Finding your ideal career can feel daunting, but it doesn't have to be. With more advanced media sites, it's easier than ever to connect with potential employers and companies that match your talents. With the level of competition for employment, it helps to know someone on the inside and can help you get your foot in the door.
Sites like LinkedIn are key to finding a position on the field of your liking, and there are more than you realize. Here are seven alternative networking sites and apps you can use as part of your search.
Working out is the new happy hour, and it's making its way into the business world, connecting clients and colleagues alike. Atleto, a social sports network, matches users with similar active/sports interests, skill levels and locations in order to create a healthy and productive atmosphere of business professionals.
Atleto says it promotes wellness among colleagues and employees of other businesses in the area. Stepping out for a quick tennis match or spinning class can boost workers' moods and connections with each other. The platform can also be used in-office for co-workers to destress as a team during lunch break or whenever else needed.
Beyond.com calls itself "The Career Network," and it's easy to see why: Since 1998, this site has helped connect millions of job seekers with companies that are looking for candidates with their expertise and skills. The company offers job seekers access to its network of more than 500 industry-organized talent communities across the country so they can pinpoint an open position in the exact field and location they want.
In addition to listing career opportunities, Beyond.com provides members with original curated career content, so users can find the advice and resources that are most relevant to them. [See Related Story: Everything You Need to Know About Job Searching in the Digital Age]
Jobcase gives job seekers the opportunity to create a comprehensive profile to show off their most important and relevant information for recruiters. In addition to work experience and education, you can also list a personal summary, your work preferences (i.e., willingness to relocate, preferred job location, salary range), personal traits, volunteer work and other career-appropriate information.
While LinkedIn allows some of these more nuanced information categories, the advantage of Jobcase is that it powers more than 100 existing job-listing websites. This means that users have access to a wider range of employers and opportunities associated with those sites. CEO Frederick Goff explained that Jobcase's goal is to put the company's data analytics experience to work and create a community-oriented, all-in-one platform for all things job- related.
With an endless list of personal and professional responsibilities, you don't always have time to attend networking events — instead, you can use LetsLunch to find interesting professionals to meet with over coffee, lunch or drinks, on your schedule.
According to the site, the LetsLunch app is your personal assistant which lines up your lunch and coffee slots with people you should know. You may be looking to meet someone from a company you want to work for or a contact within a particular industry. Additionally, all of your meetings can be found on one dashboard, so there is no more going-back-and-forth between calendar apps, LinkedIn, Facebook, SMS, and email to confirm your appointment.
In need of a deeper pool of connections? Opportunity matches you with sales leads, like-minded professionals, employment opportunities and possible partnerships. Anyone can use the free application, from job seekers to hiring managers.
Opportunity finds millions of new leads each month, sharing them with individuals who match the particular skills, interests and experience. There is a mobile app available to users, and it sends you alerts when an opportunity arises nearby. According to the website, the company has discovered 380 million opportunities, referred and connected 50 million professionals in more than 190 countries.
You've likely heard of Tinder, the popular dating app that pairs you with individuals in your area for romantic connections. Shapr is essentially the same concept, only for networking purposes.
The app allows you to create a profile where you can list your bio, work history, industry and education in order to personalize your interactions. Then, based on your interests and experience, the app will provide you with similar people to connect with nearby. You can swipe, much like on Tinder, to either "pass" or "meet," and strike up a meaningful conversation with a user like you. It's the perfect way to form professional relationships.
Similar to Shapr, Valor Connect is a casual way to meet like-minded professionals in your area. The app serves many purposes, from connecting students and mentors to introducing entrepreneurs to potential partners. However, it primarily focuses on college students searching for post-grad careers and is also perfect for event planners who need to contact attendees before, during or after an occassion.
Set up like a dating app, Valor Connect is a precursor to LinkedIn. Essentially, you meet people through the app, then chat over the phone or in person, and then finally connect on LinkedIn.
Additional reporting by Nicole Taylor.