Xing is effectively the German version of LinkedIn. We had a look to see what it offered.
A networking platform widely used in the DACH region
Like LinkedIn, Xing is business-focused. It aims to make it easy to find new business contacts, and is widely used for recruitment. It is not solely a German-language site; much of its content is available in other languages, including English, but the support is German, as is the membership and geographical focus.
Xing has different kinds of membership. Basic membership is free, and allows you to create a profile, search, link up with, and message contacts, and organise events. Premium enables you to send emails to people not already in your contacts list, add a portfolio to your profile and integrate activity from Twitter and other social networks. ProJobs, which enables you to hide your job-hunting activity, is only available to premium members paying an additional fee.
There are two areas where Xing seems to score over LinkedIn, and both may be because of its tight geographical focus. First, it has a good section matching freelance workers with companies looking for support. Second, it is good for event management. Events can be registered and organised via the platform, and members can book places, and see who else is attending.
Setting up your Xing profile
As with LinkedIn, it is important to create a really strong profile. Here are our top tips for this:
- Check out some of the help videos that show you how to set up your profile. They are in German, but even non-German speakers should be able to work out what to do from the video.
- Although the broad principles are the same, the precise detail of what you put in your profile depends on your goals. For example, if you are job-hunting, you may want to include slightly different keywords from those you would use for networking purposes. In particular, you should be aware that your profile will be shown in the language in which you wrote it. If, therefore, you wish to make contact with English speakers, you will need to include some keywords in English.
- Search results bring up your photograph, career summary and location. As with any social network, therefore, a good photograph is crucial. Your career summary should include your current position and your degree.
- Using the right keywords is crucial for both the ‘have’ and ‘want’ sections. You need to think carefully about who will be searching, and what terms they will use, then incorporate those. This could take careful thought and research, including looking at profiles and descriptions for your desired jobs, so that you present yourself, your skills and your job requirements in the best possible light.
- You have the opportunity to make a personal statement. It’s a good idea to make this strong and specific, as well as adding keywords.
- The amount of information you include about qualifications, professional experience and education will depend on the purpose for which you are using Xing. If you are job-hunting, you will need to include more information than if you are networking.
- You should not include every last hobby or interest. Just as with your CV, it’s best to include only those that are relevant to your professional life. For a German audience, any awards you mention should be well-known.
- It may come as something of a surprise to English-speaking audiences, but date of birth is important when job-hunting in Germany. Be aware that if you include your date of birth, you may find that your contacts send you birthday wishes, as this information is not hidden.
As you would for other social networks, don’t forget to set your privacy settings appropriately.
Getting the best out of Xing
If you are active on Xing, you will receive more suggestions for contacts, jobs and events on your home page. In other words, like any other social network, the more you put in, the more you will get out.
Alongside your profile, you will have an activity index. To obtain a 100% activity level, you will need to visit daily, contribute and read other people’s posts. It can also be helpful to join groups and communities on Xing. This allows you to write posts and join discussions within the group, and some groups also organise meetings and events.
We suggest that if you are working or doing business in the DACH region, joining Xing and becoming an active user could be one of your best investments.