Facebook vs. LinkedIn: Which is better for business?

We test two top social networking sites with six business problems

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1. Look for a job without your boss knowing

You've just about had it. You work 10 hours a day, you make about two-thirds of what your best friend makes doing the same job at a different company, and you are close to murdering the client who can't grasp the difference between a browser and an operating system. It's time to find another gig, but although you know that networking around the Web is a good way to go, you don't want your boss (who is, unfortunately, not a total dweeb) to find out before you give notice.

Facebook

Ready to head for the door but don't want your boss to know you're eying the exit? Facebook makes it relatively easy to look for work. To be sure that your boss won't find out that you're looking, though, it's a good idea to create a new Facebook identity before going on your job hunt, and use that identity as you search.

Facebook's Marketplace helps you find work.

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After you do that, head to the Facebook Marketplace and click on Jobs. When I checked, there were 1,262 available, and believe it or not, many were real jobs, not work-at-home come-ons promising $4,000 a month for working in your pajamas. The more than two dozen Systems/Network/IT jobs, for example, appeared to be the real thing. And there were 80 Software/QA/DBA job postings, 71 Web development and design jobs, and various other ones, such as in customer support and sales.

Also worth trying is the Jobster Career Network Facebook app. It ties directly into the Jobster job-finding site. Tell it what kinds of jobs you're looking for, and it e-mails you about relevant ones. You can also browse through jobs via the app. The application also lists all of your friends by the company they work for, and lets you ask them questions about the company, either individually or en masse.

An important note: When you add this application, make sure to uncheck the boxes next to "Put a box in my profile," "Place a link in my left-hand navigation," "Publish stories in my News Feed and Mini-Feed" and "Place a link below the profile picture on any profile." That way, if your boss somehow manages to find your profile, he won't know you're hunting for a job. Preston Gralla

LinkedIn

LinkedIn features a formal job search area where you can search posted jobs by keywords, business sector, location — the usual parameters you can use on a job search site. The search results are sorted into two areas. One labeled Web just replicates the listings on SimplyHired.com. The one labeled LinkedIn Jobs represents the added value here: These are jobs posted by other LinkedIn members, with those posted by people in your network at the top of the list. Click on a listing title to get the full job description.

LinkedIn features a formal job search area.

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From the full listing, click the Apply Now button to bring up a form with a space for writing a cover letter and an option for uploading your resume. But since this is LinkedIn, you might as well take a more personal approach if you can. LinkedIn displays numbers next to members' names to tell you how closely you're connected to them — a "1" means they're a direct connection (basically, somebody you know), a "2" means one of your direct connections is also a direct connection of theirs and a "3" means you know somebody who knows somebody who knows them.

If the job poster is in your network at any degree of separation, you'll see a Request Referral button underneath the Apply Now button. Click that, and LinkedIn will bring up a list of your connections who are also connected to the job poster. (Of course, if the poster is a direct connection of yours, you can skip this whole step and just contact them yourself.) Choose one, and you'll get a contact form with an automatically generated message to the poster explaining that you've asked a connection to send him a recommendation, and a second message to your contact explaining that you're applying for a job and asking for a recommendation. You can add to or personalize either of the messages as you like.

Keep in mind that you don't necessarily know the intermediate people between your connection and the job poster. If you don't want your boss to find out you're looking, you need to use those messages to ask your connection and the job poster to keep your search confidential. It would be embarrassing if your referral ended up going through your boss without your knowing it! — Jake Widman

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