Did you see that TIME Magazine recently named Mark Zuckerberg “Person of the Year?” As Facebook approaches 600 million users, Zuckerburg has been describing Facebook as an “enabler” – a platform where everyday tasks will be done right on Facebook. For example, you can now buy and sell goods, play games or even find a date. These applications, and many more, are changing the way millions of people live their lives. What does this mean for job search?
I’ve written about how you can use Facebook for job seeking. In the spirit of providing information about some growing social networking tools for you to consider adding to your job search arsenal, here are some details about BranchOut, a Facebook application designed exclusively for career networking.
They call themselves “the leading professional networking service on Facebook” and explain, “Once you sign up for the free service you can:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Create a professional profile
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Search three million jobs and 14,000 internships
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Identify inside connections at the companies you want to work for
Take a look at this brief video:
BranchOut describes the features listed above:
Professional profile – there are some things you share on Facebook that are meant for friends and family, but not recruiters. BranchOut’s profile is 100% professional. It shows where you’ve worked and gone to school, but does not show personal photo albums or status updates. You can import your profile information from LinkedIn or fill out the profile manually.
Job search engine – you can search for open jobs by company name, position, or skill and filter those jobs by location. For example, you could search for IBM, V.P. of Sales, or sales, and sort your results by city.
Inside connections – the most powerful feature on BranchOut is the ability to identify friends and friends-of-friends at the companies you want to work for. Just type in the name of a company, see your 1st and 2nd degree connections at that company, and request an introduction – if necessary – in just one click.
Facebook is projected to grow to one billion users by 2012, giving it an unparalleled social graph. BranchOut considers this social graph its secret weapon. Some of Silicon Valley’s top investors agree – to the tune of a $6M in funding for BranchOut. Kevin Efrusky, the venture capitalist who invested early in Facebook, Groupon, and BranchOut says, “We fundamentally believe it will change jobs and recruiting. If you look at how most people really get their jobs, it is through their real friends.”
So what does that mean for you? BranchOut says:
If you are a job seeker with a Facebook account, there are two reasons why it’s worth checking out. First, as you get a critical mass of BranchOut connections, you’ll be surprised by how many inside connections you already have at thousands of companies. Second, recruiters are starting to search for new hires on BranchOut, so you do not want to be overlooked.
5 things to do on BranchOut today:
1. Sign up for a free account at www.branchout.com
2. Create a professional profile. If you are applying for one job in particular, make sure to target your communication.
3. Invite your Facebook friends to BranchOut. It’s hard to see the power of your inside connections until you have at least 10 BranchOut connections. You can invite people with a single click.
4. Endorse your friends. Tell employers why they are special and request that friends return the favor.
5. Have fun! Play around with the site. Search for jobs, see you inside connections by searching for companies, and check out the leader board to see which of your friends is the most connected.
Please share what you think in the comments. It’s great to keep up with new tools, and important to spend the right amount of time using the ones that offer the most return on your investment. Be sure to let me know if you try BranchOut!
If you know social media is important, but need help, that’s what I’m here for! If you’re ready to hire someone to help you move ahead with your plans, contact me to find out how you can boost your job search – both online and off line. Check out my new book, Social Networking for Career Success, to learn how to use Branchout and other social networking tools to your advantage!