Using Dating Apps for Networking: A New Trend?

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Say whaaat? Yeah, you read that right. Gone are the days where online dating is just for the purpose of love and er–fun. In recent years, there has been a growing trend of using dating apps for more than just finding romantic partners. Believe it or not, dating apps are now multi-purpose, and the question of “what do you for work?” is no longer just an ice breaker leading to a potential relationship. Now it’s a question that could lead to a joint business venture. Or says the creators of Bumble Bizz, the new side piece to Bumble. The creator, Whitney Wolfe Herd, who designed Bumble to give women an opportunity to make the first move to counteract gender inequality, is now doing the same–but in the line of business. With Bumble Bizz, women will still be able to message matches first, but the goal here is going to be very different. 

In a recent interview, Bumble’s Head of Brand, explained it best: “We believe all relationships are imperative to personal growth and success—that includes romantic, friendship, and business. Much like dating, there has been an imbalance for so long in professional networking. Many women have become used to receiving unwanted personal messages on professional platforms, and also unwanted advances when networking face-to-face. We wanted to change that and bring the female-forward mindset to networking.” 

And while the woman-dominated force is strong with the future of Bumble Bizz, it’s likely that this is just the start of a future shift in the industry where networking and dating apps collide. I mean, think about it. Dating apps offer an ease and convenience in communicating. These apps often have large user bases, making it easier to connect with people who share similar interests and professional backgrounds. Plus, many dating apps now offer features that are useful for networking, such as the ability to filter potential matches by profession or industry.

It’s also necessary to consider the changing trend in the work environment since the Covid Pandemic. There’s now a significant overlap in work and social life. With more people working remotely or from home, it’s challenging to meet new people in a professional setting. Using dating apps for networking can be a valuable tool to expand one’s professional network, but there are many things to consider before moving forward. 


networking

The Benefits of Using Dating Apps for Networking

Unlike traditional professional networking events, dating apps offer the opportunity to connect with people from various industries and backgrounds. This opportunity to communicate with people outside your industry can expand and give you new perspectives and ideas for your particular business.

Not only that, but dating apps could provide an opportunity to expand your professional network and meet new people outside of traditional work settings. You can develop unique perspectives and insights in a more relaxed and casual way, where connections may be easier to make. 

When it’s less formal, people are more likely to open up. Let’s be honest: traditional professional networking events can be intimidating, but dating apps already have a reputation for being more informal and chill. This can make it easier to strike up a conversation and build connections with potential professional contacts.

And what if you hate your job? Well, now you’ll be able to meet new people who may work in your dream industry. Through conversations on dating apps, you may discover new career paths or industries that you weren’t aware of before. And you can increase your connections to those job positions, allowing for the discovery of new opportunities and the opening of doors into alternative career paths. 

This can broaden your horizons and lead to exciting new opportunities. Just like traditional networking, building relationships on dating apps can lead to referrals and job offers. Except now, building professional relationships that can lead to referrals and job offers doesn’t have to be so intimidating. 

By using dating apps for professional networking, you can also practice your social skills and build confidence for future networking situations. This can translate to more success in traditional professional networking events and better communication skills for your career overall.


dating app

The Risks of Using Dating Apps for Networking

As with any social platform, there are risks associated with using dating apps for professional networking. Using dating apps for professional networking can make it challenging to separate personal and professional relationships–one of the main reasons people rarely socialize with their coworkers (or if they do, they only let loose once a year at the annual Christmas party. ‘Cause when your boss is drunk, you can be too.) 

Blurred boundaries can lead to awkward situations or misunderstandings that may negatively affect both personal and professional connections and destroy a budding connection before it even blossoms.

Unfortunately, there is always the risk of encountering inappropriate behavior or harassment on dating apps. This can be especially concerning when using the platform for professional purposes, as it can lead to uncomfortable or even dangerous situations. 

You may think you’re meeting up for a job, only to find that you’ve been catfished–in a different type of way. Instead of meeting up for professional manner, the individual could have ulterior motives. Situations like this can lead to harassment or inappropriate behavior. 

While dating apps may provide a larger pool of potential connections, it’s difficult to find truly relevant professional connections amidst a sea of personal profiles. This can lead to wasted time and effort with no meaningful results. With so many non-professional interactions on dating apps, there is a risk of wasting time on conversations or connections that don’t further your professional goals. 

