Tag Archives: linkedIn groups

10 steps toward a successful LinkedIn strategy (Part 2)

One thing I emphasize in my LinkedIn workshops is the importance of being active on LinkedIn. My mantra is, “You can have the best profile in the world, but if you’re not active, it means nothing.” In part one of this two-part article, I listed five steps to make your LinkedIn strategy a success. The conclusion of the article addresses the remaining five steps.

Kid playing chess

6. Use the Companies feature to network. The Companies feature is one of LinkedIn’s best features, as it allows you to identify valuable people in various companies. Often LinkedIn is the only way job seekers can locate important people at their target companies.

Your goal is to connect with people at desired companies (do you have a company target list?) before a job is advertised, thereby penetrating the Hidden Job Market. Play your cards right and you can set the foundation, so when the job becomes public knowledge you’re already known by the company.

Another scenario is identifying people who work in your target companies who can provide you with additional information, or even deliver you resume to the hiring manager.

Similar to using the Companies feature to network with strategic people is Find Alumni, a feature that helps you connect with people you went to school with based on criteria, such as what they studied, where they live, where they work, etc. The benefit of connecting with your alumni is obvious; people want to help their own.

Read 6 interesting facts about your alumni on LinkedIn.

7. Use the Jobs feature. LinkedIn has made strides to make the Jobs feature a player in the job board arena. It’s not succeeding as well as LinkedIn has hoped—Indeed.com and others still draw many job seekers. But increasingly more companies are using LinkedIn to advertise their jobs.

What’s nice about Jobs is that you can apply directly to a company’s website, as well as use “Easy Apply,” which allows you to send your profile to companies trying to fill positions. As well, the poster of jobs might be listed, allowing you to send an Inmail to said person.

Before you select a job, you can see first degree connections or alumni who work for companies filling positions. This gives you the opportunity to contact said people for better networking opportunities.

Note: if you are a Career premium member, you have access to information basic members don’t. You can see who your competitors are, as well as the major skills you might lack for a particular position. LinkedIn provides you with the average salary of the job for which you’re applying.

8. Endorse your connections’ skills. I never thought I’d write this, but endorsements are here to stay. The argument against endorsement is that skills can be endorsed willy nilly, without people actually seeing a person perform said skills.

Certainly this happens, but my solution to making this more viable is outlined in an article in which I encourage LinkedIn users to rearrange their skills in order to give their connections an idea of which skills they should be endorsed.

One thing we can say about endorsements is that they encourage engagement between connections. If your goal is to accumulate endorsements, you’ll have to endorse people in your network. Do this only if you have a sense for the skills you’re endorsing. Otherwise you’re supporting the argument that endorsements are meaningless.

9. Ask for and write recommendations. Your strategy should include requesting recommendations from your former supervisors and, to some extent, your colleagues. If you find that your supervisors are slow in writing your recommendation, you may want to offer some guidance in terms of what you’d like included in your recommendation, or you may even want to write it yourself.

Write recommendations for your former employees; it’s a great way to brand yourself. This shows your authority, as well as what you value in a good employee. You don’t have to be asked to write the recommendation; simply write one and send it to your former employees. They’ll appreciate your generosity very much.

10. Follow up. Always follow up. Every networking pundit will tell you that following up with new connections can be the most important piece of networking, both after personal meetings and connecting with someone on LinkedIn. Obviously it’s difficult, if not impossible, to follow up with everyone in your LinkedIn network, particularly if you’re a LION.

Keep in constant contact with your connections by responding immediately to direct messages or even responding to their updates. There’s nothing worse than starting a relationship and then dropping it like a lead balloon.


Sometimes we loose sight of our strategy and our LinkedIn campaign becomes disorganized. At this time it’s important to reign it in and adhere to the components I’ve outlined in this two-part article.

Photo: Flickr, moradini2009 (mikeoradini.dotphoto.com)

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14 traits of a winning LinkedIn group

Your GroupsI’ve talked to my workshop attendees about the importance of participating in groups until my advice sounds like a mantra. “You’ll only benefit from a group if you participate,” I tell them. “Start discussions, contribute to discussions, network within your groups…blah, blah, blah.”

