Artisan Blog

Maximizing LinkedIn: Groups

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Maximizing LinkedIn: Groups

You’re all set up, your profile is perfect, you’ve found everyone you know in real life that’s on LinkedIn and connected with them.  The next thing you want to do is find some groups to join.

There are different kinds of groups on LinkedIn:

  • Members-only
  • Open

You can join a Members-only group if you are qualified.  A Group Administrator just has to approve your request to join.  Or you can be invited.  One of my groups is just for members of a class that I took last year.  Click on the “Join this Group” button and a Group Administrator will let you know if you can be a member.  Sometimes this takes a little while as the “Admins” are working people just like you who only check LinkedIn once a day or so.  Be patient!

You can join an Open group just by clicking on the “Join this Group” button.  You’re in!

What are Groups good for?

  • Asking questions.  Start a Discussion with an issue or concern you have or ask for advice. 
  • Finding out what people in your industry are talking about in real time.
  • Commenting on Discussions and offering your own expertise.
  • Becoming an influencer in your industry by providing insight and advice to others.
  • Connecting with people you DON’T know personally, but are influencers you would like to interact with.

How do I find a Group to join?

LinkedIn will suggest groups in your Right Sidebar based on the keywords in your Profile.  Check those groups out—some of them will be a good fit, others probably not.

In the Search box at the top right of your page, you can click on different categories: People, Companies, etc.  Click on Groups and search for a keyword you’re interested in.  For purposes of this article, I put in “Creative.” I got over 50 pages of Groups.  Most of those won’t apply to me, so I might refine my search and try “Creative Los Angeles” or “Creative Design” but I still get plenty of Groups to check out.

You can also use the Groups Directory.

You can search for your hobbies, places you volunteer, companies you’re following or interested in, industries you would like to work in but don’t yet, the list goes on and on.  LinkedIn does limit you to 50 groups, so if you get close to your limit and some groups have become more important to your networking you might want to cull.  I’m a member of 25 groups so far.

What happens when I am a member of a Group?

You will need to make some decisions about how you want to be contacted.  You can do all of your communicating on LinkedIn, have every message in the Group sent to your email Inbox or anything in between.  I usually like to have a “Daily Digest” sent to my email in groups I want to follow closely.  That way I get to see the discussions, but I don’t get inundated with emails.  If I were looking for a job, I might want to be notified more often so I could jump on any good opportunities right away.

Because, yes, Groups have job postings.

Your Digest email will have New Discussions, Continuing Discussions, and New Job Listings.  If you’re interested, take a look.

The real benefit of joining Groups is being able to participate and interact with people who are talking about what you want to talk about, whether you know them or not. Be an influencer, be engaged, be interactive.  That’s what Social Media is for!

Next time: Maximizing LinkedIn: Job Seekers

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Maximizing LinkedIn: Connections

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Maximizing LinkedIn: Connections

Last week we talked about what to do first when you sign up with LinkedIn.  I hope your profile is 100% complete, even if you are still making changes and reworking your story.

Now it’s time to connect!

LinkedIn is a place to network with people you know from your work life and your personal life. In other words, people from your real life. Only.   

They don’t have to be in your industry or have any professional connection to you.  The just need to be people you really know and whom you would be happy to introduce to someone else you know.

You will hear from people who are looking for high numbers of connections, not high quality connections.  High numbers are useless if they do not represent real relationships.

So for each person you consider adding to your connections, ask yourself:

  • Do I know them in real life?
  • Would I introduce them to other people I know?

That’s it!

Don’t worry about if they’re in your industry, if you’ve worked with them, if you know what they do or even if they are working at all. You never know what connections will end up being important.

I will finish with a story.  Once upon a time I wanted an informational interview with someone who worked in one of my target companies. I asked my coach, “How do I find someone at X company to talk to?”  My coach’s response was, “Check LinkedIn.” 

Two minutes later, a lovely woman sitting two rows behind me had a copy of my resume to hand to her friend that night at a basketball game because her friend worked for my target company and my friend knew I was a safe person to introduce to her.  Two minutes.

Two days later, I was having coffee with her.

Next time: Joining Groups

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Maximizing Your LinkedIn Profile: Getting Started

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Maximizing Your LinkedIn Profile: Getting Started

Everybody’s talking about LinkedIn these days. And a lot of them are asking questions.

