If you have had a chance to read some of my past articles, you may notice that I talk about LinkedIn often. I use LinkedIn in a lot for recruiting and professional networking. I figured why not share the strategies I use. You might be someone I will be looking for someday; I might as well tell you how I can find you.

This recruiting strategy is specifically about LinkedIn groups and how it could benefit you to be in the same groups’ recruiters and managers are joining. We are joining to find people like you.

The groups are a big benefit for me because when I’m in a group, I can send members of the group a message, directly to them. If I come across someone through a search on LinkedIn and they aren’t in a group I am in, I’m unable to send them a message directly; I would have to request a connection. The only way I could send a direct message outside of groups, would be to upgrade to a paid subscription in order to send direct mail (inmail). The groups are a work around for me so I’m able to contact as many people as I can that might know someone who knows someone that’s perfect for the job opening I have.

When I search for groups on LinkedIn, the first search I do is a location search. For example, if the location is Pittsburgh, I would type in Pittsburgh and choose networking in the drop down menu, then search. You can also search company groups, alumni groups, and professional groups within your location. When I did this search, a group called Linkin Greater Pittsburgh was listed #3 and shows it has 2,000+ members. The profile says it’s a “networking group for professionals in the greater Pittsburgh area.” This is a great group for a recruiter to join. It has a lot of members, most which are probably from Pittsburgh or wanting to be back in Pittsburgh, and it’s a group for those looking for professional networks. A recruiter helping someone to make that next step in their career is also looking for professional networks.

After joining 2 or 3 groups focusing on the location, I then search for industry experience groups. In the drop down menu I choose all categories. When I was recruiting for Grainger, I worked on a lot of supply chain and logistic positions. I joined groups such as Procurement Professionals, Supply Chain Today: Continuous Improvement, and The Logistics and Supply Chain Networking Groups. You can also search groups for skill set such as doing a search for Java. Again searching all categories, some of the results are groups such as Java Developers, Java EE Professionals, and J Architect.

The strategy for job seekers is to join the groups’ recruiters and managers would most likely join, to find someone like you. I target geographic, industry, and skill LinkedIn groups. All three types help me to connect with others when sourcing for one of my clients.

So start joining some groups and do a few searches yourself. Remember, you can contact members directly. Search for Managers, Team Leads, and Project Managers and make contact. Mention that Xyz Company is one of the companies you are targeting for potential employment. Don’t ask for a job, ask for a connection, a 10 minute conversation to discuss the company culture and why you feel you would fit in. So now you are your own recruiter, making the contact, the impression, and the connection with someone who could help you get your next job.