But here’s the thing: why should we participate in our groups if they don’t add value? If we’re the Top Contributor for weeks running, doesn’t it mean no one else is pulling their weight? Further, does this say no one cares enough to be part of the community?

As the owner of the group, you are responsible for its growth and productivity. And if it gets to the point where you run short of time and can’t monitor or contribute to every discussion, assign people who are dedicated and will keep your group vibrant.

Recently I inherited a group, and I reflect on the responsibilities that go with owning a group (I already own a group). Can I handle taking on another group? Will I make the members happy to be part of the group? Can I find people who will manage it when I run out of time? To run a winning group:

  1. Big doesn’t necessarily mean better. I’m talking about the number of members, of course. Many people think joining a group with hundreds of thousands of members is the way to go. It’s quality of members that matters, not quantity. A winning group has the best minds in the industry.
  2. Great discussions. This is a mark of a winning group. Discussion should be relevant but it doesn’t mean members can’t go off track and raise new issues. Thirty-nine comments are always a good thing; it indicates involvement. Let people feel comfortable introducing new thoughts, ideas, and advice.
  3. Conducive to networking. Winning groups promote virtual networking among its members, as well as direct communication. Groups are where members can communicate, even if they’re not first degree connections.
  4. Appropriate shared information. The group’s mission should be upheld, and group members should post discussions that are relevant. I left a group because even its members wondered if the information was appropriate.
  5. Attracting thought leaders and keeping them in your group. They’re the ones who keep it going with interesting discussions. Thought leaders add value to the group when they contribute to discussions—everyone listens. As a group owner or manager, add your two cents when a great curator provides newsworthy articles.
  6. Members feel welcome. A winning group makes its members feel welcome. The owner or managers should welcome new members by introducing them and encouraging introductions from them. It’s about creating a community.
  7. Hold members accountable for contribution. I write this with a huge grin on my face. Years ago I was removed from a group because I wasn’t participating at the rate at which I was expected. I had great respect for the owner for doing this and removed myself from eight groups.
  8. No SPAM. Spam is considered anything hinting of sales or self-promotion. This may be the breaking point where members start dropping like flies. The owner or managers can delete or move content to Promotions if the entry is spam.
  9. Group rules, but not stifling. Every winning group should have rules, but not rules that make members walk on eggshells. Rules, for example, on how to pose questions or start discussions are a bit Machiavellian. One group I’m in poses such rules. Maybe it’s time I exit this group.
  10. No pending submissions. I’m sorry, but if I submit a question, contribute to a conversation, mention a job, or post an article; I don’t want my submission to be reviewed. Trust those who contribute to the group…unless they break rule #2. In addition, some owners aren’t diligent about checking submissions, leaving people waiting for their discussion to show.
  11. Act quickly on people who want to join groups. Some owners and managers don’t clean house as quickly as possible. (Guilty as charged.) Winning groups act quickly on people who want to join the groups, not making them wait in limbo.
  12. Variety of contributors. In my group I love to see other contributors. I don’t want to be the only person whose face is covering the page—the top contributor. Winning groups have many people participating, contributing to its community.
  13. Jobs tab. Not common to all groups, but having a jobs section is nice for those who are looking for employment. It’s great when members contribute jobs that aren’t advertised, so group members are the first to hear about them.
  14. The articles shared must add value. Whether an article is one you read and enjoyed or one of your own, it must be well written and provide information of value. Include a question or statement with the article you’re sharing with a group.
  15. Get rid of the Promotions tab. Let’s face it, no one goes to the Promotions tab. It’ a wasteland where some legitimate contributions are banished to. If contributions are too promotional, they can always be banned. In some cases I want people to promote their upcoming job-search events.

Groups is perhaps the best feature LinkedIn offers. Some members encourage you to join the maximum number of groups allowed, 50, while others suggest joining only groups in which you can participate on a regular basis—I’m in this camp. Regardless of the number of groups you join, make sure the winning characteristics outweigh the losing traits.

If you think of any other attributes that make a winning group, let us know.