How many people does it take in your Network to start paying off? 
What’s it really good for?
Did anyone ever get anything out of it?
Who do you connect with? 
Who do you avoid?
Most of all, how can I make LinkedIn work for me?

I will get to all of these questions, but first let’s avoid a few pitfalls. Larry Braman from Global Career Consulting gave me a lot of great advice about getting started with LinkedIn that I would love to pass along!

  1. Get your LinkedIn Profile up to 100% completeness.  Your Profile will take a lot of tweaking, you’re not finished yet, but don’t let it sit there looking unfinished.  The very first people who find you should be able to get an idea of who you are.
  2. Turn off your Activity Broadcasts (temporarily).  While you are doing that tweaking we talked about, you don’t want your connections to see every time you put in a comma.  When you think you’re finished, turn Activity Broadcasts back on, since then it will show when you land a new job, volunteer at a new organization or get a new endorsement!
  3. Enter your Experience manually.  If you let LinkedIn enter the information for you, it will not look the way you want.  Take the time to do this yourself.
  4. When LinkedIn asks if you would like to send invitations to all of your Contacts, say NO.  First of all, you don’t want to send the same generic invitation to everyone.  Second of all, you don’t even want to connect with everyone in your email Contacts (we will get to this later, too).  Third of all, and most important, you can’t ask everyone again later, when you figure out how to do this, without looking like an idiot.

LinkedIn is great for finding people you already know, but you don’t know what they do: other parents from school might work at one of your target companies; people who attend church with you might be looking to hire, you never know. 

Most of all, though, LinkedIn, like your resume, is telling your story. What you do, your job responsibilities, your achievements, your education, what is important to you.  It is a place for people to find things they have in common and ways to help each other.

Next time: What do I do now?

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Should you be blogging?

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Should you be blogging?

Why Blog for your Business?

Your website is a great place for people to go to find out information about your company.  What you do, what you sell, where you are, what jobs are available, who partners with you.

All of that is important.

Your business blog, however, is important, too, and worth spending time on.  Your blog gives people a sense of who you are and what is important to you as a company.  It lets them know what’s going on at your company that is exciting.  It gives you a place to show your appreciation for your employees’ hard work and commitment.  It’s also a place to show off your expertise in your field and be helpful.

Is your company culture like a family?  Here’s where you can show that.  Is it more like a think tank?  Here’s where you can show off your analytical skills.  Is it a place where creative people collaborate?  Here’s where you can showcase all that creativity.

The real benefit of business blogging is in the relationships you can build.  If you are out there talking about what you do and asking questions, you will start relationships with your readers.  Relationships are everything in today’s business world and are vital to take your business to a whole new level.

Why Blog for your Job Search?

Funny thing is, Job Seekers should be blogging for the same reasons Businesses should.  Whether you are a freelancer or employed full time, your business expertise is what makes you relevant in your field. 

Blogs offer a way for you to illustrate not only your knowledge of a particular industry or skill, but also show your appreciation for your network.  You can also talk longer and more specifically than you ever would in an interview about your mission.  You can talk about what is important to you, what inspires you and what gets you excited.  You can even showcase your creativity.  You can give a potential employer a sense of who you are and how you might fit into their culture. 

And again, the real benefit is relationships.  Starting conversations, finding people with things in common, getting and giving support all help in your job search. 

Check out or Blogger .com to get started.  They are free!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

The relevance of getting involved personally vs. digitally

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The relevance of getting involved personally vs. digitally


Over the years, with a quick hit of the "Accept" button, I've seen my digital network expand rapidly.  Beyond  "Recommendations" and "People you Might Know", I wanted to dig a little deeper as to "the why".

What I found was interesting: my network actually grew once I put myself out there physically and joined more groups such as the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO).

The more I participated physically in that group - joining the local board and eventually becoming chapter president - the more I discovered my digital network was rapidly growing as well.  For me, the correlation between the two was clear - as my human connections increased, so too did my virtual network.  Simply put, the more I gave, the more I got in return.

My tip this month: If you want to grow your digital network - start by participating in more actual events and activities!

Jamie Douraghy, President


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