For many job-seekers, especially those of a certain age, creating an online profile was not long ago seen as purely optional.
Those days may be gone.
With LinkedIn's spectacular initial public offering (IPO) last month and the launch of a regional networking portal from bayt.com, building an effective online profile is rapidly becoming essential.
The price of LinkedIn shares more than doubled on the first day of trading after it held an IPO last month, making it the biggest since Google went public in 2004. And 73 of the Fortune 100 companies now use LinkedIn as a way to find and recruit fresh talent, says Richard George, a spokesman for the company.
"If you have a complete LinkedIn profile and a growing network, you'll have an established network of contacts you know and trust who will be able to connect you with your next opportunity when the time comes," he says. "This is equally valuable in helping you become more productive and successful in the job you have, as well as helping you get the job you want."
The jobs website Bayt, based in Dubai, earlier this year entered the fray by creating a rival website to LinkedIn with a regional focus.
"The future of recruitment is to have a very competitive professional brand, to make it public and socialise this competitive professional brand. We are riding that wave as we speak," says Lama Ataya, the chief marketing officer with Bayt.
Like LinkedIn, the site is searchable on Google and includes a section for professional experience and recommendations. But it also has a feature that displays "badges" for skills such as leadership.
"You ask a friend or you just wait to receive a badge so I can pick up the phone and call my ex-boss and say I would like some credentials from you, send me your referral and send me some badges," Ms Ataya says.
But experts say that those coming late to the professional networking online should know it is not as easy as simply building an online profile and waiting for companies hiring to come calling. You need to invest time every day or at least once a week to manage your brand, says Zed Ayesh, the managing director of Flagship Consultancy.
Most newcomers should start with LinkedIn, since it simply boasts more users, but multiple platforms will make you more visible. It is all about interaction and engagement with people who could aid in your job search, he says. "The critical issue is you have to be consistent. Don't say different things on different platforms, Mr Ayesh says. "The second thing is you need to find a way to have them connected. If you are using Twitter and you link it to LinkedIn it will show your conversation there also." There are a number of points that any job seeker should be aware of when building their online profiles, he adds.
"You have to be consistent, number two you have to be honest and number three you have to be detailed, especially when you're talking about professional profiles," he says. "You should start your network with your immediate connections then spread it out because you are most recognised by your friends, family, colleagues and associates. These people might have connections and they can recommend."
He says Bayt's idea to add badges that identify specific skills appears to be a good concept.
"It's an excellent idea," he says. "A recommendation coming from a third party is more credible. Anyone can say anything about themselves."