How to efficiently use professional networking sites?

LinkedIn, Viadeo and Xing are nowadays the three most powerful online career tools. Using them will soon become indispensable for those who want to cultivate a career.


To the ones who still don’t know what these sites are, here is a quick catch-up. LinkedIn, Viadeo and Xing are social networking websites for people in professional occupations.

After creating your profile, which is basically an online version of your CV, you will be able to start connecting with people. You can connect with people within your personal and professional circles but also with persons you don’t know but that you think might help you to advance your career. The concept is all about networking. Being in contact with a friend of your colleagues can give you the opportunity to know about an open role you would love to apply to. You can interact in groups to talk about topics related to your job or your hobbies, check job offers and follow companies you like.

The main advantage is that you can be on these websites even if you are not actively looking for a job but just waiting for the right opportunity to make your move.

LinkedIn –

With more than 150 million members around the world, LinkedIn is by far the most famous one. About half of the members are in the United States and 11 million are from Europe. LinkedIn is the most advanced networking website with great social community features and many applications to choose from.

Viadeo –

With more than 45 million members, Viadeo gets second place on the podium. Viadeo is mainly used in France, Luxembourg and Switzerland in Europe but it is growing fast and should quickly gain notoriety in the other European countries.

Xing –

Xing is widely used as a business network in German-speaking countries. The Social network counts for more than 10 million members around the World and is in a strong position in a couple of markets other than Germany, notably Spain and Turkey.

Our advice:

  • Make sure your profile is up to date and detailed enough

Even if you are not looking for your next career move, we encourage you to keep your profile up to date with your current position and a brief description of what you do. You never know what might come up and it would be a shame missing a great opportunity just because your online resume doesn’t mention your latest work experiences.

For each position you’ve held, explain what the tasks you had to handle were and what you achieved. Recruiters need to understand what you did in order to determine your profile and see if you could be a fit for the role they are recruiting for.

All the details that could be a plus in your CV need to be mentioned. This can be a thesis you wrote, a class you attended, the languages you speak, award you won etc. You need to see these networking websites as a tool to sell yourself to potential employers. Go straight to the point and be relevant.

  • Join and participate in groups

Joining groups whose topics are related to your job or your interests is the best way to connect with people who could play a role in your career progression. You can share your thoughts, get and give advice and discuss work practices or hobbies with other professionals.

Participating in groups is a good way to get in contact with members who work in the same industry or in the same sector as you. Creating topics and engaging in discussions will show them your expertise and expand your network considerably.

  • Use applications

Applications are here to help you build up your address book and make your profile more comprehensive and attractive. Most of them take very little time to set up and can be very useful. Here  is our selection of the best LinkedIn applications.

  • Upload a picture of you

It is important to have a picture of you as it makes your profile more appealing and the contact more human. It also enables your connections to put a face to the name. First impressions matter so try to pick a headshot where you look both professional and relaxed.

  • Write an engaging summary

The summary is the first thing people see when they click on your profile. Don’t go into too much detail. Stay concise and pertinent. Introduce yourself, what your main qualities are, what you do at the moment and what you are looking for. The summary should describe yourself in less than 100 words and make people want to find out more about you.

  • Use keywords in your profile

When recruiters are looking for candidates, they use keywords to run their search. Think about the keywords that best describe what you do and use them in your profile. Be careful not to use too many as it will give the impression that you are not specialised enough in one area. You’re better to go for 5 to 7 keywords and mention them several times in your different work experiences.

  • Ask for recommendations

Recommendations will give more credibility to your profile. Whether it is a manager, a client or someone you had to work with, it enables your connections to know what others think about you. Some of you might feel uncomfortable asking for it; in that case, write recommendations for people you enjoyed collaborating with and they will probably reciprocate.


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