Facebook recently expanded to include people outside of the college ecosystem. Now everybody can sign up. This is a good thing for their company. After all, why throw out dedicated customers just because they now have real jobs?
Even though Facebook will allow me to be a member when I graduate from my university (In 3 months!), I do not feel that it is orientated for a professional network. I am sure that one day this will change, but it currently feels like a big party for freshmen college students.
If you wanted to make contacts to get hired in the career of your choice, Facebook would probably not be your first choice, but LinkedIn might.
The Social Networking site is designed with professionalism in mind. Of course that means they don’t have the option to “Poke” your friends, and you don’t have the option to join clubs with names like “If this group grows to 1 Million Members I will move to Uzbekistan.” Instead, it emphasizes work history, and recommendations from people that know you. It is really like a dynamic resume.
One of the major uses of the network is the fact that you can see who your friends know and can request an introduction. This is perhaps one of the best ways to get hired (other than knowing the person yourself).
LinkedIn allows you to search by company name and see if there are any connections between yourself, your friends, and the people who can hire you. It is a unique and excellent idea.
They also have some great tools (much better than AOL’s Plaxo Service) that allow your contacts to stay up to date. There is an Outlook plugin just for this. There are also plugins for Internet Explorer, Firefox, and even for Mac Widgets. I have tested the Firefox plugin and outlook plugin and I am impressed.
Anyway, be sure to check them out and add me to your network when you do!