According to Dutch newspaper NRC, the economic crisis is causing growing popularity of social networking sites such as Linkedin (http://www.linkedin.com). Considerable growth has been reported not just in the US. Globally around 45 million people are a member of this popular networking site, especially higher educated people. This would make Linkedin the most popular professional networking site of the web, leaving competitors like Plaxo and Xing behind.
Especially people employed in industries that see high redundancy figures appear to be organizing themselves on social networking sites. Changed circumstances make people active in ensuring they keep their jobs and are willing to go an extra mile to get a new one. Polishing up your online profile and entering into new relationships appears to be part of the process. In addition to this those networking sites more than once show you the networks of your own social network and can therefore be a valuable tool in identifying potentially interesting people that may be able to assist you in finding a new job.
The article (in the Dutch language) can be found here: http://www.nrc.nl/economie/article2310191.ece/Sociale_netwerksites_groeien_door_crisis.
Personally, when it comes to presenting yourself professionally online or build an eye catching CV, I prefer VisualCV at http://www.visualcv.com. At the same time however, the new functionalities and tools offered by Linkedin make it an attractive professional networking site and a great tool to make new connections. I guess for me it is the looks of Visual CV that I prefer. For an example: http://visualcv.com/johndierckx.
As far as Linkedin goes, even though the policy is that you should connect to people you know only, I have had the opportunity to expand my network substantially by accepting connection requests from people I did not know yet. At the moment my connections on Linkedin total over 2700 which allegedly gives my access to well over 15 million professionals worldwide. On many an occasion it has proven a valuable tool to identify relevant professionals and even get new work in. Most of all I have found the sharing of professional expertise and learning from one another the most fruitful aspect of most of these websites. For a more personal touch however, despite its considerably smaller size, my professional network of choice is still Ecademy (www.ecademy.com). Even though only marginal in size compared to Linkedin, I like the more personal environment of this network and suggest that you take the time to check it out.
Should you want connect with me on these networks, you can find me here:
· Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/johndierckx
· Ecademy: http://www.ecademy.com/account.php?id=121134
· Xing: (not really active) http://www.xing.com/profile/John_Dierckx
And of the less professional sites:
· Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/johndierckx
· Hi5: http://johndierckx.hi5.com/
· Hyves (Dutch): http://johndierckx.hyves.nl/
I suggest you keep in mind that building connections is easy but building relationships requires a lot more effort. Both (can) have their own specific use and benefits. Also keep in mind that being
pro-active is important. Don’t wait with building that network or those relationships until you need them, start doing it ahead of that and along the way I bet like me you will meet fantastic people, helpful people, interesting people and people with whom you may share all kinds of similar interests and expertise. Success and fun.