International Networking Forums for Job Seekers
If you’re pursuing a career overseas, then make sure you sign up for at least one of these networks: Viadeo, XING, or Ecademy. All these networks use a freemium model, which means they allow you to sign up and use basic features for free. Advanced features cost a nominal amount of money.
LinkedIn isn’t the only game in town. Non-English-speaking countries have adopted other professional networks, and in some cases, professionals in some countries use only these networks.
International networking forum Viadeo
Viadeo is an up-and-coming networking site in Europe. It has 35 million professionals in its network from around the world with fast-growing adoption in Asia. For job seekers looking for work in Europe, China, and India, joining Viadeo is a must. Indeed, one of its major sources of revenue comes from offering professional recruiters selective access to their database.
Similar to LinkedIn, Viadeo offers users the following features:
A clean and simple user interface
Job postings and events
Interest groups called Communities
Finding other professionals with Viadeo’s search feature is easy. You don’t have to be connected to anyone in order to send messages, which opens up a lot of possibilities for reaching out and communicating with new people. Viadeo is robust enough that any strategy you use in LinkedIn would work here as well.
Creating a profile is worth the time just for a chance to use the search feature and see who you may be able to connect with.
One issue that Viadeo struggles with, and something LinkedIn handles quite nicely, is that many people don’t fill out their profiles completely, which makes it difficult to get a feeling for who you’re connecting with.
Part of the issue is that Viadeo doesn’t tell you that your profile is only 80 percent complete (as LinkedIn does). So without an incentive to fill everything out, members tend to just enter a minimal amount of data. Of course, if you add more complete information, you can really stand out.
International networking forum XING
XING is an international version of LinkedIn. Over the last several years, XING has acquired social networks in various European countries, including Italy and Turkey. According to the site, XING operates in more than 17 different languages, and its more than 10 million users come from over 200 different countries. Clearly, XING is the network to consider joining if you’re looking for a job in Europe.
Functionally, XING differs from LinkedIn in that e-mailing someone despite your degree of connection is much easier. The user interface is also considerably different than LinkedIn, which alone has won over many fans in the U.S. who are frustrated with LinkedIn’s ever-changing and increasingly confusing interface.
Integration with Google Maps allows you to see your contacts based on where they live. For those job seekers looking to relocate for work, this feature may be really handy.
If you’re on LinkedIn, some of XING’s features may seem familiar to you, including the following:
A list of connections and options to import your address book
Events, jobs, and groups
A long list of applications you can plug in to your account for functions that range from personal productivity, carpooling, team management, and document management
An option to go Ad Free for premium members
Low-cost premium membership options ($5 to $10 a month)
Because XING is a German company, it really is most useful in Germany. Despite its concerted efforts to expand to other countries, the vast majority of users are still German.
International networking forum Ecademy
Ecademy was founded in 1998 by two British IT professionals (Penny Power and Thomas Power) to provide an online social networking forum focused on small business owners and solo business owners. Several hundred thousand people from 200 countries use Ecademy. This social network is particularly valuable to join if you’re a European small business professional (especially if you’re looking for work in the U.K.).
One of the more interesting features of Ecademy is the ability to set up an automatic e-mail to anyone who’s visited your profile. For a job seeker, that may be an opportunity to follow up with more info or links about you, such as your LinkedIn profile or online résumé.