It’s also important to consider that this collision of personal and professional is very new. If you start at a new job and say you met the person who hired you on a dating app, chances are you’re going to get some side-eyed looks of judgment. 

Until professional networking via dating apps becomes more mainstream, it’s likely this can be seen as unprofessional or inappropriate by some individuals or industries. This can lead to damaging personal or professional reputation if misused or misunderstood.


how it works

How it Could Work 

Using dating apps for professional networking is becoming a growing trend, but what would crossing the lines of dating apps and professional opportunities really look like? 

Entrepreneurs could discover co-founders or investors through dating apps. If features allowed users to specify their professional interests or goals, this could make it easier for entrepreneurs with complementary skills to connect with like-minded individuals who may be interested in starting a business together or investing in a new venture. 

Entrepreneurs looking for funding could also use dating apps to connect with investors who are interested in their industry or niche. Not only that, but it would expand the potential pool of co-founders or investors by connecting people who live in other countries. 

Future dating apps could incorporate job search features, allowing users to look for job openings in their field. Dating apps could also provide opportunities to network with recruiters or hiring managers who could provide valuable information about job opportunities and hiring trends in a particular industry. 

Dating apps with a focus on networking could also be a great way for people to connect with professionals who have more experience or expertise in a particular field or industry, and who may offer guidance, advice, or mentorship to others. 

These connections can lead to valuable insights, new business opportunities, or referrals and these mentors or industry experts could then provide feedback on job applications or business plans.

Dating apps can be a useful tool for freelancers or independent contractors who are looking for new clients or collaborators in their industry to find new work opportunities or partnerships. 

As a freelancer myself, I would definitely use something like this, especially if I could seek collaborators in my specific niche. It would be just another way that freelancers could connect with potential clients who need their skills or services. And for the clients, this gives them a potential pool of talent and resources.

In some cases, this is already happening. Bumble Bizz and LinkedIn are specifically designed for professional networking and can be a useful tool for job seekers looking to connect with recruiters or hiring managers in their industry. Job seekers can use these tools to connect with recruiters or hiring managers who are interested in their skills and experience.

Some dating apps, such as The League, cater specifically to professionals in certain industries, such as law or finance. These apps can be a great way to connect with others in your field, share information and resources, build relationships that can lead to new opportunities, and explore industry-specific networking groups.


Tips for Using Dating Apps for Networking

Using dating apps for professional networking can be a great way to expand your network and potentially find new career opportunities. If you’re interested in trying out Bumble Bizz, or just want to prepare yourself for the future of this growing trend, here are some tips to help you make the most of it:

professional profile

1. Be Clear about Your Intentions and Goals in Your Profile:

Make sure your profile clearly states that you’re interested in professional networking and what you’re looking to gain from it. Be upfront about your goals when messaging potential connections. Highlight your professional experience and interests in your bio. Mention your current or past job titles, as well as any relevant industry experience or skills you have. This will help potential connections understand your background and what you have to offer. 

Choose a profile picture that conveys a professional image and aligns with your goals for networking. Avoid using pictures that are too casual or that could be perceived as inappropriate for a professional context. 

When messaging potential connections, be clear about what you’re hoping to gain from the interaction. For example, if you’re looking for a mentor, ask if they would be willing to offer guidance or advice. If you’re interested in collaborating on a project, mention the specific skills or expertise you’re looking for. 

While dating apps can be more relaxed than traditional networking events, it’s important to maintain a professional tone in your communications. Avoid using inappropriate language or making suggestive comments, as this can undermine your credibility and harm your professional reputation.

apps

2. Look for Apps Specifically Designed for Networking:

While this is still a growing area, it’s not recommended to use casual dating apps to pursue a professional relationship–unless you meet up in person and realize it’s more of a business vibe than a ‘where we gettin’ our next drink’ vibe. 

And let’s be real: how often does that happen? Using dating apps specifically designed for professional networking can offer several advantages over using traditional dating apps. 

Professional networking apps attract a more targeted user base of professionals who are interested in networking and career development over something more romantic or emotional. This means you are more likely to find relevant connections related to your profession, aka a more focused user base. 

Current and future professional networking apps will have features specifically designed for networking, such as the ability to create a professional profile, join interest-based groups, or attend virtual networking events. These dedicated networking features make it easier to connect with like-minded individuals and expand your professional network. 

