For better or worse, LinkedIn has become the standard when it comes to professional networking. With thousands of job ads, company reviews, and the ability to build a professional community, LinkedIn has it all. But is it the only option for jobseekers, or are there LinkedIn alternatives when it comes to networking?
According to a survey by Performance-based Hiring, up to 85 percent of all jobs are filled through networking of some kind. That means that even if LinkedIn isn’t working for you for some reason, it’s worth investigating some alternative ways of networking.
While there is nothing out there quite like LinkedIn, there are alternatives that have some helpful features that can help you network your way into a new job. We’ve gathered a selection of ideas to help you meet the right people to get the job you want.
Jobcase has been around since 2009, but it didn’t enter the professional social media networking space until 2015 when it began offering users a place to ask questions and join professional groups in their industry.
Like LinkedIn, Jobcase has users to create a comprehensive profile that outlines your educational background and professional experience. Unlike LinkedIn, it also asks for information on your preferred salary, soft skills, ideal working conditions, and whether you’re interested in relocating. The open-access tool hosts your profile and recommendations; it also offers jobseekers access to a community of 70-million people who share advice and resources to aid in their pursuit of professional goals.
Launched in 2016, Workplace by Facebook touts itself as a recruitment tool with six times the number of company pages as LinkedIn, making it a powerful job search tool for jobseekers. With more than 1,000 organizations around the world currently using Workplace (formerly known as Facebook at Work), the site also touts more than 100,000 professional groups that can be used as an alternative to LinkedIn for professional networking. And, similar to LinkedIn, jobseekers can showcase their skills and experience by uploading their resumes right to the site.
Instagram isn’t just for keeping up with the Kardashians anymore. In the U.S. alone, there are roughly 800 million Instagram accounts, with 25 million of those representing active business accounts. This makes Instagram a secret weapon in the job search. Just as many companies use Twitter for sharing job openings, companies are increasingly turning to Instagram to promote not just their job openings but their company culture as well.
Of all of the LinkedIn alternatives, Instagram might be the most underutilized. To start, make a list of companies that interest you and then follow them. Also, be sure to search using a hashtag, the company name, and the word jobs (for example #verizonjobs or #gapjobs) to see a list of the jobs the company posts on Instagram.
4. Join a professional organization in your field
When you are looking for LinkedIn alternatives, professional associations offer great opportunities for face-time with other professionals in your field. From classes to committees to social events, most professional associations and organizations offer a variety of ways to get and stay connected, which is invaluable, especially when you are looking for work. Remember to carry business cards with you when you attend events to make it easy for valuable contacts to reach out again later.
5. Try new things
You never know who you are going to meet on a given day, especially if you are constantly trying new things. So, get out of the house and mingle. Make a pledge to attend an event of some kind on a regular basis. Once a week, or once a month, choose an event and get going.
These don’t have to be events that are directly related to work. You just need to find some sort of event or meet up and make the effort to chat people up once you arrive. Again, have your business cards on hand and distribute them liberally. Not having luck at one event? Try a few different ones. The more variety you add into your networking efforts the more likely you are to meet someone who might be a great professional connection.
6. Offer to help others
Networking isn’t a one-way street, so offer your assistance to other jobseekers whenever possible. Asking yourself what you can do for others is a great way to open doors for yourself. After all, a person to whom you’ve extended a hand is more likely to return the favor.
Whether it’s help writing a resume, or introducing another jobseeker to a helpful connection, paying it forward (or reciprocating for people who have helped you in the past) is a great way to get in the good graces of potentially valuable contacts.