Developing Your Career

BranchOut: A LinkedIn Contender?

By Joan Andrews on September 25, 2012

Think about a company that grows from 400,000 users to 13 million in only five months. And then it soars to 30 million users in less than two years. Top that off with $49 million coming in from investors.

Does that sound like a company you want to be a part of? Well, you already may be one in 30 million if you’ve joined BranchOut. The app, which touts itself as the ‘No. 1 professional network on Facebook,’ was founded in July, 2010. Its ultimate goal is to take over LinkedIn’s lauded spot as the top professional network.

If you accepted an invitation from a friend to be on their BranchOut network, then you’re now a part of BranchOut, which has certainly capitalized on being on the Facebook platform. With a single click of a button, you can automatically send invitations to all of your colleagues and friends on Facebook to become part of your network. You also can add BranchOut to your FB timeline.

However, while it shows signs of promise, don’t expect to be overwhelmed by its benefits right now. It is experiencing growing pains after the number of members exploded because of the FB connection – as well as various campaigns to drive membership. Even the CEO/founder admits that the product isn’t quite up to snuff.

“User growth just went through the roof, but we needed to balance to keep the product up to speed,” Rick Marini said to TechCrunch’s Colleen Taylor. “We had all hands on deck to keep the site up. We were growing 3-4 users per second with zero marketing – you can’t really expect to grow that fast.”

So now they’re working on it. Still, it has some features you may find useful in your job search.

Let’s say you have a BranchOut connection who works at a company that has openings. In some – but not all – cases, there is a listing of those jobs under your contact’s name, as well as links on how to apply for the position. It sounds great, but before you automatically click, apply and list your friend as a reference – check with them. They may not work there anymore and simply haven’t updated their profile. Remember: updating your FB profile will NOT transfer over to BO.

Also check out the job board on Branchout, which automatically lists jobs for you in your area. You then can adjust search parameters by area, industry and more. Many of these jobs come from Indeed.com so the databank is in the thousands.

Recruiters may discover that BranchOut, which also has entered the world of ‘Business Solutions’, is a good tool for them, too. BranchOut offers Social JobBoard, CareerConnect and RecruiterConnect to suit recruiter and sales needs.

You can access BranchOut on the left-hand navigation panel of your FB homepage or go to Branchout.com to get the app.

Just don’t neglect your LinkedIn account in favor the upstart BranchOut. Recruiters and hiring managers are definitely looking at your LinkedIn profile and probably even your Facebook account. But they may not be going that extra click to see your BranchOut account – at least, not yet.

So before you focus too much energy and valuable job search time on building that BranchOut network, let the site prove itself by doing more than just attracting new members.

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