Facebook may be the most popular social network, but it can also be the trickiest to leverage for your job search.
Until you add this to your toolbox: a new service called In The Door, which not only tells you where your Facebook friends work and have worked, but also shows job openings at those companies. While other sites and applications aim to help job seekers use their Facebook network for professional gain, In The Door seems to have hit a sweet spot, offering value in an easy-to-use format.
"We show you the companies, at a glance, that are hiring in your network. No one else does that," says Liz Carlson, founder of In The Door. "[We] make those opportunities relevant."
The site is particularly useful for the under-30 set, many of whom have massive networks on Facebook but lack the professional experience to make the most out of LinkedIn, a social networking site aimed at professionals. But even career newbies know you're more likely to land a job when you have a referral. That's why networking tends to be more effective than browsing job boards or applying cold. When it comes down to it, a hiring manager is more likely to give your resume and cover letter a hard look if you come recommended.
In The Door is not associated with Facebook; it works by accessing information from the social networking site at the user's request. It then matches that information with jobs posted on Indeed.com, a job-listings aggregator. Companies can also register with In The Door to customize their jobs page and post openings directly on the site, and Carlson says nearly 150 organizations have done that since the site's launch on April 5. For now, it's free to post job openings, but charging companies for that service is how Carlson and her team hope to make money in the future.
Early users of the tool say they're impressed. Dan Schawbel, a personal branding and social media specialist, says he likes the service because it helps users "make sense" of their network. Although Facebook focuses on our personal lives, In The Door shows us how those connections can be professional, too, he says.
That's what drew Shawn Griffiths, a 29-year-old communications professional, to the tool. Griffiths works in marketing for the Canadian government's Mortgage and Housing Corporation, but he's looking for a new position that will allow him to use more of his digital skills. (His boss knows he's job-hunting.) Since In The Door launched its beta site in mid-March, Griffiths has used it to look for opportunities at companies where his friends work or have worked.
"I can definitely see it catching on," says Griffiths, who lives in Toronto. "Something fresh like In The Door may be able to bridge the gap between professional and personal."
But Griffiths believes In The Door's strength may also be its weakness. Many Facebook users want to keep their interactions on the site personal, he says, which could hurt a career-oriented tool in the long run.
The site also allows users to search for jobs in their network by city. If you're interested in a position, clicking on your friend's photo will bring up a Facebook message that asks for a recommendation and includes the link to the job opening. And unlike many Facebook applications, In the Door does not ask for that pesky permission to post to your wall. Unless you use the messaging feature, your friends won't know you're browsing jobs, which works in your favor if you're job-hunting on the sly.
Many of those who have signed on so far have jobs, Carlson says, which shows that even employed twenty-somethings may be open to new opportunities.
A 2008 college graduate, Carlson worked as a management consultant until she was laid off in early 2010, a casualty of the recession. While looking for a new job, she learned one of her friends landed a position at Google, in part because he knew someone who worked there. That prompted her to develop In The Door, and she abandoned her job search to build the product. Carlson borrowed money from her sisters to fund the project and now works with two full-time developers.