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Sure, you’ve heard about how important networking is for your career. But it fills most people with extreme dread. It can feel awkward, forced, and fake. In fact, a study conducted by LinkedIn earlier this year found that 43 percent of millennials find networking difficult because they aren’t really sure how to do it.
If “done” correctly, networking can help open doors to all kinds of amazing opportunities that you usually wouldn’t find through an online job search. But how do you network without feeling like you’re trying to get something out of someone?
That’s why Bumble, the dating app that puts women first (see below), recently launched a new career feature called Bumble Bizz.
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Whitney Wolfe Herd launched Bumble in late 2014 — but before that, she cofounded the popular dating app Tinder. She ended up suing Tinder for sexual harassment, alleging that one of the cofounders harassed her with threatening and abusive messages after they ended a romantic relationship. According to reports, her fellow Tinder cofounders even tried pushing her out of her cofounder status.
But instead of letting that drag her down, Herd left Tinder in her dust and launched her own “feminist” dating app that puts women first.
Like Tinder, Bumble also uses the swipe function to go through profiles. But unlike Tinder (and unlike any other app at the time), Bumble puts the power in women’s hands by having them start the initial conversation with an interested match. That means no creepy guys filling your message inbox with inappropriate messages. (A man will only be able to talk to you if you message him first.)
Bumble as a whole has a really great vibe. Everything is themed like a beehive and it’s super easy to use. According to the company, they have over 18 million people registered on the app.
But Herd didn’t stop there. She wanted to expand Bumble to help women in all facets of their life. Every feature launched afterwards was created to help women feel empowered. She launched a “BFF mode” that helps match you with potential friends, and now, there’s Bizz.
Using the same dating-app features of Bumble, Bizz allows you to connect with professionals by simply swiping through profiles until you get a match. (Note: if you already have Bumble, you don’t need to download another app. It all lives in the same place.)
Similar to the BFF mode that launched last year, all you need to do is turn on “Bizz” mode and you’ll be presented with people looking to expand their professional networks.
“Love, friendship, networking — these are all critical connections and the foundation of a healthy, happy life,” Whitney Wolfe Herd, founder and CEO of Bumble said in a release. “We want to bring you closer to all of these connections in an empowered way.”
According to Herd, Bizz was launched for a pretty simple reason: user demand.
She recently told Vogue, “What we saw happening is that our users have already been using Bumble to network.” She noticed that users were putting things like, “Married with two kids. Looking to meet people in tech,” on their profiles.
So instead of using the app to find dates, some people were using Bumble to connect with people in their industries. “We wanted to be able to give the users what it seemed they wanted,” she said.
Here are 5 things to know about the newly-launched Bizz:
1) It’s meant for networking — not so much for job searching.
If you’re signing on to Bizz hoping to find some really great job listings, unfortunately that’s not what this is about. According to Bumble, it’s about “opportunity over job hunting.” They want you to focus on connecting with professionals who can help you with anything career-related. Your goal to be to find a mentor or someone to bounce ideas off of if you’re in a creative field.
2) Unlike LinkedIn, Bizz only connects you to people who are nearby.
If you’ve ever used LinkedIn, you’d know you can add people to your network from all over the world. But with Bizz, you’re limited to people who are within a certain range away from you. So if you’re in Los Angeles, you’re not going to be presented with people from New York unless they’re physically in L.A. That way, you can really make the most out of your connections by hopefully building an in-person career network.
3) Each mode on Bumble can be managed separately.
Bumble has their original dating mode, their BFF mode (for finding platonic friends), and now Bizz for networking. You can easily switch between each mode and manage the profiles separately. No one will know that you’re looking for dates on Bumble if you’re in Bizz mode. Genius.
4) Bizz has some cool features, like a digital resume.
Bizz has added profile cards that the original Bumble doesn’t offer. These sections are used for your digital resume and it also gives you space to showcase your work. Additionally, Bizz uses a photo verification tool, so you know for sure you’re connecting with legitimate people.
5) Women still make the first move.
Bumble is known for being the “female first” app. That means women are always going to make that first move. Networking can definitely be intimidating. But since everyone knows how Bumble operates, it can make reaching out to someone much easier. So don’t be afraid to connect with anyone you want to. You never know where that connection may lead.