With close to a quarter-billion registered users, LinkedIn is the most popular professional networking site on earth. Not only is it useful to professionals looking for career advancement and professional networking, it helps business owners generate new leads, as well. As powerful a tool as LinkedIn can be, many professionals and entrepreneurs quit it each year.
People have different kinds of complaints against LinkedIn. Many complain that LinkedIn sends them a constant stream of spam, for instance. Others object to the expense involved. To make full use of LinkedIn’s networking features and to directly contact other LinkedIn members through email, you need to pay a membership fee worth $49.95 a month.
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Many people leave LinkedIn for privacy-related issues. To make full use of a LinkedIn membership, you need to disclose your employment history and share your contact information. Other social networks don’t ask for such disclosure.
If you aren’t happy with LinkedIn, it isn’t the only game in professional networking. You can choose from a number of LinkedIn alternatives that help you with different aims – business, job hunting, startup formation and so on.
Twylah is a professional network is for businesses that need to establish brand pages on Twitter. Reviews, such as those found on Yodle, seem to favour Twylah as a useful search engine optimization tool, too. The network lets you optimize your page for better visibility on search engines and helps you create brand identity by offering analytics.
Branchout isn’t a separate social network; it’s a professional networking app on the Facebook platform – the most popular one in its niche. Job searches and professional networking on Branchout are completely done with Facebook connections. Since nearly every company has a Facebook presence, it’s easy to make quick connections when you use Branchout.
Zerply is a professional networking site that is built for creative people who need to network professionally and get in touch with creative companies. While the site does allow regular resumes, most creative types are likely to use one of the other options – resumes in the form of storyboards, videos or portfolios.
AngelList has a unique angle on professional networking – it specializes in networking for entrepreneurs launching startups. If you plan to launch a startup or wish to network with such entrepreneurs to find employment, AngelList is a good network to join.
While MeetUp is an online social networking service, its main thrust has to do with getting member professionals to meet in the real, offline world. The site organizes regular events in every city and gets like-minded professionals together. MeetUp’s idea is a useful one – people network better when they see one another in person.
Opprtunity social network tries to help professionals out in multiple ways. It helps them generate sales leads, make business connections and advertise job opportunities. Opprtunity is no ordinary social network that just leaves it to people to find each other, though.
It uses an algorithm that matches people by skill set, industry, location and other signals. If you are looking to leave LinkedIn behind, though, you won’t be able to make a clean break by joining Opprtunity – the network partners with LinkedIn to share sign-in credentials.
Many people continue to stay on LinkedIn simply because they are unaware of the alternatives. If you have a specific career or professional need that one of these networks specializes in, leaving LinkedIn behind for it can give your career a boost.