Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Resume Writers: Should You Start Your Own LinkedIn Group

Recently, some folks on the NRWA E-List have been complaining about the volume of email messages. (The surge corresponds with my return to the organization. Coincidence?)

One list member suggested switching from the current YahooGroups format to a LinkedIn Group. If you're not familiar with LinkedIn Groups, let's chat a bit about LinkedIn Groups and why you should join them -- and maybe even start your own.

I still find a lot of resume writers are confused about LinkedIn and how it can help their business. One important function of LinkedIn is to connect you to other resume writers. I've heard from a couple of resume writers that they're reluctant to get "LinkedIn" with other resume writers. I say, "WHY NOT?" Resume writers can be a source of referrals, ideas, and inspiration.

LinkedIn takes the guesswork and legwork out of networking with others in your field. This site allows you to search for, connect with and get needed advice from professionals with a few clicks. There are no face-to-face meetings unless you want them. Even so, you can get to know people through their profiles and interacting in groups and discussions.

LinkedIn Groups: Increase Your Visibility and Expert Status

This brings us to LinkedIn Groups. What are they? These groups are like small gatherings of professionals with similar business niches or interests. The entire site is available to you, but concentrated groups help you to target those professionals with whom you need to network.

Groups help you do many things:

* Discover other professionals to meet quickly
* Actively participate in discussions relevant to your interests and needs
* Zero in on the most influential people on LinkedIn within your professional sphere
* Know which profiles to view and which people to "follow" in discussions
* Begin your own discussions to help establish yourself as a leader in your field

These are also excellent reasons to begin your own LinkedIn Group. Before you do, though, get a feel for the process by joining a group or two. You can search for relevant groups using different parameters.

For Resume Writers, I recommend these groups (Note: Some groups require pre-approval or membership in the associated organization in order to join):
Career Directors International
Career Management Best Practices
Career Professionals Network
Career Professionals of Canada
Career Rocketeer
Career Thought Leaders Consortium
JibberJobber Career Management
Resume Experts
Resume Writers & Career Coaches
Strategic Resumes LinkGroup

Once you find one that you like, introduce yourself. Do this by posting a new discussion question and then leaving a comment. Let people get to know you.

LinkedIn Groups can also increase your visibility and popularity on the site. While you are leading discussions, don't forget to leave meaningful comments on other discussion topics. It will look pretty suspicious if you only post questions and never join in the discussions of others.

Build up a presence and a following. When you are ready, create your own group. If you specialize in a particular industry or niche in your resume writing business (and you should!), you can check out the existing groups that serve these markets, and perhaps create one that focuses on jobseekers in that niche.

Ask your existing clients to join your LinkedIn group. Don't forget business contacts on other social sites like Facebook and Twitter. Invite LinkedIn members with similar interests as a way of connecting with new faces.

You should definitely be involved in a couple groups on LinkedIn .... and consider starting your own to increase your visibility, ranking, popularity, network and credibility among clients and prospects.

Got any other suggestions for career-related LinkedIn groups? Post them in the comments below.

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