Linkedin Groups can be hugely helpful for networking, establishing your authority and getting seen. Find networks in your field and join. Read them for a few days before you start talking to get the lay of the land and understand the ecosystem of the group. Every group will be different depending on who is involved.
It’s OK to let people know you’re looking for work, but be careful how you say it. Be up-beat and positive and tell people what you’re looking for. Limit how much of this you do to within reason. People will eventually ignore you if you “spam” them with requests for help. Look for groups for entrepreneurs and investors too. Who better to know who will be hiring soon? There are also groups specifically for job seekers.
Last thing about Linkedin groups. Once you join a group and participate you can connect to the groups users through Linkedin. If you are an active and valued participant in the group they are more likely to accept the connection.
Xing has many of the same benefits as Linkedin, so I’m only going to add the ones that are special to Xing. Xings forums are an excellent place to look for jobs and there are some specific to job hunting. Their freelancer forum is particularly useful.
Slideshare allows you to upload presentations and share them with others. Maybe your presentations at your company were private, but these don’t have to be presentations you actually gave. Create a presentation about your area of interest that teaches something. Make the slides tell the whole story. You can add audio tracks if you want to, or just let people go through the slides to get the gist of it. Slides on SlideShare often get downloaded and used in presentations which helps you spread the word. Share your slideshare presentations with your networks and put them up on Linkedin.
Are you able to do a video demonstrating a process or your skill set? How about a video presentation about how you see your market changing or opportunities? You could even do a video resume and post it on YouTube, Seesmic or Vimeo. If it’s appropriate do a series on 12seconds.tv with industry tips and tricks then post a widget full of them on your blog.
Searches and introductions
It’s quite common on Linkedin to leverage your network to meet new people. Are you looking to work with a certain company? Do a search in Linkedin and see if there are representatives of the company registered. If they are within the reach of your network you can ask a friend to put you in touch with that person. If not, you can often send them an invitation to connect or an inmail and reach them that way. Look to see if they have posted any questions and answer them, or send them an email asking for clarification or commenting on the question. Don’t stalk them, but be helpful.
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