Besides just Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, there are actually hundreds of social networks out there that can be used to beef up your career connections, find jobs, or just expand your circle of professional colleagues. With more and more employers and clients taking to the Internet to find deals, develop business relationships, and network with entrepreneurs, it’s more important than ever to be aware of what’s out there in your particular field.

If you’re just looking for a job, there are general career networks like Climber.com, which advertises itself as an inside channel to connect directly with over 70k recruiters who are posting the latest jobs on the market. Or, you could be looking for a more niche community that can help you interface with more specific employers. For years now artists and creatives have flocked to Deviant Art, a social network for artists of all flavors, as a place to interact with illustrators, digital artists, photographers, etc. Thousands of freelance artists have launched careers here. Etsy.com has done the same for independent craft-makers and jewelers, facilitating an environment in which DIY makers of all sorts of products can create a marketplace for their specialties.

Social networks for musicians have blossomed in the last decade, not only offering vibrant communities for musicians to share their latest tracks but ways for them to network with licensers and labels. In today’s fragile, some would even argue decimated or non-existent music industry, it’s increasingly important for young musicians to make these connections. Audimated, Gogoyoko, MOG, ReverbNation, SoundCloud, and of course Last.fm have all arisen as social media sites amenable to independent or mainstream musicians. Companies may scour these online destinations looking for music to license for commercials or movies.

There are also many flourishing social networks for business people and entrepreneurs. Elixio, Presently, Qapacity, Ryze, EntrepeneurConnect, PartnerUp, and Biznik all offer innovative ways for people in varying fields of business and entrepreneurship to network with past, present, and future clients and investors while searching for and comparing a variety of resources and vendors. There is also the location-based network Foursquare, which is an excellent way for small businesses to make names for themselves in their communities.

Other rising professionals need connections too. If you’re working in the academics industry, you can check out Academia.edu and Fledgewing. Of if you’re an open source developer, check out Diaspora and Identi.ca, two cutting edge networks for ambitious, license free software.

Like apps, whatever your field is—there’s a network for that. Don’t limit yourself to just the big three, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You’re doing yourself a great disservice by being conservative with your exposure to social media.


Author Sarah Hill also writes for The Tech Update