While LinkedIn Groups still get the most attention for online, professional networking, there is a breaking revolution away from the social media giant to alternatives to LinkedIn that:
- People visit more often.
- Offer a better user experience (UX).
- Provide more tailored resources.
You can now find networks full of the people you want to reach, connect with, learn from, hire, work for, etc. without ever logging into LinkedIn.
Professional Networking on Facebook
As an example, I visit Facebook almost daily to keep up with friends, family, and, increasingly, my professional networks. I belong to three private groups, one for resume writers, one for recruiters, and one for LinkedIn geeks.
I also sponsor a group for job seekers and career experts here.
Because I’m already on Facebook, I can easily see the traffic through these groups and join in. Members feel free to post their challenges, ask for help, share opinions and advice, engage in give and take, etc.
The group owners set and enforce the rules. However, unlike many LinkedIn groups, the group members don’t seem to need much, if any, policing.
For the few minutes I invest in these groups each day, I get an enormous return in connection, learning, and new business. They’re 100% viable alternatives to LinkedIn groups.
Network Where the People Are
In a corollary to the rule that banks get robbed because that’s where the money is, I’m finding that my favorite groups happen where the people are. A recent Pew Research study found:
- 68% of U.S. adults use Facebook.
- 25% of U.S. adults use LinkedIn.
Thus, Facebook is where the people are.
I’m finding my best professional networking experiences on platforms:
- Where people spend time.
- That have clean user experiences.
If you want to get the most from a group, think about the membership, size, and ease of use.
Professional Niche Networks — LinkedIn Alternatives
Beyond groups, it’s good for career-minded people to know that while LinkedIn is the big dog professional network, many “me too” networks that focus on specific professions and industries have developed. For example:
- Stack Overflow is a classic. Programmers use the site to ask questions, share information, display their talent, meet people from other companies, etc.
- Doximity claims to have attracted over 60% of U.S. doctors to their network for healthcare professionals.
- researchgate.net — A community for research scientists to build their reputations and make their research more visible.
- In the House — A community for in-house counsels.
- Cheeky Scientist — A site for postdocs building careers in industry.
- govloop.com – Called the “Facebook for Feds” because it is the largest, digital federal employee network.
- 2degreesnetwork.com – A community for sustainability professionals.
How To Find the Best Alternatives to LinkedIn Groups
To find the best groups and networks for you:
- Ask co-workers and recruiters for ideas about the platforms they find most useful.
- Watch to see which Facebook groups colleagues join.
- Ask a question about the best groups/networks for you on Quora.
When you join a new group, lurk until you understand the group’s culture, then start participating. You will likely find your involvement to be some of the most productive minutes of your day.
Let’s Connect on LinkedIn
Please don’t hesitate to invite me to connect on LinkedIn here: Donna Svei, Executive Resume Writer. The more I know about my readers, the better I can make my blog.
Updated October 2019
© 2015 – 2019, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, writes all of AvidCareerist’s posts. She has written for and been quoted by leading business, general, and career media outlets, including Forbes, Mashable, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Lifehacker, Ask.com, Social Media Today, IT World, SmartBrief, Payscale, Business News Daily, and the Muse. Let her background and experience inform your job search strategy and decision making.