5 Excellent Networking Sites to Help You Find Jobs
As soon as you knew you wanted (or needed) a new job, you got on Facebook and let all your friends and connections there know what you could do and that you were available, right? You probably also went straight to LinkedIn and quickly made a profile there so people could find the awesomely productive employee that is you. But the phone didn’t start ringing.
That’s not because networking online for a job doesn’t work, it’s because you have to find all the places where you can make the Internet work for you.
Any expert will tell you that to find a good job in the current economy, you have to know somebody. And unless you live in a very small town, or your dad is the mayor and you’ve already met all the citizens of your community, this means you’re going to have to do some networking.
The good news is that you can do a lot of this networking from the comfort of your own home. Yes, you should get out and make yourself known in the physical world, but while you’re doing that, the World Wide Web can give you a helping hand.
There are a lot of social networking sites for job seekers, entrepreneurs and professionals. A lot. And, if you aren’t a fan of the ones we suggest here, do some exploring and find some that suit you. It shouldn’t be too difficult.
These are five networking sites that you probably aren’t making the most use of if you’re a job seeker—and you should:
Of course you’ve set up a LinkedIn profile. Your grandmother has probably set up a LinkedIn profile. But just setting up a profile isn’t the kind of networking that lands a job. There are 35 million users, both job seekers and recruiters, on the top business networking site and you could be connected to all of them. On LinkedIn you can have your own distinct URL to include on other sites. The site shows you first-, second- and third-degree connections so you can see when someone you know might have a connection who could help you get a foot in the door with a company hiring in your area of expertise.
You should definitely be taking advantage of the endorsements feature to further legitimize your skills and give a boost to others in your network. Connect with others in your industry—and, therefore, possible jobs—by joining and participating in related groups. Watch for status updates and stay current with your network so you can see when someone you know may be working somewhere new and could help you network there. LinkedIn will even send you jobs you might be interested in based on the skills and work history you list. It’s a powerful tool you should take full advantage of.
Plaxo is a networking site very similar to LinkedIn that doesn’t get the same attention. The nice thing about your Plaxo profile is that you can include your presence in other social media sites. The site is also connected to Simply Hired and will search jobs for you based on your profile. You can also share photo albums and eCards. Imagine being able to add a contact and send them a “Thanks for the interview” or “It was nice to meet you at that event” card to help them further remember you.
And as a bonus, Plaxo also has an address book that keeps track of contact information for your connections, including maps so you know where they are in the world. Even if it seems similar to LinkedIn, you should use Plaxo to broaden your network and get even more exposure online.
If, as we suggested earlier, you are doing freelance work to keep yourself employed, then Freelanced.com is an excellent social media networking site you should be using. It’s a great place to see what jobs companies are posting for freelancers, as well as to be seen by companies who are posting jobs for freelancers.
You can set up a page all about you and what you can do. You can network with other freelancers and then they, and the employers you have worked for, can give you “kudos” to help highlight your profile. You can also get the inside scoop from other freelancers on which jobs or employers were good or bad to work for. If you’re going to look for freelance work online, you need to get on this or a similar freelancing site.
If you aren’t using or haven’t heard much about Jobster, you’re not alone. It’s a handy site that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It’s an excellent tool for getting your information in front of employers who are hiring. Like any such site, you can upload your résumé. But on Jobster, you can also embed your video résumé (rather than having to link out to it) and feature links to your portfolio site.
You can also tag your skills, so if an employer is looking for employees with your specific skill set, your profile will end up in their search results. But you don’t have to wait for employers to search for you—you can search for jobs on Jobster and then connect to the job poster to add them to your network directly from the job listing. Making that first connection could give you more of an edge than just submitting your résumé online alone.
MyWorkster is geared toward professionals who are just about to graduate from college. The career-placement office on your campus always tried to tell you that having connections through the school would help you get a job, and they were probably right. The site helps both students and alumni network in order to connect them with more exclusive employment opportunities.
Like any other professional social networking site, you can create a profile and network with potential employers. Your account is free and also includes an instant messenger built into the site, discussion groups, as well as site-sponsored events. There are also job listings provided by Indeed for some added variety in your job search.