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Making My Life After AmeriCorps Connections on LinkedIn

April 13, 2012

Today’s guest post comes from Naomi Woods, who served as an AmeriCorps Team Leader at Hands On Atlanta. She’s currently an International Student Advisor at Grambling State University. She is an active member on our AmeriCorps Alums LinkedIn group and enjoys sharing her tips to help others develop their professional skill sets.

Why LinkedIn Matters

Some social media experts claim that as much as 80% of all companies will begin or are already using LinkedIn to recruit potential talent.  Because of this, there is great potential for those skilled in both their industry and in social media to connect with great opportunities on LinkedIn.  What’s more, you can network your way to information and connections that you may never have had the opportunity to meet outside of this new resource.

Being one of the first people on LinkedIn,  I saw the potential of the platform and joined immediately, though leaving my profile unattended for years.  It wasn’t until recently, when I began to research social media that I realized LinkedIn had developed into an amazing tool.  In fact, it was a whole new ball game and I’ll share with you what I have learned.

Connect with People

Naomi serving at Hands On Atlanta.

The first thing I did after setting up my profile was send the contacts on my email list an invitation to connect with me on LinkedIn.  That resulted in exactly 87 connections which was more than I got a few years ago.  However, the opportunity to network with people I already networked with didn’t seem like much of an opportunity.

LinkedIn strongly urges users to only link with people they know.  This has led to an interesting debate on LinkedIn between those who feel strongly that the biggest benefit of the site is the opportunity to connect with new people.  For me, networking with new professionals has led me to over 500 connections in my field and several hundred outside of my field.  Saying I have over 500 connections in my field to a potential employer can leave a powerful impression and resulted in my connecting with several key recruiters.  However, having hundreds of connections that you never contact will be a waste of your time and theirs.  The goal should be to have meaningful and valuable connections not just numbers.

Join Groups

Spend some time researching the groups in your industry.  You are limited to a total of 50 groups for the free LinkedIn account so choose wisely and don’t be afraid to leave a group that doesn’t meet your needs.  There are some groups where interaction is nearly impossible because of the number of people posting advertisements.   You want a group that is going to give you the chance to network or it has little purpose. For example, try to find groups that encourage accepting invitations or shring social media contacts.

The other benefit to becoming a group member is that groups are one of the easiest ways to build your connections.  You can send invitations to connect without having an email address to most group members. Instead of sending the generic LinkedIn invitation, personalize it and explain why you want to connect.  I was able to connect to people who were industry leaders by explaining I read an article they wrote, that we had several mutual connections, that we were both alumni of a certain organization, etc.  I eventually came up with several templates for all of the types of invitations I sent.

Once you start building connections, LinkedIn shows you people you may know.  This is the real benefit of LinkedIn, networking with your contacts connections.  LinkedIn only allows you to send so many invites a day, about 50 based on my experience.  Once you meet the limit you will be asked to provide the email address of those you are inviting.

If you have any additional comments or questions about optimizing your LinkedIn account I accept all invites from Americorps Alumni and I will reply to all questions as soon as possible.  Don’t forget to comment on the Alums group discussions above if you are interested in connecting with other Americorps Alums!


For more professional development resources, join us on April 17, 2012 at 12 pm EDT for our Career Development Webinar on “How to Highlight AmeriCorps on your Resume.” As part of AmeriCorps Alums’ Professional Development Webinar series, this training will feature guest speaker, Denise Riebman. Attendees will learn the how-to’s on writing a resume that will get you noticed! Denise was the Assistant Dean of Career Services at the Heller School, Brandeis University, and served in AmeriCorps*VISTA in 1994.

Denise will share current resume trends and best practices on highlighting your AmeriCorps service! We hope to see you there. Click here to register.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 14, 2012 7:05 am

    Awesome post, thanks for sharing. Linkedin is a great source to find professionals, especially for employers. I think getting as many connections as possible an important kick start that will get you started.

  2. June 12, 2012 2:22 pm

    Hi Naomi,

    My name is Karen King, and I am a current AmeriCorps member. My term expires on January 10, 2012. Thank you so much for your article; it was a great help. Do you have any suggestions for someone like me who is 57 and has current call center experience, an Administrative Assistant certifcate, and experience in clerical in two non-profit agencies

  3. June 13, 2016 4:23 pm

    Great stuff!

    I couldn’t help but notice you promoted joining the AmeriCorps Alum Group.

    I also recommend Linkedin Groups as a Networking resource. In fact check out this list of 21 Linkedin Groups AmeriCorps Alums should join:

    Keep up the awesome work!

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