Announcing the Launch of inCircle Jobs

January 3, 2011 by

In our continuing effort to connect job seekers with inside connections at the places they want to work, we are pleased to announce the launch of a new service, inCircle Jobs.

With this new product, we are exploring new ways to connect job seekers with “weak ties”. First, a brief overview of “weak ties” and the value of “inside connections”. It’s commonly accepted that the best way to find a job is through someone you know, we refer to these folks as “inside connections”. With high unemployment and employers inundated with too many resumes, an inside connection passing your resume along to a hiring manager can make all the difference.

The concept of “weak ties” dates back to a study by Mark Granovetter in 1973. Without getting too bogged down in the academics, Granovetter uncovered that most people that found their job through an inside connection were referred by people they only saw occasionally or rarely, leading him to coin the phrase “the strength of weak ties”.

With inCircle Jobs, our goal is to make it as easy as possible for your friends to introduce you to the other people in their network who may be able to help you find a job. Because there’s overlap in your networks, your closest friends may not have access to opportunities that you don’t already have direct access to yourself. However, their friends often extend your network and open up a world of opportunities you may not realize you have access to.

On inCircle Jobs, job seekers fill out profiles indicating what types of jobs are of interest. They share their profiles with friends, who will see exactly which of their own friends can help the seeker land a job. For example, if John is looking for an engineering job, John can ask Sally to view his profile. When Sally views John’s profile, she can easily see that her friend Tom works at a company that is hiring engineers. Sally can then offer to introduce John to Tom, giving John direct access to an inside connection, Tom.

For now, inCircle Jobs requires a Facebook account to determine who your connections are. In the future, we are planning to add support for other networks. Also, for Associations, who are wondering how this might benefit them, we are looking at how we can leverage “weak ties” in the context of an alumni community. We’ll be looking for Associations to participate in a pilot soon.

In the meantime, try it out at http://www.incirclejobs.com/.

Welcome, Louisiana State Bar Association!

December 15, 2009 by

Affinity Circles is proud to announce the addition of the Louisiana State Bar Association to the inCircle team!

“The mission of the Louisiana State Bar Association is to assist and serve its members in the practice of law, assure access to and aid in the administration of justice, assist the Supreme Court in the regulation of the practice of law, uphold the honor of the courts and the profession, promote the professional competence of attorneys, increase public understanding of and respect for the law, and encourage collegiality among its members.”

ACI attends Social Media Panel at Santa Clara University

November 6, 2009 by

This past Wednesday I ventured out to Santa Clara University to be on a social media panel discussing the use of social media for professional networking and job searching.  The panel featured myself, two representatives each from LinkedIn and Facebook, and two recruiters. We ended up speaking to an audience of almost exclusively alumni that proved to be very engaged and interested in learning how to take advantage of the social media tools available to them. Below are the questions that were posed to the panel and a quick summary of the responses given.

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What do you think are the best and worst things about using social media for a job search?

Some of the ‘best’ things mentioned by the panel included the vast array of options available, the ability for users to tailor their profiles to “brand” themselves as they’d like, and the ability to expand your network quickly. One point unique to inCircle is that members are able to connect directly with recruiting teams at the companies in the company directory (by expressing interest in a company), and can learn about potential career advancement opportunities as they appear.

Some of the “worst” things mentioned by the panel included the need to budget time well in the face of so many options, the fact that many people use poor ‘netiquette’ when career-networking online, and the fact that some people are still uncomfortable revealing profile information online and may instead still prefer face-to-face networking.

Please provide one tip on how to best use your application.

The common theme among responses was to keep your profile up-to-date, and to also be proactive about networking. On inCircle, keeping your profile up-to-date ensures that you will receive only the most relevant announcements from potential employers and other community members. Be sure to especially keep your work history updated, and to upload a current resume as well that accurately reflects your background and accomplishments.

Please tell us what to avoid. What are the pitfalls of using social media for professional networking or a job search?

The common theme among responses was to be careful about what you are posting online. As one panelist said, “if you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see it, chances are you wouldn’t want a recruiter to see it either.” Particularly relevant to inCircle was a point made that when reaching out to a new contact for advice or help, it is important to have done your homework and have a direction that you want to go. Instead of saying, “Hello, can you help me find a job?” it is much better to say “Hello, I’m interested in biotech, have extensive experience in _____, saw that you worked at _____ and was hoping to ask you a couple quick questions about _____,” for example.

As a wrap-up, what one piece of advice would you give our audience?

