What is Xing?
Xing has over 12 Million users, mainly in the German speaking part of Europe, and is the largest candidate pool in terms of German speakers. Most of the people on Xing speak fluent German.
You can sign up with Xing here for FREE!
Why is Xing important for you?
Throughout my recruitment career, I have recruited approximately 80% of all my candidates from Xing. Also most of my team members recruit on Xing.
If you are able to communicate in German on a general level but are not fluent yet, this is the perfect place for you to promote yourself. If I recruit on Xing, I never have a look on the language section of the candidate’s profile and I know most of my colleagues also don’t, because we take if for granted that people on Xing speak German.
If you don’t speak German at all, this guide might not work for you perfectly but I would still recommend you leverage the power of Xing, simply because it’s the largest professional community of German speakers.
Connecting with people on Xing
Connecting on Xing is similar to LinkedIn but you don’t need to select a reason for connecting before you can send the invitation. It is of similar importance as it is on LinkedIn to write professional introductions and not just use the standard text in a message.
If you are able to communicate on an intermediate level, I highly suggest to write your messages in German. This will have 2 main effects:
1. People are much more likely to reply because the main language is German and not English. Therefore people are more open to approaches in German.
2. You will improve your German skills while looking for a job. Start connecting with peers, decision makers, HR and all kinds of people you would like to be in touch with. If you find somebody that can provide you with some market knowledge or share ideas in German, that will bring you forward on your mission to learn the language.
High level executives will never write back – Or will they?
I would like to share a quick story about approaching industry and opinion leaders or executives.
Last week I was listening to the audiobook from Seth Godin, called Tribes, for the 8th time. Whenever I listen to it I get inspired to try something new and to learn new things.
I have rated 5-stars for his program on audible.com already but also wanted to thank him personally. So I went to his blog and searched for his email address. I sent him a quick note with the title “A very big thank you” and a short paragraph about how the program inspired me to start jordico.com and other projects. I did this because I really meant what I wrote and never expected to hear back from such a high level business celebrity.
To my surprise, only 10 minutes later, I got an email back from Seth with a thank you for the kind words and greetings from 25’000 feet as he was on an airplane somewhere.
Maybe this example is not perfect for a job seeker but I believe it shows that people are much more approachable these days than ever before. They are aware of how important connections are and therefore many of them stopped guarding themselves with gatekeepers and “no-reply” email addresses.
I believe that if you provide some value or make the other person feel good with a simple thank you, they are likely to get back to you.
Events on Xing
I find the events section on Xing one of the most valuable parts. To me it is much easier to handle and much clearer than the events section on LinkedIn.
Also there are tons of local events in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. My favorite events in Switzerland are the official ones from Xing.
It is very easy to get in touch with new people there and I have almost never left an event without getting something useful. Also you can create events yourself to gather people or host lunch events.
Groups on Xing
Groups are also very useful. They are very different from LinkedIn and I mainly leverage them to receive invitations for events that are happening. There are some very good technology related groups and I highly recommend that you join them because many recruitment agencies post their job ads directly in related groups like “.NET Development”, “Silverlight” or other industry or expertise topics.
Also you will receive event invitations from these groups and sometimes be offered discounts on the event fees.
I like this section, especially to search for people at specific companies. For example, if you search for IBM Deutschland, you will get a list with all the employees working there including the position titles. This is very useful if you can’t search people by typing in their position titles or names in the advances search section because you don’t know them.
Basic or Premium Account?
I am a member of Xing since ages, I think since 2004. Actually when I joined it, it was still called OpenBC. Since the beginning I have always been a premium user because it is relatively cheap with only EUR 4.95 per month.
There are some great benefits that come with the premium account like larger attachments, messages to users that are not connected to you and better search results in all sections. If you join Xing for your job search, I highly suggest you use a premium account.
Depending on the demand for more information about profile optimization, groups, events and many other areas on Xing, I will get more into details in future articles.