For long, Facebook has been the place where you hung out with your friends. It was your insight to what your buddies were up to, what they thought and who they were dating. Many thought, it was a place which helped you keep up with their lives. Now though, with 750 million people on the platform and millions of brands, Facebook has morphed into a one stop solution for almost all your needs. Including your search for your next job.
One of the key reasons for the growth of the platform has been its adaptability of various applications designed for it. API developers have made almost everything from games, shopping malls to now jobs search application. BranchOut is the largest professional networking service on Facebook. On BranchOut, users leverage their Facebook friend network to find jobs, source sales leads, recruit talent, and foster relationships with professional contacts. BranchOut also operates the largest job board on Facebook with over 3 million jobs and over 20,000 internships.
BranchOut is a free application for anyone interested in professional success. All BranchOut users create a professional profile that includes their work history and education. Personal information, like photo albums and status updates, are not included in BranchOut profiles. BranchOut also offers endorsements and career badges, which friends and colleagues give to one another as a way to acknowledge skills and accomplishments.
At the core of the BranchOut user experience is the ability to find connections through one’s extended friend network. For example, when you search for a company on BranchOut, you gain visibility to a list of friends and friends-of-friends who work at that company. These inside connections can be used to increase access to new jobs, sales leads, and recruiting talent. On BranchOut job seekers search for employment opportunities and are found by recruiters.
BranchOut’s enterprise products help recruiters and hiring managers to source talent more effectively. BranchOut offers premium job posts that are easily shared on Facebook and Twitter. BranchOut job post also display inside connections at the target company. BranchOut also offers a product called Jobs Tab that facilitates the transfer of job postings from a company’s website to its company Facebook Page.
A Different Leaf
BranchOut works much like LinkedIn — users can post work histories, they can connect to other users on a professional basis, and they can search for friends and friends-of-friends working at specific companies. But there’s one major difference. BranchOut is built on top of Facebook, and CEO Rick Marini believes that is what will give it both the scale and virality needed to become tops in the online career networking business based on the 750 million people on Facebook.
Add to that the number of hours people spend on Facebook, and it seems like a natural place to capture their attention. And then there’s the fact that Facebook is increasingly becoming the connection medium of choice for younger people, so much so than some aren’t even bothering to create LinkedIn profiles. For such users, an app like BranchOut will seem like a natural next step, once they get ready to enter the working world.
Sowing the Seeds
BranchOut has done a great job making registration easy. You connect with Facebook. They ask for a little bit of additional information and that’s it, you are up and going. They’ve also done a nice job of importing LinkedIn background information. It brings in Work History and Education. It allows you to easily edit items. You are up and going in just a few clicks. Of course, there’s a lot more on any kind of application like this to really get things setup, but BranchOut has done a good job making that happen incrementally.
Watering your network
It is interesting that when you look at the home page interface, most of the interface is really about social interaction. Everything on the left side below your picture is an opportunity to build your network. The right column also contains opportunities to expand your network. It contains jobs and companies as well as chance to increase social interaction.
Endorsements do what referrals did in real world. It helps in building the credibility of your profile. BranchOut uses the profile completion to get you to do your first endorsement, so it’s more natural to do them in the future. They have the following information on your home page about what’s happening with endorsements to get you into it more often.
Badges are another innovation meant purely for college kids who wish to use the application for job search. It is a fun way of appreciating someone at their work.
Although, Google Plus is the fastest growing platform as of today, Branch Out has seen a rapid growth in the first half of 2011. It has seen explosive growth in January growing from 10K to 250K monthly users, with a total usership now in the hundreds of thousands.
One major reason for such rapid growth is hat BranchOut takes advantage of the inherent social structure of Facebook to make career networking on the platform both a utility and fun, incorporating elements like gamification, career quizzes and contests like The Ultimate Internship Contest in order to appeal to a younger “more tech savvy” crowd. After all those college kids posting photos of one party after the other now will be looking for a job someday.