If you’re one of the 10 million Slack users worldwide, you’ll know what a great tool it is to keep in touch with your teammates. As of 2022, over 600,000 companies use the platform to get their teams working together, communicating, and sharing their wins.
But did you know that Slack is also a place to network? The rise of Slack groups is changing how we communicate with our peers worldwide. Gone are the days of private forums, with real-time interaction the key to Slack networking’s success. And job seekers are even finding Slack networking as a way to fast-track application processes.
Here’s what you need to know.
What’s a Slack group?
A Slack group operates in the exact same way as a Slack workspace. The only difference is that rather than it being run by and exclusive to who you work for, it’s managed and run by an individual. There will be channels related to specific themes, and the opportunity to have private 1:1 or group conversations of your choosing.
Some groups also host online networking events where Slack channel members are encouraged to join video calls once a week, month, or quarter, to better get to know the channel participants.
Each group will have its own specific theme, and sometimes specific geography. It could be anything from cryptocurrency, to moms who work, to freelance copywriters.
Joining can be tricky, as these groups are invite-only. Often, you’ll have to provide some information about yourself, or already know someone on the inside to get the invite. Not all of these groups are free to join. Some are subscription based, while others demand a one-off fee.
How can I find Slack groups?
Depending on your area of interest the best first step is probably a quick Google search.
Some Slack groups may be connected to networking groups you’re already part of in some way. Perhaps you join their in-person meetups or are a member of their Facebook group. Often an active networking group in another format tends to be the sign that Slack will be equally active.
It’s also worth using your pre-existing network and asking if they have any suggestions, or could even invite you to some groups they are members of. Ask for help finding groups that are specific to what you’re looking for.
If you’re a job seeker, keep an eye out for groups that are related to your career ambitions. Although these groups won’t specifically be for those looking for jobs some will have channels dedicated to job opportunities while you may also find roles via the network you build inside. The same is true for freelancers looking for jobs and contracts.
Not all Slack groups are great
Just like networking events and social media groups, not all Slack groups are created equal. It’s worth dipping your toe into a few groups and then weeding out the ones that aren’t going to be useful.
Once you’ve joined, it’s worth assessing what the engagement is like. Are people interacting with content, and is the content relevant to you?
You may find that the group hasn’t been used for some time and that actually no one has posted for months or even years. Or that people post but nobody ever responds.
Just because a Slack group has loads of members (some have thousands) doesn’t mean those people engage, in fact, some people might have only logged on once.
When starting out, try joining a bunch of channels. Of these, perhaps only 10% will actually be active and engaged. At this point, you might decide to simply leave the redundant groups, or keep them and just check in with them from time to time.
How to get started
Once you’ve decided that a Slack group is worth your attention, it’s time to introduce yourself.
Most groups have an introductions channel. Introduce yourself and say what you’re looking for. It’s worth starting off by giving to the community rather than taking, to build your reputation and grow your network.
Don’t state off the bat you’re looking for a job, and definitely don’t come off as desperate. Some channels have rules that actually ban those who are just looking to sell something or find a job, and administrators kick out those who break the rules.
With your introduction, think about what you can offer.
Hey, I’m Mary and I hail from Cleveland, OH.
I’ve worked with huge brands (Walmart, Macy’s, Trader Joe’s) as a marketeer for over a decade and I’m looking to connect with other marketing experts from across the US.
If you’re new to marketing and are looking for advice then feel free to drop me a line, I’m always happy to pass on advice.
Looking forward to connecting!
Another approach might be asking for help, rather than a job.
Hey, I’m Blake and I just moved to NYC after graduating from Rutgers University with a major in Business.
I’m looking to learn from this group as I have ambitions of a career in Business Consulting.
I’d love to know if anyone has any advice for new graduates. I’m really keen to find a mentor and would love to know how people found their professional mentors.
Great to connect!
With this example, although the person is clearly a graduate job seeker they’re asking about mentorship and how people connected with mentors. The responses may include people who are actually willing to mentor, rather than just advice.
The most beneficial interactions will most likely come from you offering to help someone. Keep an eye out for posts from others that you can add relevant comments, and begin building your network that way. For some of these interactions, you may even link up on other professional sites like LinkedIn.
How to use Slack networking to find a job
First things first, join any jobs or employment channels and keep an eye out for jobs that are being posted.
If the group doesn’t have a job or employment channel you can search for roles that are being posted in Slack’s search bar, or simply keep an eye out on other channels.
If a role is posted in the Slack group, spend some time actually responding to the post with the fact that you’re planning to apply and why. Feel free to open up direct lines of communication with the poster with a direct message. A good way of opening this up could be with a question or asking for the full job specification.
Another option is asking directly about roles. We’d recommend doing this after you’ve been a contributor for a while. List some of your key skills and specifically what you’re looking for. Then ask the community if they have any recommendations about specific roles they’ve seen in their network, whether there are any job boards they’d recommend or even companies you should be looking at.
You may also have already found a job you’d like to apply for. Search your Slack groups to see if there’s somebody already working at the company and introduce yourself, or post asking if anyone has any connections within that company who might be able to give advice regarding an application. It’s a great way of thinking outside the box and showing employers you’re willing to go the extra mile.
Finally, use this as a networking opportunity. Just because a conversation opens up around something parallel to your job search does not mean that those conversations are not relevant. You never know where your next job may come from. Use the Slack channel as an opportunity to build your professional network and grow people you can turn to for advice and support.
Often in the more engaged Slack groups, people are willing to help those who are having career struggles, as long as it’s reciprocal.
It’s worth remembering that like any tool, Slack is simply an aid to finding a role. You’ll still need to gain work experience, create a great CV and portfolio, and hone your interview skills. You can find further tips and advice on our blog here.