LinkedIn Groups - are yours helping or hindering your job search?

LinkedIn groups rule.

I've said it over and over again - LinkedIn groups can be enormously beneficial to your job search.

If you're not already using them to your strategic advantage, you must.  Immediately.

But LinkedIn groups can also hinder your job search.

Say what?

I recently received a note from an executive HR leader I've known for years. She shared a story about how she'd been scanning LinkedIn profiles for talent to fill a couple of key positions open at her firm.

One potential candidate seemed to be an excellent match. He was also a member of a LinkedIn group called:

Chronic Pain Management Support

Here is the exact reaction she had to that discovery:

I have no idea what that group does, but it sounded like a lot of sick days and time off to me so I just said, "Next!"

If you suffer from chronic pain and are, this minute, shaking your fist at this blog post, I'm sorry. But it's important for you to know that this is how decisions are being made within organizations.

Business leaders are assessing your information and making decisions based on how you're branding yourself. Your LinkedIn profile is one of the first places a potential employer looks when they want to know more about you.

If your primary goals in having a LinkedIn profile are to "be found" and to leverage your professional network for career gain, it's just not wise to join groups that may lead a reviewer to jump to unfavorable conclusions.

Here are a few additional groups I found on LinkedIn that would also fall into that "probably not a great idea" category:

  •  Celebrate Recovery
  • Online Gambling & Gaming
  • Firearms & Ammunition
  • Atheist Network
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Beating Addiction
  • Poly Relationship Network (I believe this is for polygamists)
  • 420 Friends Online (for cannabis users)

On LinkedIn ... the groups you join, the books you indicate you're reading, the Slideshare presentations you add, the photo you use ... all work together to tell your story. 

I'm certain that, no matter what your story, it's a fabulous one.

Just know that you will be judged by strangers with various motives, beliefs and biases. So you should strategize accordingly if you're using LinkedIn for job search.

Save the discussion about potentially sensitive topics and interests for after you've endeared yourself to your new employer.