In order to make use of the search and be found strategies that we have discussed on LinkedIn, you need to take one additional step in order to make yourself accessible to the masses, enabling you to have meaningful search results, and increasing your chances of being identified by those that can offer you a job. That extra something is to make connections and join groups.
Let’s explore from an administrative perspective how LinkedIn works. If this explanation is too boring for you, skip to the conclusion at the bottom. When you or someone else does a people search on LinkedIn, the system searches using both sources:
- Your Connections – You can connect to people you know that are also using LinkedIn. Since this is a professional networking tool, it is best to connect with people which you know professionally. When you use LinkedIn to search, the system starts with your direct connections (those people you are connected to). In addition, the system will also search second degree connections (those people that are connected to your direct connections) and finally third degree connections (those people that are connected to your second degree connections). This means that each person that you directly connect to can open up your network to hundreds (or even thousands) of new people. A good way to get started adding new connections is to let LinkedIn access your email address books (from Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo…), and check which of the people you communicate with is already a member.
- Your Groups – There are a large number of groups that you can join on LinkedIn. Some of these are regional groups, others are related to professions, and there are a wide variety of those that fall into the miscellaneous category. When LinkedIn does a search, all of the members in your groups are checked as well. I manage the second largest Israel-based group: Job Networking in Israel. There are currently more than 7,000 group members, so just by joining this one group you have significantly increased your visibility. The additional benefit of finding a match with someone that you share a group with is that you can contact them directly from within LinkedIn, something which is not true of a second or third degree connection. To begin registering for group, go to the LinkedIn Groups directory and enter a keyword (such as Israel) to view the different groups that are available.
Groups also have jobs and discussion boards, so within your group you may have access to job opportunities as well as a forum to ask questions.
The bottom line conclusion to take away is that the more connections you have, and the more groups you join, the better the chances that you will be found or that you will be able to find someone of interest.