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The AIU blog shares ideas, information and tips aimed at helping you get ahead personally and professionally, with topics ranging from online learning success to career development.

5 Reasons to Join LinkedIn Groups Related to Your Degree Program

By Jennifer Olvera

5 Reasons to Join LinkedIn Groups Related to Your Degree ProgramIt's easy to feel bombarded by social media. You may find yourself tempted to tune out the "noise." In the case of LinkedIn – especially LinkedIn groups specific to your field of study – that decision may not be wise. The reason? LinkedIn walks the line between the social and business worlds.

Besides, you don't have to be job-hunting to justify putting your name out there. Even if you're in the middle of pursuing a bachelor's degree online or on campus or have just started a master's degree program, joining a group is the perfect way to begin making a name for yourself – or build upon the one you've already established.

Consider these five reasons to join LinkedIn and specifically, a career-specific LinkedIn group.

Boost Your Visibility

The Economic Times notes that LinkedIn involvement helps people find you, a la Google. What sets LinkedIn apart, however, is that it's targeted and more effective. This is especially true when you’re just starting out, haven't "made the news" or aren't in a senior position that warrants mention on your company's website. Having a robust profile peppered with industry-relevant verbiage can also boost your SEO (how well you show up in online searches) and web presence and help you connect with group members who could eventually help you find and pursue career opportunities.

Get Noticed

Contributing valuable content (think relevant articles, conversation starters, feedback on questions posed by others) to a LinkedIn group, however small, fosters a sense of community and ingratiates you in the minds of like-minded professionals, notes It also positions you as an expert in the industry. That credibility is something that may pay off with professional relationships down the line. Just be sure you remain active: out of sight – unfortunately – is out of mind.

Define Yourself

Becoming active on LinkedIn is way to define yourself in the Google-verse, says socialmediatoday. Potential employers will look you up online – of that you can be sure. This way, you shape the content they find, and you give them something positive to consider. Mind you, that's why all contributions you make must be professional, relevant and forthcoming.

Find Connections

More than regular searching on LinkedIn, the search function of LinkedIn groups proves helpful since you're targeting a specific skill-set while eliminating irrelevant information. Add that to the fact that, with groups, you’re not limited to the regular 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree contacts in the general search function.

An Address Book, Online

Establishing likeminded connections from groups enables you to use LinkedIn as a virtual "address book." By populating yours with top influencers in your field, you can follow them, learn from them and easily contact them whenever the need arises, says slice | works.

Jennifer Olvera is a Chicago-based freelance writer.