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7 interesting facts about LinkedIn Groups you should know

LinkedIn Groups3Which LinkedIn feature is your favorite for the job search? Is it Companies which allows you to locate and connect with people who can open doors for you? How about Jobs which, according to some, has become the second most effective job board, two notches above Monster.com. Or Who’s Viewed Your Profile, Find Alumni, Pulse?

There’s one I’ve not mentioned yet. It’s a feature that provides you with an arena to express your views, ask questions, share articles, connect or communicate with people who are outside your first degree connections, and more. Groups is high on the list of my favorite features, quite possibly my number one.

That said, I’m going to give you a rundown of Groups functions, some of which are very useful, others not very, and others a waste of time.

Your Groups’ Feed

Goups

1. Your Groups at a glance. When you first choose Groups in the Interests drop-down (silly that one of LinkedIn’s best features doesn’t have its own link), you’ll see a page that allows you to take immediate action. Rather than having to open a group, you can do the following:

Keep up with discussions. This is an easy way to see what’s going on in each of your groups (providing there are discussions happening) and contributing to said discussions. Depending on how much time you have on your hands, you can scroll and scroll down your screen to see if there is anything of interests.

start a discussion in GroupsStart a conversation (New). How easy can LinkedIn make starting a discussion in a particular group. Begin your discussion by selecting a title (LinkedIn provides some suggestions) and adding details, choosing a group (only one group. Sorry), and post it.

Manage your groups’ settings. This function allows you to rearrange your groups in the order you want them to appear. You can also adjust Member Settings, e.g., Visibility, Contact Settings, Update Settings, and Leave the Group. In terms of visibility, I tell my jobseekers to not show their Job Search groups on their profile. Rather the groups that are related to their occupation.

Open One of Your Groups and Go to Town

2. Discussions. Probably the best feature Groups has to offer, as it allows you to show your expertise through intelligent questions, thoughtful answers, relevant shares. One of my valued connections, Hank Boyer, constantly shows up on my Groups feed posting articles that are relevant to his connections.

3. Promotions. No man’s land. Promotions are ignored in most groups because any type of information posted and deemed as self-promotional end up here. One of my valued connections informed me that when he posts anything in a group I started, it is automatically placed in Promotions. I removed this page from my group.

4. Jobs. This is feature that is sometimes ignored by group members and, therefore, they don’t learn about jobs posted by their fellow members. I’ve sent messages to the members of my group informing them to look in Jobs, but this isn’t something that I can do on a constant basis.

5. Members. A valuable feature if you’re looking for someone whose occupation is closely related to yours. Type in “Project Manager” in the search field and you will be able to access the full profiles of group members who have “Project Manager” on their profile. Better yet, you can:

  1. Follow
  2. See activity
  3. Send message
  4. Connect

with any member in your group, even if he/she is a 3rd degree. I tell my workshop attendees that if they want to communicate directly with someone who’s not in their direct network, they can join a group of which the person is a member. The same goes for connecting with 2nd and 3rd degree connections.

6. Search. This is where you can search for discussions from the group’s members. When I want to search for a discussion started by one of my fellow group members, or when he’s been mentioned in a discussion; I type in his name in the field and am granted this information. There are other items you can search:

  1. Latest Activity
  2. All Discussions
  3. Manager’s Choice
  4. Discussions You’ve Started
  5. Discussions You’re Following
  6. Pending Submissions

7. Number of groups to join. I tell my LinkedIn workshop attendees that LinkedIn allows them to join up to 50 groups, but I advise them to join groups only if they will be active participants. This leads me to conclude that a good rate of participation should be at least once a week—whether you ask an illuminating question or answer one.

This further leads me to confess that I was once banished from a group because of lack of activity–yes, it’s possible. Thus, I made it my mission to participate in more groups or quit them. Should I get my hand slapped again, I will gladly apologize to the owner or manager who banishes me from that group.

My advice to you is shed the groups you’re ignoring. Treat it like spring cleaning; purge your proverbial LinkedIn house of those groups you’ve stopped visiting. Trust me, it will feel great.


If you know of other functionality of Groups not mentioned here, let us know.

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The most obvious differences between the résumé and LinkedIn profile–Part 5

resume linkedinPreviously we looked at the differences between the Experience sections of the résumé and LinkedIn profile.

