After getting started on LinkedIn, join UMW’s Student and Alumni LinkedIn group for career networking, EagleConnections. Below are some tips and strategies for participating in LinkedIn groups and subgroups.
Start a Conversation with Other Group Members
LinkedIn makes it easy to send messages to other members who are not in your network, as long as you are in a group with them. Search the group members to see if anyone is working for a company you want to work for, or went to graduate school for a degree you are thinking about pursuing. Search your major to see members who also graduated from UMW with that degree. Explore what those people are currently doing professionally. Search a location to find members who are working and living in a geographic location that you would like to live in or are returning to after graduation.
When you find a group member you want to talk to, hover over their profile and click “Send Message.” Now it is up to you to do the rest.
It is recommended that you start off by telling them who you are, why you are writing to them, and that you are just seeking advice. You DO NOT want to immediately ask “Do you know anyone hiring?” or “Do you have any jobs?” Instead try “I saw that you went to UVA for law school. I am really interested in applying to UVA Law. Do you have any advice or tips for me?” or “I am graduating with a degree in history and exploring career options. Since your major was history, do you have any advice or suggestion on fields or jobs I should look into?” or “What is it like to work for the Environmental Protection Agency?” or “Was it hard to get a job with the federal government? Do you have any advice for me as I am considering applying for a few jobs.”
The topics are endless.
Join a Subgroup
Join a LinkedIn subgroup to communicate and post information with students and alumni in a particular career field or industry.
Current Subgroups include:
Participate in Discussions
The most “popular” discussions within a group generally get the most visibility. These are the topics where members are most actively engaged and they feature discussions that you will want to weigh in on. The most popular discussions are at the top of the group discussion page, and typically there will be quite a few comments associated with them for you to review and learn from.
As you weigh in on popular discussions, respond to existing comments, provide an insight or opinion or even ask a thought-provoking question to generate additional comments. You can also “Like” and “Share” these discussions with your connections.
If your comments add value to the popular discussions, members will begin to recognize you as a thought leader within the group.
In starting your own discussion, pose a question, ask for help or advice or post a relevant and interesting article or resource for the group’s benefit. Your goal with starting your own discussion is to encourage as much engagement as possible.
In this group, it is appropriate to start discussions to promote yourself or inquire about positions. Let the group know who you are and what you are looking for, whether it is a job, an internship, or grad school advice.
IF YOU DON’T START THE CONVERSATION, YOU’LL NEVER KNOW HOW IT COULD END!
If you are an alumnus and have joined EagleConnections, you are encouraged to start a discussion describing your background and what types of advice you are willing to offer.
Follow Up and Follow Through
One of the disadvantages of LinkedIn Groups is that it’s difficult to keep up with updates unless you proactively visit the group as recommended. Make sure to keep up with the conversations you’re participating in.
Don’t let too much time lapse and don’t leave a conversation open. Keep your comments fresh and interesting to demonstrate your commitment to the group.