Joining groups on LinkedIn can be a very profitable opportunity for building relationships and gaining information for job seekers if used effectively.  Job seekers often ask me how to meet people on LinkedIn, and I can tell you right now that asking people you do not know to add you to their contacts list isn’t the way to go.  Here is a quick list of 7 things you can do to create a professional presence in your LinkedIn Groups which will result in building your contact base.

  1. Introduce yourself on the group.  Let everyone know you have joined and what you hope to learn from the content discussed.
  2. Join in on conversations in the group.  Comment on what you are learning or maybe add something you have recently read. 
  3. Watch the LinkedIn and online activity of the other members of the group.  See what others are doing and try to emulate when appropriate.
  4. Look for group member’s blogs and be sure to comment every now and then. 
  5. Ask to connect with members of the group once you have established yourself.  This might take a few weeks or a few months.  You just want to make sure you don’t join the group and immediately start asking everyone to be your contact.
  6. Follow the companies of group members and show interest in the companies represented.  The people involved in groups all belong to potential employers. Always remember that very important fact.
  7. If joining a group for an association, look for information on national conferences and either attend or join in on discussions for those not attending.  A growing trend is group conversations for those not attending a conference.  Look for twitter hash tags. 

Building a professional reputation online isn’t about increasing your number of contacts alone.  You have to prove that you are interested in what others have to say and that you want to learn from the experts.  Remember the simple rule of effective networking is showing you care more about other’s needs than your own.

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Albert Einstein defines insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If this is the case, then insanity is rampant amongst job seekers today.

Are you frustrated that no one is responding to the dozens of resumes you are submitting online? Do you find yourself discouraged at attending career fairs only to be told to apply online and then nothing happen? Not only is this unsuccessful practice a form of insanity, but the frustration will lead you to insanity as well.

Get off of this hamster wheel. The job search process is frustrating enough. There is too much in life you can’t control, so focus what you can control. If something is not working in regards to your job search strategy, then change it. Here are a few quick tips to increase an effective job search process.

  1. Talk with a career coach: Career Coaches have the experience. These experts know the job search process across industry and functional area of business. They know the pulse of business today and work to guide job seekers towards the goal of finding employment. Visit www.careerealism.com for a solid list of professional career coaches.
  2. NETWORK: I can just imagine all of the eye rolls are reading my recommendation to network. Simply put, networking is the key to finding employment. Remember that applying for positions online is only a piece of the process. It is not THE process. Too many job seekers spend their time only applying online. If this is your approach, you are missing the most important step which is to connect with real human beings. Humans hire; systems track candidates.
  3. 3. Build a solid and professional online presence. Your LinkedIn profile should be a comprehensive marketing story of your past successes and future abilities. You should have a strong presence on Twitter making sure you are following industry professionals and employers of interest. Use Hashtags to search for conferences in your field in which you cannot attend. Get involved and be seen. To learn the very best tips on social networking, please read Miriam Salpeter’s book “Social Networking for Career Success”.

I recently read that job seekers should stop focusing on pushing our resumes for a successful job search and instead draw people to you. The former is how you put yourself on that job search hamster wheel. You will keep running in place without getting anywhere near your goal. Get off the hamster wheel and stop the insanity in your job search and career management. Stop doing the same thing and expect different results.