In this final entry of a series about the differences between the résumé and LinkedIn profile, we’ll look at the overall purpose of each document–the most obvious being that your profile is an integral part of your online networking campaign, whereas your résumé is specifically designed to secure a job.

It goes to reason that more people will see your profile than they’ll see your résumé, unless of course you’re blasting your résumé to every employer in the world. Bad mistake.

Years ago I came across a poll on LinkedIn asking which document the participants would give up first, their résumé or profile. The majority said they’d give up their résumé before the profile. I tell my workshop attendees I would do the same.

Maybe this is because I see the profile as more dynamic than the résumé. Maybe this is because the profile provides more room to expound on your strengths and accomplishments.

Previously we looked at some differences between the two, such as the photo and Branding Titles; Skills/Expertise and Core Competency sections; Summary sections; and the Experience sections. Most are dramatically different (you don’t include a photo on your résumé), while the Employment sections show the most similarities. To follow are the glaring differences between the résumé and LinkedIn profile.

You use your profile to network online, but people want to see much of the content you would have on your résumé; although not a rehash of it. Even those in business must sell themselves to prospective business partners by showing their relevant experience and accomplishments. Keywords and phrases are also essential to include on your LinkedIn profile and résumé.

The profile is more dynamic than the résumé for many reasons. Call them bells and whistles, but there are features on the profile that you wouldn’t or couldn’t include on your résumé. Here are lists of features that are exclusive to the profile, that lend well to networking:

Activities allow visitors to see how you’ve been utilizing LinkedIn to network. Have you been sending updates with information about your industry and/or occupation? Maybe you’re attaching an article you found interesting and valuable to your network. Show people that you’re active on LinkedIn by commenting on updates.

Media can be positioned in your Summary or Experience sections. Show your connections PowerPoint presentations, YouTube clips, or, like me, a link to your blogsite. The introduction of Media is at the expense of many applications LinkedIn deemed unnecessary perhaps, some think, for business purposes.

Information-rich Skills/Expertise with Endorsements are a nice touch. You can post up to 50 skills or areas of expertise, and your connections can endorse you for each one. Endorsements is LinkedIn’s way of keeping networking active and paying homage to your connections.

Recommendations have always been a favorite of LinkedIn members and recruiters and employers, as recommendations allow them to see the favorable comments you’ve received, as well as the recommendations you’ve written for others.

Additional Info like Interests and Personal Details are normally missing from your résumé, unless the hobbies and interests pertain to the jobs you’re pursuing. A nice touch some people may not be aware of is Interests hyperlinks that take you to potential connections and groups.

Connections and Companies and Groups you’re following further encourage networking by showing visitors with whom your connected, which companies you’re interested in, and the groups to which you belong. You can chose not to allow people access to your connections, but that seem counterproductive if you’re trying to network effectively. Hopefully people will send you a note saying, “I see you’re interested in Kronos. I know the hiring manager for engineering there.”

This being the last entry in this series ends with, it may seem, a large boost for LinkedIn. I said I would choose the profile over the résumé, but I also stated that each has its own purpose, the former for a targeted job search and the latter for job search and business networking.

 

Recent college grads, join LinkedIn Groups and learn from the experts

Are you a recent college grad and wondering if you should join LinkedIn? While you’re wondering, there are many college grads who are making the commitment to engage in a serious online networking campaign. It’s time that you make the commitment.

One of the most respected job search experts in the field, Martin Yate of the Knock em Dead series, discusses one among many good reasons to join LinkedIn–join and participate in LinkedIn groups. Take the time now to read, How recent grads can build useful networking and mentor relationships.

In his article Martin writes about how to utilize the Discussions feature of industry/occupation-specific groups.

“You can make useful contacts at all levels by joining the special interest LinkedIn groups relevant to your profession and becoming a visible part of those groups by contributing to the conversations and adding the contacts you make this way to your network,” he writes.

He suggest that you 1) read group discussion posts and add comments, 2) post discussions of your own, 3) post questions of your own. This is very sound advice, but take it a step further; join LinkedIn before you graduate and get a head start on your competition.