Online groups can be a great way to broaden your network – get to know others in your field, connect with leaders and put forth your expertise. As you interact online, rules of good behavior and etiquette apply, just as they do in the real world. Here are some ways to keep your online encounters positive:
- When joining a new group, listen and get to know the dynamics first
- Introduce yourself. In some groups new people introduce themselves when they join. In others, it’s common to introduce yourself the first time you post.
- Read recent discussions. Don’t make your first impression by asking a question that’s just been addressed.
- Don’t make it all about you. A hard-sell pitch will not serve you well. Get to know the group and let them get to know you before sharing your pitch.
- Look for ways to help others. Respond to their questions and share your expertise.
- Include a signature line in your posts that includes contact information, such as your LinkedIn profile URL. Give people a way to reach you outside the public forum.
Keeping it Professional
Always remember that anything you post in an online group can be read by recruiters and hiring managers.
- Be professional and courteous at all times
- Don’t vent including gripes about past employers or frustrations with your job search
- Disagree nicely. Never attack another person when sharing a different viewpoint
- No matter how comfortable you get with an online group, remember it is still a public forum and how you present yourself could impact your ability to get hired
Making New Friends
It’s appropriate to use online groups as a way of connecting with people you would like to meet.
- When you approach someone directly, begin with a professional introduction
- Ask a question or seek input
- Do not begin by asking a new connection to point you in the direction of a job lead
- Get to know the other person and build a relationship before asking for help
- Do not introduce yourself by asking the other person to join your LinkedIn network. While there are open networkers who will add anyone to their professional network, many others feel they need a stronger connection before adding someone to their professional network.
Take advantage of the great opportunities offered by online groups. They are a powerful way to connect, build your network and uncover job opportunities.