Nearly every panelist had the same piece of advice: don’t wait until you are unemployed to start networking! It’s critical to continue building out your network of professional contacts even when you are happily employed. After all, especially in today’s environment, you never know when those connections may come in handy.
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After a brief Q&A session, I had a chance to mingle and chat with some Santa Clara alums who had used inCircle as well as some who had not yet but were very excited about registering for the community. I spoke with one alum in particular who graduated 25 years ago and said that she loved inCircle and was actively using it to network and search out new career opportunities in e-commerce.

All in all the event was a great success, and it was a lot of fun to speak with some of our members face-to-face. A big thank-you goes out to the folks at Santa Clara’s career services center for organizing everything. Hopefully we’ll have more opportunities like this in the future!

New inCircle Recruiting clients for October!

November 3, 2009 by

Affinity Circles is pleased to announce the addition of the following companies to the inCircle Employer network in October, 2009:

American Electric Power
Boehringer Ingelheim
Dell, Inc.
GE Consumer/Industrial
GE Energy
Navsea
Progress Software

Members of inCircle communities can now easily connect with these companies and learn more about any relevant career opportunities that may be a good fit.

Stay tuned to the Affinity Circles blog for more exciting inCircle and inCircle Recruiting news in the coming months!

New inCircle Recruiting clients in Q3

October 19, 2009 by

Affinity Circles is thrilled to announce that the following employers have joined the inCircle Recruiting network in Q3:

Aspen Dental
Blackstone Discovery
Brookdale Senior Living
Chevron
Children’s Hospital Boston
Dell, Inc.
Deere & Company
EMC
Forsythe
Infineon
MITRE
Motorola
Orbital Sciences Corporation
Polycom
The Regence Group
Risk Management Solutions
United Service Organization
US Postal Service
ViaSat

Members of inCircle communities can now easily connect with these companies and learn more about any relevant career opportunities that may be a good fit.

We are looking forward to bringing many more employers into the fold in the coming months spanning every region of the country and every industry. With career-networking being as important now as ever, we are working hard to make inCircle a source of valuable opportunities – a place where members can get connected, and get ahead.

Stay tuned to the Affinity Circles blog for more exciting inCircle and inCircle Recruiting news as it develops!

Welcome Westminster College and Career Education Corporation!

September 30, 2009 by

Affinity Circles is pleased to announce the addition of Westminster College and Career Education Corporation to the inCircle team!

Westminster College

Westminster College has played a pivotal role in the educational heritage of the intermountain area. Founded in 1875 as the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute, a preparatory school, Westminster first offered college classes in 1897 as Sheldon Jackson College. Named in honor of its primary benefactor, Sheldon Jackson, the college operated for many years on the Collegiate Institute campus in downtown Salt Lake City.

In 1902, college trustees adopted the new name, Westminster. In 1935 Westminster modified its curriculum to qualify as a four-year junior college and in 1949 became a four-year liberal arts institution offering baccalaureate degrees in the arts and sciences.

Today Westminster exists as a fully independent, privately funded, nondenominational, comprehensive liberal arts institution of higher learning with selected graduate programs, meeting the West’s educational needs as it has since 1875.

Career Education Corporation

The colleges, schools, and universities that are part of the Career Education Corporation (CEC) family offer high quality education to a diverse population of approximately 90,000 students across the world in a variety of career-oriented disciplines. The more than 75 campuses that serve these students are located throughout the U.S. and in France, Italy, and the United Kingdom, and offer doctoral, master’s, bachelor’s, and associate degrees and diploma and certificate programs. Approximately one third of students attend the web-based virtual campuses of American InterContinental University Online and Colorado Technical University Online.

CEC is an industry leader whose gold-standard brands are recognized globally. Those brands include Le Cordon Bleu Schools North America; Harrington College of Design; Brooks Institute; International Academy of Design & Technology; American InterContinental University; Colorado Technical University and Sanford-Brown Institutes and Colleges. Through its schools, CEC is committed to providing quality education, enabling students to graduate and pursue rewarding careers.

Texas Bar Circle hits 10,000 user milestone

July 10, 2009 by

Today the Texas Bar announced that in May of 2009 their Texas Bar Circle community surpassed 10,000 registered users.

According to the Texas Bar’s article:

“The trend line of registrations for the first half of 2009 matches lawyer adoption of LinkedIn…”

Read more about the Texas Bar Circle’s exciting milestone here!

inCircle – A Great Place to Find a Job

July 6, 2009 by

In these tough economic times, inCircle members, both young and old, are very often turning to their fellow community members for help in career advancement. We at Affinity Circles are working hard to make inCircle a place where your members can go to learn about the latest career opportunities available to them.

