Professional social networks: 2 Facebook apps that challenge LinkedIn


When it comes to using professional social networks, LinkedIn has long been the original and specialist network. Hot on LinkedIn’s heels are two Facebook apps which aim to take advantage of Facebook’s vast user base. Are these apps a sign of the future of professional networking, or should we continue to keep our personal and professional personas separated?

Both of these apps do stress that they allow you complete separation between your ‘regular’, social Facebook presence, and your professional one. They effectively allow you to create a new profile page, and build a separate network that will never see personal material such as your wall and tagged photos. What else do they offer?

BranchOut professional networking logoBranchOut

BranchOut has been on the scene since July 2010, but has recently gained remarkable growth and increased user activity. The app is arguably very self promoting, verging on the side of spam (see this post for a breakdown of its viral techniques) and having tested it myself I was disappointed to see that the default choice for inviting friends was to post on their wall rather than sending a private invitation as a message.

BranchOut aims to gamify professional networking by using badges as incentives for growing your network. The danger in this is that it will perhaps motivate some people to focus on the the volume of their network rather than the quality ot it. It’s also possible to gift badges to other users, making recommendations and endorsements too easy can perhaps diminishing their value. professional networking Facebook app BeKnown logoBeKnown

Recently launched by job-hunting site, BeKnown offers a very similar approach to BranchOut, offering a partition between your professional and social spheres.

BeKnown also utilities badges as an incentive for making connections as well as giving and receiving endorsements. It appears that BeKnown uses a less intrusive approach to inviting friends, and the top badge for number of connections is at 500, which places a cap similar to LinkedIn.

As it is early days for BeKnown we may have to wait and see what the uptake is like amongst users. While the link to the jobs listed on will surely be an attractive lure to job hunters, it will be interesting to see how BeKnown handles the headstarts gained by LinkedIn and BranchOut.

5 examples of job hunting with social media


Job hunting in the age of social media can be a difficult thing to do. Trying to differentiate yourself in the sea of voices created by social makes it harder to stand out from the crowd and throwing a few pictures at the top of your CV isn’t quite going to cut it any more.

Below are 5 of what we think are the best examples of people and companies using social media to help with job hunting. Enjoy.

1) Graeme Anthony and the C.V.I.V.

When Graeme Anthony sent his prospective C.V.I.V. (curriculum vitae interactive video) he didn’t anticipate the amount of buzz it would create. Although not originally intended for the public eye, you can appreciate why it went down so well. A truly pioneering effort from someone that clearly �?gets’ the digital mindset.

2) Laura Tosney

Laura, like Graeme, understood the power of video for job applications and the touching stop motion video below showcases Laura’s creative side beautifully. Again, like Graeme, this got the attention of her soon-to-be-employer quite effectively, and she got the job.

3) Susan Lewis hires a boss

Every once in a while someone comes along and turns a concept on its head. Susan is one such person. Reflecting on the traditional model of �?person asks company if they could work for them’, Susan broke the status quo, and started a blog where she hired her boss. The uptake on this wasn’t unanimously good, but this kind of change in attitude isn’t going to wash with everyone. You can read the blog here.

4) Alec Brownstein – The Google Job Experiment

Falling perhaps slightly outside of the social media remit, but incredibly relevant all the same, the Google Job Experiment by Alec Brownstein was an incredibly insightful reflection on the (what some call narcissistic) tendency of people to Google themselves. Armed with this knowledge, he paid for a Google Adwords campaign to target 5 high-level executives. Check the video below to see the results.

5.) The Saatchi & Saatchi Internship

This time the shoe is on the other foot, and Saatchi & Saatchi have used social media to recruit for their summer scholarship.

At a basic level, the brief asked grads to start a new Twitter account and get as high a rating as possible. The top 250 applicants would move onto the next stage of the process. This is a fascinating use of social media to hunt for grads, and a similar campaign back in 2010 using Facebook groups resulted in 5 full-time hires.

The facebook group can be found here.