links or promoting a product you are trying to sell. LinkedIn groups are meant for meaningful conversations with individuals with shared interests.
- Keep It Professional: Lastly, don’t forget that even though group members share similar interests, LinkedIn groups are still a professional environment. Don’t post anything that you wouldn’t say to your boss. While the internet has significantly increased the efficiency of networking, be sure to use LinkedIn Groups wisely.