YOU’VE seen the BranchOut notifications pouring in on Facebook. But will the new professional networking app help you get jobs, or overtake LinkedIn? Sarah Lim explores.
BranchOut is a professional networking application designed specifically for Facebook. Launched in July 2010, it’s a widget that was developed to assist Facebook users in sourcing corporate connections.
BranchOut has become the largest professional networking platform on Facebook, is actively used in more than 60 countries, and is available in 15 languages. According to Infoloaded, there are, as of March 2012, more than 10 million active users on BranchOut with more than 400 million professional profiles. The application also lists more than 3 million job vacancies and 20,000 internship positions.
BranchOut thrives on Facebook because it allows the sheer volume of the social networking site’s registered users to easily sign on to the application, and also because it then automatically links their work and education history to their BranchOut profile, making it convenient to connect to and search for jobs through existing friends on the social network.
You can see a video introducing how it works below:
Chris Merritt, general manager of enterprise for BranchOut, says Facebook is the new frontier for recruiting online.
There’s also a mobile version of the application, launched in October 2011, so Facebook’s 350 million mobile users can use it on-the-go.
“BranchOut mobile makes our suite of recruiting solutions even more effective,” Mr Merritt says.
But while there has been a steady increase in sign ups, the number of people actually actively using the application may be significantly lesser.
All of whom Meld spoke to say they were infrequent users of the Facebook professional networking app.
Kareen Khoo, a manager in research and statistics, says she only registered because her colleagues “added” her there.
“I actually think that LinkedIn is more popular because I have more contacts there,” she says.
Law and marketing student Jalene Cheah echoed similar sentiments.
“I registered for BranchOut because it seemed really popular at one stage and I thought that networking on it would be really easy. But I’ve stopped using it because I realised that sending notifications to friends in order to connect with each other is a really annoying process,” she says.
It was a similar story for PhD student Mulyadi Robin.
“I don’t use it much – I clicked yes to be part of it so that the notifications from my friends would stop coming. I find LinkedIn more useful,” he says.
Despite the negative responses, BranchOut is still gaining widespread attention because BranchOut users who have signed up can grow their networks by notifying their Facebook friends en masse. It may be a matter of time before this fast-growing application garners a more loyal and active user-base, and gives its more established rival, LinkedIn, a run for its money.
Do you use BranchOut? Have you landed a job using the Facebook app? How does it compare with LinkedIn? Share your experiences in the comments section below.