These professional networking apps will likely have strict privacy and security measures in place to protect their users’ information and prevent unwanted interactions, because if scammers are already using romance to target people in traditional dating apps, you better believe they’re going to target apps where business and the exchange of money is involved. 

The networking apps may use different algorithms for matching users based on their professional interests, skills, and goals. This can cause more relevant and meaningful connections designed for professional growth and a more efficient and effective way to expand your network and find new career opportunities.

filters

3. Use Filters and Search Functions:

Use the filters and search functions on the app to find connections that are relevant to your industry, job function, or interests. This can be a powerful tool to help you find the right connections. Look for filters or options in the app that allow you to specify your professional interests or goals. This will help you find matches who share your interests and are more likely to apply to your networking efforts.

Many dating apps allow you to search for specific keywords or phrases in user profiles. Try searching for industry-specific terms or keywords related to your professional goals to find relevant connections. Use location or industry filters to narrow down your matches to those who are geographically or professionally closer to you. This can help you find connections who may be more accessible for in-person networking or collaboration. Or expand it to other areas if you’re looking for outside investors. 

It’s likely these dating apps will allow you to sort matches by their activity or engagement level on the app. This can be a good way to identify users who are active networkers and may be more likely to respond to your messages or connection requests.


safety

Safety is Key

As with any online platform, be careful with the personal information you share. Only give what’s necessary and relevant to the conversation, and be cautious about sharing sensitive information. 

With any dating app, it’s important to remember that not all users may have the same intentions as you. Avoid sharing personal information such as your home address, social security number, or financial information. This information can be used to steal your identity or commit fraud.

Especially with networking apps, keep your conversations on the app professional and focused on your networking goals. Avoid sharing personal anecdotes or discussing topics that are unrelated to your professional interests. If you receive unsolicited messages from someone who is not in your professional network or whose intentions are unclear, be cautious about responding.

Before meeting with someone in person or sharing additional personal information, do your research to make sure they are who they say they are and that their professional credentials are legitimate. By using a tool like social catfish, you can protect yourself from being scammed. If you encounter any suspicious behavior or feel uncomfortable, report it to the app’s customer support team or to the authorities.


timely manner

Follow Up in a Timely and Professional Manner

 When you make a connection on a networking app, remember to shed the perception that you’re meeting on a dating app. Don’t be casual in your communication. If you would follow up for a job interview, you’d do the same thing with this. 

This could mean scheduling a virtual coffee chat or phone call to discuss potential opportunities. This can help you build a relationship and determine if there is a good fit for working together. 

Keep your communication professional and courteous throughout the process and redirect the focus on your shared interests or goals. Avoid discussing personal topics.  

If someone reaches out to you or shows interest in your profile, respond to them promptly. This shows that you are serious about making a connection and are respectful of their time. 

When scheduling a meeting or call, be respectful of their time and availability. If you need to reschedule, do so in a timely and courteous manner. After the meeting or call, follow up with a thank-you note or email. This shows that you appreciate their time and are interested in continuing the conversation.


The Future of Using Dating Apps for Networking

As the use of dating apps for professional networking continues to grow, the future of this trend looks promising. Here are some potential developments that we may see:

future of dating apps
  • Continued growth in the number of users and apps focused on professional networking: As more people become comfortable with the idea of using dating apps for professional networking, we can expect to see a continued increase in the number of users and apps dedicated to this purpose.
  • Integration of AI and machine learning to better match users with relevant connections: AI and machine learning algorithms could improve the matching process and provide users with more relevant and personalized networking opportunities.
  • Increased focus on safety and privacy measures to protect users: As with any online platform, safety and privacy concerns are important. We may see dating apps for professional networking implementing more robust safety features, such as increased identity verification, to protect users from potential scams or harassment.
  • More diverse and inclusive networking opportunities for underrepresented groups: Dating apps have the potential to bring together people from diverse backgrounds and industries. In the future, we may see more networking opportunities specifically tailored to underrepresented groups.
  • Potential for dating apps to become a primary way for professionals to make connections in the future: With the continued growth and evolution of dating apps for professional networking, we may see these platforms become a primary way for professionals to make connections, particularly in industries where traditional networking events may not be as accessible or effective.

So there you have it. Although there may be some downfalls to using dating apps for professional networking, as the idea continues to become more mainstream, perceptions will most likely change to match the evolution of the technological revolution, and dating apps as a means of professional connection will probably become the norm.

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