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Tips on Using LinkedIn Groups

If you are interested in forming new connections on LinkedIn with other like-minded individuals, consider exploring LinkedIn Groups. There are groups for alumni, corporations, people who share an interest, and professionals in a particular field, to name a few.

Beyond the typical process of searching for and joining a group, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Start with what (and who) you know. When you go to your Groups home page, you can type one or more terms into the search box to look for groups based on your interests, location, experience, industry, organizations, or even your hobbies. In the following figure, you'll see a search for groups based on location ("San Diego") and interest ("social media"). Below each result, you can see who in the extended network is already a member of these groups, which can be a good indication of which group to join. You could also click the Similar link (next to the number of people in the network) to open a new browser window and see other LinkedIn groups similar to that one.

    See what LinkedIn groups (and members) share an interest with you.
    See what LinkedIn groups (and members) share an interest with you.
  • Pay attention to your Groups home page. On your Groups home page is the Groups You May Be Interested In box shown in the following figure, which is generated from a combination of the groups you have already joined, the companies you follow on LinkedIn, and your activity on LinkedIn. Scroll down the page to see the Discover Jobs in Your Network section. A summary of jobs available from various companies is presented, and below each grouping, you see your first-degree connections and second-degree network members who work at that company. These people might act as referrals for you when you apply.

    Find out which groups LinkedIn thinks you might like.
    Find out which groups LinkedIn thinks you might like.
  • Evaluate groups you are considering. Before you join any group, find out more about it by clicking the i next to the Member button on the top right of the screen (as shown in following figure). You can learn how active a group is from its statistics, as shown in second figure, below. Click the Demographics, Growth, and Activity links to see more detailed information about the group, such as the total number of members and any group requirements.

    Learn more about groups you want to join by clicking the <i>i</i> for information.
    Learn more about groups you want to join by clicking the i for information.
    Review group statistics and other information to judge the activity level of the group.
    Review group statistics and other information to judge the activity level of the group.

    You can also search the group's discussions, polls, and pending submissions by clicking the Search link below the title of the group. You can click the Discussions link to read the different discussion topics in the group. You can click the Members link to see a listing of the current members in the group.

  • Listen before you talk. After joining a potential group, it's best to look around first, review the group's rules, and read through existing discussions before jumping in and contributing your two cents. By keeping an eye on existing and new discussions, you should get a feel for the type of group it is and whether it's a good fit for you. For example, you can judge a group's activity level so you don't initiate daily discussions for a group that only talks a few times a week.

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