Social Networking for Professionals - Reviews of Professional Networking Sites
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If you’re going to give professional social networking a try, it’s a good idea to know what you’re getting into. All sites are different, and some will offer the services and features which best appeal to your career needs and goals. Compare the following free professional networking sites to see if any will help you achieve your job desires.
LinkedIn is strictly meant for professional and business purposes. Upon joining the network, you will fill out a highly detailed profile which showcases your past and present business achievements. You can even include past education information as well. The site’s purpose is to help you build business contacts; you receive emailed alerts when you find new ones. There are a few tools and features which help you take the networking further than establishing a connection through you profile, but this site presents itself very professionally and caters to business-minded users in simple, straightforward page designs that are easy to use.
Dedicated to “senior level professionals,” ProVisors caters to people in the fields of accounting, law, banking and finance, consulting, human resources, insurance, investment, marketing and real estate. This site is chock-full of resources that includes a searchable database full of tip-providing documents. Member profiles are very short and to the point -- a no-muss, no-fuss approach to self-marketing. Forums provide another networking medium so you can connect with members. The simple, uncluttered look of the site makes it easy for you to explore the options.
Designed with business professionals in mind, Ecademy offers an extensive network of forums and a marketplace which allows users to connect and advertise their own services. Users can also join clubs and groups to meet fellow members of Ecademy with ease. The bold toolbar makes site navigation a snap.
Along with member profiles and several different networks for working professionals, Ryze boasts several different types of classified ads. Members can search for jobs, services and even property offered by other members of the site in the classified area. An events calendar gives users the opportunity to connect through planned functions to further networking goals.
Xing has taken a new twist on the basic member profile by making your information look like a business card which can be easily passed out online. This site also provides many different personal marketing features and tools, as well as extensive job listings to help you discover new opportunities in employment.
The Social Sites
The above professional sites are all different, but they still have the same basic foundation: they’re all about networking. This is the same basic structure which has made MySpace and Facebook so popular. Since these two sites are highly recognizable and widely known, why shouldn’t you use them for professional purposes instead of social goals?
Highly picture-driven, Facebook is considered a very hot social networking site. Though this site is much more about making friends and meeting people than it is about realizing professional goals, you can still create a career-themed profile just to be a part of the site. It’s easy to refer people you meet to this well-known, easy-to-find site.
Catering mainly to a younger crowd, MySpace offers blogs, forums, events -- you name it, MySpace probably has it. The immense success of this site makes it viable for any professional. People are highly familiar with MySpace, and it’s free to belong as a member. Remember to check your MySpace page often, as the casual tone of the site does not lend itself easily to professionalism and you may need to edit your on-page comments.
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