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  3. Do you know these 12 professional social network alternatives for LinkedIn?
Do you know these professional social network alternatives for LinkedIn

Do you know these 12 professional social network alternatives for LinkedIn?

Artwork by: Aleksandra Zabnina

  • Personal social networking vs. business social networking
  • What is a professional social network?
  • What is social networking?
  • Examples of professional social networks
  • (Formerly AngelList Talent)
  • Communities
  • Explore the professional social network sites to compare
  • Key takeaways

Check out these professional social networking alternatives to LinkedIn that can help expand your career and business contacts, grow your email list, and gain wider exposure for your brand.

The social network primarily used for professional networking and job searching is LinkedIn. It was launched almost 20 years ago and remains the largest online social network, with over 849 million users globally. While it’s the most-known and regularly used site, there are alternative professional social networks other than LinkedIn.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss several social networks we think are beneficial for connecting to others for professional and business reasons.

  • What is a professional social network?

  • What is social networking?

  • Examples of professional networks

  • Explore the sites to compare  

  • Key takeaways

Personal social networking vs. business social networking

First of all, let’s define the difference between a professional social network and social networking in general.

What is a professional social network?

A professional social network is primarily business-related to help grow one’s career. A professional social network provides the ability to search for jobs and create a professional presence online, usually showcasing a resume. It allows connecting with people and businesses directly online. 

What is social networking?

Social networking–using established platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest–are methods of connecting to others to build community. Additionally, they also became known as ways to foster commerce activity (selling, branding, influencing) to consumers. 

While one can use these platforms interchangeably to talk with others on various topics, including business-related career activity, they were not originally designed with that purpose in mind. They were created simply to connect people, family, and friends online to one another. Some were more focused on using images as a primary way of connecting. 

Examples of professional social networks

So let’s look at the other professional social networking sites that primarily focus on helping you connect online for career-related reasons. 

Connecting to others via a professional social network online has pros and cons. Note that a “con” is not necessarily a bad thing. It might mean there is more cost to unlock useful features. We give you some quick comparison tips on each network to help you decide whether to sign up or not. 


Meetup

Founded in 2002, this social network was originally created to connect people after the 911 attacks. From there, it grew to create groups of people focusing on specific topics of interest. 

Eventually, politicians started using it for political campaign outreach. It continued to grow to over 50 million users in 2022. Meetups start out online and end up meeting people in person. In the career and business category on Meetup, you can learn about business seminars and register to attend in person while also growing your network of business contacts.

Pros

Cons

Easy to use, free to sign up

$35/month to upgrade

Has a mobile app


Upgrade to pro


Can easily start a new group



LinkedIn

We mentioned LinkedIn in the introduction as the world’s largest professional social network. However, let’s list some other details about it for comparison. 

Founded in 2002 but launched in 2003, it was designed for professionals to connect globally, find jobs, and share interests. The LinkedIn learning blog has a wide variety of topics for career development. LinkedIn is always adding new features focused on the business professional. It’s marketed as the number one place to be online as a professional.

Pros

Cons

Easy to use, free to sign up

$ 29.99 monthly for premium upgrade

Has a mobile app

Provide proof to start a group

Has an endorsement feature

No one-click intro


MyOpportunity

Launched in 2014, it now has over 5 million users. It was designed specifically as a professional networking platform to create business relationships through shared interests, and you can also search for further career opportunities through job listings. 

It uses an advanced lead algorithm to help a user connect in real-time with potential job opportunities. 

Pros

Cons

Free to sign up

$29 monthly to upgrade

Unlimited messaging

To use best features requires upgrading

Integrates with LinkedIn


Has a mobile app



XING

Founded in Hamburg, Germany, in 2003, this business social networking site primarily focused on a German-speaking market and had been dubbed the German LinkedIn. It is now operated by New Work SE after acquiring six additional brands and has 21 million users globally in several different languages. 

New Work SE focuses on “the future of work,” especially as the pandemic altered companies' working structures worldwide. You can create a personal profile page and a separate business page to promote your brand and connect your personal business interests.

Pros

Cons

Free to sign up

$7.28 USD monthly for premium upgrade


Sumry

Create a timeline resume package that’s uniquely different from the standard resume format used on LinkedIn. Your professional online presence is enhanced and easy to set up. It can be used instead of a portfolio builder. 

