Network by Joining LinkedIn Groups

I've met a few people recently who wanted positions as agile project managers or Scrum Masters. I asked them if they belonged to any Agile LinkedIn groups. No, they didn't know those groups existed.

It's easy to not know. And, if you're looking for a job, it has to be your business to know. Part of the problem is that the groups I know of today may not be the groups you need to know about tomorrow, so I'm not going to provide you a list of groups. Instead, I'll suggest a way you can find the groups you need to discover.

  1. What do you want to do? Is it project management? Testing? Development? Start looking around for a LinkedIn group that seems like it has the right words in the title. For example, if you're a Ruby on Rails developer in St. Louis, and you find a Ruby on Rails group in St. Louis, that seems like a group you might want to join.
  2. Now, read the discussions. Are there past discussions? Do people use the group? Or, is the group partly moribund? Is the group new and the group needs someone to help move it forward? Maybe that's you. Maybe not. Your choice.
  3. Look at the past jobs. Have the posted jobs been at your level? Higher? Lower?
  4. Look at the group statistics. Are people joining? Leaving?
  5. Do you know the people in the group? Will you be able to add to your first level connections by joining this group?

Remember, you want looser connections rather than tighter connections so you can network more effectively. Maybe you don't want Ruby on Rails in St. Louis. Maybe you want Ruby on Rails. Maybe you want Ruby on Rails in Missouri, or Midwest, or Central. Or, if you are from Canada or  Europe, maybe you want Ruby on Rails in Canada or Europe and the heck with the crazy USA folks. The reason I'm focusing on geography is that I'm assuming you have a preference for or against relocation. If you find a group with with a geographical location, you can be more assured that the posted jobs are relatively close to that location.

If you are looking for a job, look for active LinkedIn groups. If you are a hiring manager, look for those same LinkedIn groups. Some groups are really active, some not so much. And, the groups on LinkedIn are a treasure trove of networking. You have to use them to your advantage.

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