By Erica Tew, CPRW
The Dos and Don’ts of Participating in Job Seeker Groups on LinkedIn
From previous posts and other blogs, you may already be well-aware of the many benefits of LinkedIn, including the fabulous recommendations – but there are also hundreds of great Job Seeking Groups on LinkedIn. You can search “Job Search” or any related keywords in LinkedIn’s search bar to find these groups. Job seekers, career coaches and resume writers all network together and discuss strategies. Members can share related articles they find particularly insightful or intriguing, opening up a discussion for members to weigh in on the topics with their own opinions. At times, members can even share their job seeking troubles and ask the group for advice. On this, I would caution everyone to not confuse LinkedIn Groups with anything else but a professional networking resource, so all members must try to maintain a professional image.
For an example, I have participated in groups where job seekers would give us a recap how their interviews or searches went. These discussions were very effective; members helped the job seeker develop interview answers and avoid sending off any red flags to an employer, and focusing everything on the job opening in question. The problem was this job seeker was providing details such as his general impression of certain interviewers’ personalities, company names to where he was applying and interviewing, and even making jokes when he shared that an employer asked a question that could be considered “illegal.” (For the record, no question is ever “illegal.” That is a huge pet peeve of mine. However, if an employer bases their hiring decision off of something not job-related and possibly discriminatory such as age, race, gender, etc – that is illegal.)
All of this sharing was received by the group of 400-500 members, but only around 45 were very active contributors. From participating in a group, and getting to know people better online, it is natural that bonds can be formed. I am virtual best friends with a few awesome women on Pinterest, in fact. But differentiating your professional and personal networking profiles is crucial. Posting very detailed and specific information on a LinkedIn group may become a huge regret if it gets you cancelled interviews or pulled from job offers. Not all websites are as easy to delete posts as LinkedIn, but it is better to always think about your posts before submitting, instead of regretting later on.
In Connecticut, we have many no-cost networking groups available at our local job centers, and I will gladly provide more information on them if requested. If you aren’t local and feel that online groups are your only resource, I recommend the following:
- Share the company name or specifics where people could figure out the location. This is a courteous gesture and will also help safeguard your place as a potential candidate.
- Give details about your negative impression of the interviewer (ie, if someone seemed unprepared, unprofessional, etc.) The details could be subjective and may relate to the company culture of being more “relaxed” instead of “unprofessional.”
- Speak to the group like you would a close friend or career counselor. As tough as job searching is, LinkedIn is not an appropriate forum for venting, but we all need to do it every once in a while. There are many resources and strategies to deal with job search and interview rejection. Take some time to clear your head until you can speak with someone you trust, but keep the discussion offline and in an appropriate setting.
- Seek feedback. Share the questions you were asked, how you responded, and see if you can find ways to strengthen your answer for the next interview. This is a very proactive way to benefit from the knowledge of your fellow members.
- Share success. This motivates other job seekers, and no success is too small. Share if you landed an interview, or especially when you receive a job offer. (Just keep in mind no specific details.)
- Reciprocate. If people have given you helpful advice, they have done this out of kindness and the desire to network with you. Help others by sharing what has worked for you. This is the key to success in networking. Which leads me to…
- Network. Groups are a fantastic way to meet more professionals that you may not have had the opportunity of meeting offline. Write personalized messages to the members you interact with and request to connect with them.
Explore the various job seeker groups. Start joining a few and contributing with your comments or posts. I hope you enjoy them, and let us know here if you have any questions!