If you saw someone swiping left and right on their phone, you’d probably think they were using Tinder — but they might actually be thinking more about work than dating.
Networking apps like Shapr and Weave have you “swipe right” on professionals you want to meet. You could then meet for coffee to share ideas or even land a better job.
In fact, The Adler Group found that 85 percent of all jobs are filled through networking. So if you’re looking to widen your circle, you don’t have to rely on chance. Try one of these networking apps to meet new people in your field.
To start using the networking app Shapr, you’ll write a detailed profile, like you would on OkCupid. But instead of things like, “I love candlelit dinners and long walks on the beach,” you’ll describe your professional experiences and goals.
Then, Shapr uses its algorithm to show you 10 to 15 profiles of nearby users whose interests and experiences correspond with yours. If you’re unimpressed, just swipe left to view the next profile. But if you’d like to meet, swipe right to show your interest.
If that person also swiped right on your profile, you can get in touch through the app and set up a time to meet. You might get some invaluable career advice or even learn about a new job opportunity.
As one user said, “Shapr may look like Tinder, but the relationships last longer.”
The Weave app takes a similar approach, asking you to swipe left or right on your networking matches. This app caters mainly to entrepreneurs, including company founders, investors, CEOs, and other business experts looking to build a community.
The Weave app pulls information from your LinkedIn profile to match you up with local entrepreneurs. You can also browse through profiles on your own, using filters such as location, job title, and industry.
If you have specific networking needs, you can join one of Weave’s five “rooms”:
- General Networking
- Looking for Co-Founder
- Looking for Services
Like the previously mentioned filters, these rooms narrow down the profiles you see so you can connect with the right person.
If you join the “Looking for Co-founder” room, for instance, you’ll write a quick blurb about what kind of co-founder you’re looking to work with. You can then search through profiles of others in the room, or people can reach out to you.
After matching with someone, you can use Weave’s chat feature to introduce yourself and set up a time to meet.
The Weave app is available for iOS and Android devices. While it has mostly positive reviews, some people say it doesn’t have enough users to truly grow their networks.
According to Professor Julia Hobsbawm, an expert on modern networking, 41 percent of people would like to network more often but don’t have the time. LetsLunch makes it easy to carve out time by setting up networking “dates” during your lunch hour.
Anyone with a LinkedIn profile can use this networking app. LetsLunch pulls data from your LinkedIn account to match you with others in your industry. It also asks about your interests to personalize matches even more.
You’ll indicate your location and availability, too. LetsLunch uses that information to suggest a few restaurants in your area. If everything works out, you could be sparking a professional friendship over Caesar salads in no time.
Like LetsLunch, the CityHour app helps you meet face-to-face with other professionals. You can use the app to meet people who work in your field or share your interests.
You’ll indicate when you’re available, and CityHour uses GPS to match you with someone who’s free in your area. Plus, it syncs with your calendar so you can keep track of meetings.
You can indicate whether you’re looking for a career opportunity, business development, or general networking. And you can use the app to send messages and stay in touch after you meet.
Since CityHour works in real time, it makes it easy to turn free chunks of time into productive networking opportunities. This app is available for iOS devices; the Android version should be coming soon.
Finally, no list of networking apps would be complete without mentioning LinkedIn. This behemoth networking site has 467 million users.
As of late 2016, 60 million of those users access LinkedIn via its mobile app, which is available on iOS and Android.
Through the app, you can maintain your profile, connect with other users, and stay up to date on news. If you’re on the job hunt, you can browse its 3 million active job postings.
To get started with the LinkedIn app, try adding people you already know, including friends or former peers from school. You might also reach out to alumni of your college who are working in your field (or a field you’d like to break into).
You can also join LinkedIn groups, which are organized around a certain industry or interest. By actively posting in these groups, you can spark conversations with other users.
Plus, you might find job opportunities or learn about nearby networking events or professional conferences. After meeting people at these events, make sure to connect and keep in touch through LinkedIn.
Networking apps could lead to your next great job
Networking is an invaluable tool when you’re searching for a new job, but your efforts to build a community don’t have to stop once you get hired.
By connecting with others in your field, you could come across knowledge and opportunities you otherwise might have missed. Plus, you’ll get to have inspiring conversations with others who share your passions.
This kind of relationship building could help you stay motivated even on bad work days. What’s more, building your network could be just what you need to build your dream career.
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