Bayt.com, best known as a job search portal for the Middle East, is continuing to reinvent itself, adding new services and keeping up with the times. Their latest innovation could potentially become known as the LinkedIn of the Middle East.

Simply identified as People, Bayt’s latest service offers a space for employees to create public profiles and connect with other users on the site. The social networking side of Bayt’s service may have a negative effect on Bayt’s core service, with users now given the option to take their CV information public for the first time on the site. But breaking into the social networking world was the logical next step for Bayt, despite any risks involved, according to Omar Tahboub, Bayt’s Vice President of Product. “If we don’t do it, someone else will.”

bayt Could Bayt.com become the LinkedIn of the Middle East?

In order to use the service however, you do have to have a completed CV stored on Bayt, after which you are given the choice of what information you want to share in your public profile. And you should definitely choose wisely. According to Tahboub, the new profiles are ranking quite well in Google searches, with quite a bit of search engine traffic being driven to profiles.

The kind of information you can share includes your career and education details, your skills and even your latest tweets. Like LinkedIn, you also have the option of writing testimonials or recommendations for users, as well as the more casual choice of giving users badges for leadership, creativity, teamwork and more.

With Bayt giving you complete control over how much of your information is available publicly, it is somewhat surprising to find that most people opt for the public profile.

The site is searchable, so you can quickly find out if your friends are on there as well, although for the time being, you can’t add them to your friends list. This feature, along with many others are soon to come, along with creating a more substantial connection between the profiles and Bayt’s other services.

The new service does of course beg the million dollar question. Are people who are already on LinkedIn going to abandon the site in favour of Bayt? Or will they, instead, use it alongside LinkedIn? With 5 million CVs on Bayt and a substantial network of employers throughout the region, for a Middle East audience, it may just be the smarter choice to shift your focus to a more concentrated audience with Bayt.