The connections that your members have—whether they be with old friends from decades past, or new friends made through inCircle—are invaluable and often lead to opportunities that can’t be found or obtained anywhere else on the web. Our goal at Affinity Circles is to provide your members with a safe and secure environment in which to exchange these opportunities. Our data has shown that over the past several months, the most popular and sought after opportunities across all inCircle communities are job and career advancement opportunities.

Did you know that in 2009 thus far…

-          41% of all content created within inCircle communities has been job opportunities.

-          61% of people who have actively responded to inCircle content have responded or expressed interest in a job opportunity.

-          Nearly 370,000 inCircle members viewed job opportunities and postings within their communities.

There are multitudes of ways in which job opportunities can enter inCircle:

  • Through fellow members – Members can post jobs easily and free of charge to other members in one of two ways:
    • As a more traditional job posting, replete with a job description, company information, and a link to send in a resume.
    • As a targeted announcement that will appear on target users’ home pages and in email digests.
  • Through inCircle Jobs – Companies can, for a small fee, post individual job postings within your community that appear under the Careers tab. Interested members can send in their resumes.
  • Through a Company Profile – Affinity Circles has partnered with many top-tier, Fortune 1000 companies in an effort to connect your members with premier job opportunities. A member can express interest in any of these companies, after which the company can contact the member if his background is a good fit.

If you’re an inCircle administrator, we would encourage you to highlight inCircle’s robust career networking functionality to your members. Placing links to your inCircle community on your careers site or LinkedIn group, if you have them, would be a great place to start. If you work with companies that actively recruit your members, directing them to inCircle to post jobs would be a powerful way for them to draw attention to their postings.

- The Affinity Circles Team

First Week On the Job: An Intern’s Report

June 23, 2009 by

Starting a new job isn’t the easiest thing, particularly when you realize that years of lawn mowing and babysitting won’t necessarily transfer to the fast-paced world of an internet start-up. So I figured I could use a little advice before starting my summer tenure at Affinity Circles. With a little help from my friend Google, I got some pretty good tips on how to get the most out of my time at Affinity.

Monday, June 15. First day. Sales reps Mike Torres and Justin Brown show me the ropes, and I jump right in. Performance reviews, importing data, exporting data, creating user tutorials…it’s a whirlwind of Excel, PowerPoint, and Adobe Captivate. There’s a lot of work to do.

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Tuesday, June 23. Now, with a successful week under my belt here at AC HQ, I think it’s time to share some of the best advice I received:

Show up on time.

Remember people’s names.

Now this one was easy, especially when the weekly Team Meetings feature personal recaps from everyone on staff. Not only did this allow me to learn more about everyone’s specific responsibilities and specialties, but the welcoming applause I received on my first day certainly helped ease the transition. Sitting there at the table, only a day into my new position, I couldn’t help but smile as they clapped for me, thinking, “I could get used to this.”

Unfortunately, this sort of applause is not a regular thing – apparently doing your job correctly is expected rather than cause for celebration.

New Goal: Earn another round of applause.

Also, as my name (spelled correctly!) was featured on one of Affinity Circles’ Twitter feeds, I figured it was simply good manners to return the favor.

Bring your own lunch. Except on Fridays.

Be nice to the intern.

Be open and willing to work hard.

As an English Major, working for an internet-based social networking company may not seem like the most natural fit, but I’m quickly finding my footing. Just because a week ago I would have told you that Java and ColdFusion were things that you ordered at Starbucks, doesn’t mean that, armed with the right attitude and ready to learn, I haven’t been able to pick up a few useful skills. After only a week, I’ve gone from barely managing one laptop in my college dorm room, to working with three separate computers at the same desk – one for e-mails and data processing, one for graphics, and one for designing web tutorials. Also, Affinity Circles has quickly proven to be so much more than programming. Working with the Sales Reps, I’m getting a chance to put my skill set to use – by writing this blog, for example. It’s so cool to have real responsibilities, to actually be a contributing member of such a talented team.

And, if you’re really computer-challenged, working in an office with almost a dozen computer whizzes helps a lot.

Alumni Turn to inCircle for Job Searches

June 16, 2009 by

Now more than ever inCircle members are turning to their alma mater for help in their job searches. With the ability to easily connect with companies, connect with alumni who are hiring and explore career paths, inCircle provides the perfect forum for career networking, no matter where members are.  Here’s one member’s story:

“At one of Concordia’s numerous networking activities I learned about CU Circle and because at that time I was deliberately unemployed, searching for a field and job where I could start a new and long term career, I checked out CU’s website and joined the Circle. I picked a potential employer and gave them my e-mail address and phone number. In two days my cell phone rang and I scheduled an interview for the next week. I am thankful that CU Circle gave me the opportunity to connect with people in the industry that I was interested in, and helped me to get a dream job.”

You can read the full story here.


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