Online networking services offer specialized connections

LinkedIn has dominated the online professional social media realm, but new platforms are offering consumers the opportunity to connect with a more specialized and niche group of peers and employers. These apps are increasing users’ chances of making meaningful connections in their area of interest and potentially landing jobs better suited to their skills and backgrounds.


Handshake is a networking site similar to LinkedIn, but specifically for university students and recent grads. The site aims to connect students looking to start their career search with employers in need of new hires. With more than 14 million users, 700+ universities, and 300,000+ employers, Handshake is now valued at $275 million and is supported by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative as it focuses on expanding to Europe. What further sets this platform apart from other career services is its focus on diversity—Handshake has relationships with 100 minority-serving universities and a search engine that allows recruiters to easily find a diverse range of applicants.


Founded by Sophia Amoruso, the OG Girl Boss and creator of Nasty Gal, Girlboss offers an online networking community designed for young women with nontraditional career experiences. Subscribers who take part-time or freelance jobs benefit most from this platform by gaining access to resources that help them make progress personally and professionally. The website offers articles on topics such as career, money, and wellness as well as access to 50+ hours of Girlboss networking events that cover a multitude of career-oriented advice. While the articles are free to the public, joining the networking side of the initiative is for members-only and currently requires an invite.


Copenhagen-based soccer performance app, Tonsser, is a self-proclaimed “LinkedIn for young soccer players.” The app serves as a network for non-professional soccer players to build their online presence and track their stats and performance for others to review. One of the major appeals of this app is the ease it creates for recruiters and coaches to find new talent throughout Europe. Tonsser has already garnered 800k registered players and data from over 4.6 million soccer games in Europe. Nike partnered with the rapidly growing network to find its next ambassadors for the brand’s 2018 Phantom campaign.

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