Linkedin and Bizzabo remain popular, but more job seekers are turning to other social-networking apps.
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Whether it’s tracking your eating habits, finding locals in your community to hike with or looking for a date, there’s an app available for just about everything. What’s surprising is how many of these apps are doubling as networking opportunities that can lead people into new jobs and careers.
Apps specifically designed for career networking, such as Linkedin and Bizzabo, remain popular networking tools, but more people are turning to other social-networking apps that aren’t necessarily geared towards business- and career-building. Considering just how saturated many of the traditional business networking apps are becoming, it’s understandable that people are looking elsewhere for the right niche.
Platforms that may be intended to bring people together for a specific hobby, sport or even romance can sometimes bridge over to a person’s career. The social platform Meetup, for instance, helps people connect with those who hold shared interests and has active groups in well over 100 countries. While the focus of different Meetup groups can range from board games to poetry slams, the platform has become incredibly popular. Members can connect with others in their respective fields locally at networking mixers or opt to start their own group centered around a particular interest. There’s no guarantee that you’ll land a job interview from somebody you meet in a group for pottery enthusiasts, but there’s no telling where a connection with someone can eventually lead.
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Considering how removed the connections made on sites such as Linkedin often feel, it’s easy to see the overall appeal of Meetup as an alternative. Members can message each other, but gathering offline to meet up and connect with other people is the platform’s intended purpose.
Valuable business connections aren’t just being made through social-hobby groups either. More people are finding their next job on dating apps, even if they don’t find romance. After all, “What do you do?” is usually one of the first questions asked on a date, and this can lead to further professional discussions, even if there’s no second date. Justhookup, a site focused on helping people find the best hookup apps, was founded after a date where the sparks didn’t fly, but the future founders discovered that they had compatible business chemistry.
Similar stories are becoming more common now that people post so much about themselves and their careers on their dating profiles. It’s not all that unusual to find a match who wants to discuss career over love. San Francisco-based tech investor Sarah Kunst told Fortune just how useful she’s found the dating app Tinder to be for business networking. “I use [Tinder] for business so much,” Kunst revealed. “I’ve had guys respond to my profile and say, ‘Hey, you’re an investor? I have a startup.’”
This popularity of using dating apps for a career boost has to lead to dating apps themselves evolving to better function as networking tools. Bumble has its own business-networking feature called Bumble Bizz that’s aimed at connecting like-minded individuals from similar career fields. There’s even a specific feature within it called Women in Bizz that allows female users to connect only with other women for business networking.
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Whereas the Meetup app has groups dedicated specifically for business networking, joining a dating app only for the purpose of landing a new job isn’t advised. With more social apps geared for both career networking and other avenues of social connection springing up all the time, it’s worth exploring the connections that do present themselves, both personally and professionally.
Far too often in today’s world, we look at networking as something that should be confined to a specific place or social app. Prior to the rise of the internet and social media, a great deal of professional networking took place outside of the office environment. Long plane rides, civic organizations and various community classes functioned as opportunities to connect with new people and share ideas that could potentially lead towards a professional relationship.
We should always keep our eyes peeled for new opportunities to expand our network of contacts, whether through a business networking app or by less conventional means.