Facebook connects more than 500 million active users to friends and family all over the world, but with a new application called BranchOut users can expand their career networking through friends on Facebook.
BranchOut, founded in July 2010, combines information taken from Facebook and LinkedIn to create a professional profile where you can see the places your Facebook friends (or friends of friends) have worked, thus expanding your career network.
Robert Travers graduated from Quinnipiac in 2009 with a degree in entrepreneurship and small business management, and is now a Marketing Associate for BranchOut.
“Right now I’m focused on reaching out to career advisers and universities across the country, informing them about our service and why it’s powerful for students to be utilizing,” Travers said in an e-mail.
In doing so, Travers contacted Assistant Dean for Career Services Annalisa Zinn, who spread the word to all students in the College of Arts and Sciences and other career services deans.
“It has been said that only 10 percent of available jobs are posted on online job sites like CareerBuilder, Monster and Indeed,” Zinn said. “Networking is critical for not only finding the other jobs, but also for having the opportunity to demonstrate your worth to an employer.”
Travers noted that BranchOut differs from LinkedIn in a few ways.
“Rather than reconnecting with your network on a different site, BranchOut allows you to tap into the connections you already have established on Facebook,” Travers said.
There are currently more than three million jobs and 15,000 internships within BranchOut.
“This allows users to search open jobs and easily realize any connections they have to that job, through their friends or friends of friends’ network,” Travers said. “As your BranchOut network grows, you increase your reach to thousands of companies.”
In January, BranchOut grew by 2,500 percent from 10,000 to 250,000 monthly active users, according to Travers.
“Based on news articles, research from professional associations, and conversations with employers, it seems that social media is increasingly becoming an important tool in identifying and recruiting talent, in addition to spreading the word about job and internship openings,” Zinn said.
Manager of Reader Engagement at Main Street Connect Andrew Vazzano agrees. Main Street Connect is a national community news company.
“It’s a good tool because the more places you can see jobs, and more jobs that can see you, is always a good thing, especially in this slim job market,” he said. “The more job tools, the better.”
Working through Facebook and Twitter to update readers with content, Vazzano said these new tools are hot topics in the hiring hunt.
Senior Lauren Wank thinks BranchOut is the perfect application, especially for college students.
“I like how the app connects me with my friends on Facebook and shows me if they ever worked or had an internship at that company,” she said. “It’s great for making connections.”
Travers notes that 80 percent of new jobs come from friend referrals and networking. He advises that with the tough job market, it is important to set yourself apart from the crowd.
“It’s who you know that will get you there and it’s what you know that will keep you there,” he said.