Meeting new colleagues and getting referrals has never been easier thanks to some new Web sites that allow you to network virtually, on the Internet.
A networking Web site works like this:
1. You register and setup your personal page.
2. Invite your friends/colleagues to join.
3. Get connected to their friends and friends of those friends.
4. Use those connections to find work at companies that interest you
Since offline networking is very time consuming, sites such as Linkedin.com and Ryze.com are helping job seekers extend their contact lists quickly and easily. They've kind of become the dating sites of the business world. They offer job seekers a fabulous opportunity to expand their network.
Some sites allow you to contact only those in your network, while others let you search the entire database by company, location, college, etc.
At Ryze.com for example, 29-year-old Dave Donnelly of San Diego, California joined the site after several months of fruitless job searching. He searched the site for people working at nearby companies he was targeting in his search. After sending out several introductory e-mails, he got a response from a man working at WebEx, a local conferencing software company. That man passed his résumé on to human resources, and two weeks later Dave was hired.
With that one instant stamp of approval from an employee of the company, Dave had moved to the head of the line. The man who referred him got a $1500 referral fee from the company. It was a perfect match.
Many hiring managers have taken notice of this recent trend and begun actively recruiting on networking sites. For them, it's a matter of finding quality applicants while avoiding the randomness of other recruiting methods.
Even Monster.com, the popular online job board is getting in to the act. They just launched their own new service called "Monster Networking."
Here is a list of business networking sites;
Affinity Engines, Appiir*, Business Parc, BusinessPartnerships.ca*, Contact Network, Doostang*, ecademy, eConozco, Eliyon, EntreMate, eXtremeNetworking.biz*, Friendly Favors, GoingProfessional, Growth Company, I'm Not From Here, InterAction, ITmob, ItsNotWhatYouKnow, Join Network PLUS, LLC, Kickstart-Connect*, Konnects, LinkedIn, Link Silicon Valley, matcheroo, Mediabistro, Monster Networking, NetMiner, Netmodular Community, Networking For Professionals, Online Business Networking Resource, Open Business Club (openBC), OrderGenerator, PeopleThatClick*, Point Relevance, Polypol, PowerMingle, RealContacts, ReferNet, Reunion, Ryze, SelectMinds, Senior Management Network*, Shortcut, Silicon Valley Pipeline, Spoke Software, Sullivan Executive Networking Community, Tacit - ActiveNet, TENG, Viaduc*, Visible Path, WisdomBuilder, Zerendipity Networks, Zerodegrees.