Note: It is not a professional social networking site. We mention it as a possible use for your overall career-building activity.

Pros

Cons

Free to sign up for a 7-day trial

Once the trial ends, it’s $79 per year

Automated story-teller software helps you create a unique resume

Only offers resume building


Does not offer job search list or career development blog


Ryze

Ryze is a business networking site founded in 2001 by a technology entrepreneur who wanted a way to keep all his friends and business contacts together online across various time zones and geographical distances. It quickly grew to half a million users in 200 countries. 

It was named “Ryze” to help people “rise up” through quality networking.

Pros

Cons

Free to sign up

No mobile app


Fewer users


Website seems outdated


Gadball

Founded in 2008, Gadball was created to “develop and enhance your career” by creating an online profile on their website to interact with others on shared interests. 

Gadball partnered with the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) to help you find your job description from over 4,000 entries making it easy to develop your online resume from preformatted job titles. Gadball states it has over 200,000 jobs listed in its database. 

Pros

Cons

Free to sign up

Outdated website

One-click job apply

Slow site

Integrates with Facebook and Twitter


Includes a recommendation feature



Wellfound (Formerly AngelList Talent)

Established in 2010 primarily for start-up companies, Wellfound focuses on being a professional social network connecting investors, job seekers, and entrepreneurs. It has two million candidates registered. 

It offers resources for finding information related to the start-up culture and community. Currently, it has 130,000 start-up-related jobs listed. The sister company of Wellfound provides a list of start-up ventures for investors. 

Pros

Cons

Free for candidates to sign up

Costs $249 per month for recruiters to sign up


Primarily tech jobs listed


Bark

Launched in 2014, Bark was created by a pair of entrepreneurs with a vision to make finding professionals for a service job easier. Bark has over five million customers in eight countries. 

Bark touts itself as the “Amazon of services” in terms of connecting businesses to customers (B2C), providing leads for your specified business type. You connect to determine if the lead is a good fit. 

Pros

Cons

Free to sign up as a job seeker

Can’t vet the leads until after payment

Business leads sent automatically

Small fee for business sign-up

Pay only for contacting leads



Jobcase

With 130+ million registered users, this is a business social network with career services to find jobs, share advice, and help one another to “navigate the work landscape together.” 

It offers three key areas: tools, community, and advocacy. Tools to build an online profile with a resume, community to connect with others and share experiences, and advocacy to promote American worker voices in the sphere of business and technology practices.

Pros

Cons

Free to sign up

Charges for employers


Lunchmeet

Lunchmeet is an app designed for professional networking. You sign up using your LinkedIn account and set up your location and available dates for one-on-one lunch (or coffee). It’s a way to quickly meet up in-person instead of first joining an online group and then meeting with a whole group instead of one person.

Pros

Cons

Free to use on your iPhone

Only available for iOS, no Android


Facebook Groups

Earlier, we mentioned that Facebook is primarily a social networking platform to connect online with friends and family. However, with the increased growth of remote working and online course learning, Facebook has become a “go-to” place to create a free private group. 

The business topics are endless. Often the topic is centered around an e-learning course set up by an entrepreneur. The private group gives members a way to discuss the course and receive professional guidance. It’s a great way to network with like-minded people in the same field as you.

Pros

Cons

Free, can use existing personal Facebook account

Distracting in terms of your personal feed coming through showing photographs, etc.

Private



Slack Communities

Many companies use Slack as a method to congregate their team in one place online to communicate. Often preferred over email, chat rooms, groups, or telephone, it keeps everything in one place for group discussions related to work. You can join a slack community outside of your regular group if you want to network. Use Google to find a Slack group you’re interested in joining.

Pros

Cons

Free, has mobile app

Can be distracting

Explore the professional social network sites to compare

We hope you gained some new insights into other professional social networking sites to help you grow your career and work connections. 

Depending on your career and business aspirations, you may be able to sign up for free on all of these sites to do your own comparisons without having to upgrade. However, the upgrade features might be just the thing you are looking for to expand your professional social networking activities.

Key takeaways

  1. Expand your online business connections beyond using LinkedIn.

  2. Know the difference between personal social networking and professional social networking.

  3. Explore the ten different professional social networking sites we recommend.

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