By: David Ross, Associate Director
A very popular tool that some candidates use in their internship and job searches is LinkedIn. Perhaps you have created a personal account or utilized the “Find Alumni” feature. While both are great starting points, consider joining and participating in LinkedIn groups to discover additional advantages of the system.
Identify a network of individuals with a shared interest.
One approach to search for networking contacts with professional experience within an industry is to input search criteria or use filters to generate a list of individuals. Another approach would be joining a group that may have dozens or hundreds of members with a shared interest, educational background or work experience. Depending on what type of individuals you are trying to identify, joining a group may be a faster or more efficient way to identify a network of individuals you are looking for.
Demonstrate your expertise in an area.
Once you have joined a group, you may notice individuals pose questions on occasion in search of feedback from group members. Responding to questions on topics you have insight can signal your expertise. It can also build goodwill and possibly open the lines of communications with others you may not have connected with in the past, expanding your network.
Uncover job and internship leads – before they are posted on job sites.
Sometimes individuals will post job or internship leads within a group with the idea that a targeted forum with individuals that may work within a field can be a source of referrals for strong candidates. Occasionally, these job and internship leads are mentioned in groups before they are published publicly elsewhere. Thus, being a member of a relevant group can lead to insights on additional job and internship leads.
Receive insight, advice or assistance from other professionals.
There may be a topic or question you would like perspective on from other professionals. Or perhaps you are working on an event or program and are searching for volunteers that have a certain background. Leveraging group forums in some instances may be very helpful in these instances.
Ultimately, when you search for Groups in LinkedIn, you may notice an overwhelming number of possibilities. You may want to start by joining a small number of groups first. Try to become actively involved as you never know when your participation can lead to unexpected benefits.