Deciding which social networks are most worth your professional connecting time isn’t always easy. No one has unlimited time, and many job seekers wonder where to put their online efforts. Even though it’s known primarily as a personal network, Facebook, with 750 million monthly active users, is an important contender for job seekers.
You’ve likely heard of more people who have lost jobs using Facebook than people who’ve found jobs, which prompts many of us to worry that information on our Facebook profiles may actually hurt our chances to find work. But nearly a quarter of job seekers around the world use social networking to search for work, and research shows that Facebook, when used professionally, can help more than hurt job seekers of any age.
A new social network launched by Monster.com, best known for its job board, aims to help people manage their professional lives inside of Facebook. BeKnown, unveiled this week and launching in 35 countries and 19 languages, aims to attract people who spend the majority of their online networking time using Facebook. One of Monster’s goals is to provide a way to separate the professional and personal aspects of Facebook to help anyone looking for a job (and people hoping to hire someone) connect via Facebook, but in a professional environment. The application will not post anything to users’ walls without permission, Monster representatives say.
Once connected from within Facebook, the application walks new users through creating a profile, drawing on existing information in the person’s Facebook bio or Monster profile (if they have one) to include professional details. You may use your Facebook profile picture, or select and upload a new photo to display in BeKnown. Then, it’s possible to invite contacts to connect as members of BeKnown, even if you are not Facebook friends, and it’s easy to find and connect with your LinkedIn and Twitter contacts as well. Monster promises, “Your friends-only social communications will never be disclosed on BeKnown.”
Making it unique among Facebook professional networking applications, BeKnown interacts with a job seeker’s profile on Monster.com, and allows applicants to use a one-click apply button. The application’s information page explains, “BeKnown finds and recommends jobs for you based on your skills and experience—before you even do a search. In the Friends’ Jobs section, you can also view jobs that are posted by people in your network.” Since these jobs are in organizations where you already have a contact, you may have a better chance to land an interview.
Similar to LinkedIn and another Facebook application, Branchout, BeKnown has a mechanism to allow your contacts to endorse you. In a gaming aspect that may especially appeal to young professionals, Monster’s application allows users to earn badges, or awards, on their profiles for various milestones, including earning a degree, completing a certification, number of connections, recommending a certain number of friends, length of time with an employer, etc. Monster expects to add to more awards going forward.
The network also allows recruiters to create jobs on their company pages, and it integrates jobs already included in the Monster site. Monster plans to include the opportunity for a company to identify and pay referral fees to BeKnown users who refer successful candidates. This is a unique feature that could prompt people to join and interact actively for the possibility of a bonus.
Miriam Salpeter is a job search and social media consultant, career coach, author, speaker, resume writer and owner of Keppie Careers. She is author of Social Networking for Career Success. Miriam teaches job seekers and entrepreneurs how to incorporate social media tools along with traditional strategies to empower their success. Connect with her via Twitter @Keppie_Careers.