BY SYDNEY SAVAGE
Networking can be a scary word.
There are so many questions that come with the concept, but the biggest one is, “Is it really important?” Yes, it can be awkward, time-consuming, and a big investment, but it’s well worth it. In fact, according to a survey conducted by ConnectUs Canada, 77.5 per cent of people prefer meeting in person because of the big rewards that come with it. In recent years, social media platforms and apps have become a great place to meet people you wouldn’t necessarily meet in person and build a connection that carries on into the real world.
The newest trend in network building is that of dating turned networking apps. One of the biggest platforms to catch on is Bumble, the brainchild of Whitney Wolf who is the co-founder of its rival Tinder. She launched Bumble to create a safer dating and networking experience.
“We believe that one connection can lead to the opportunity of a lifetime which is why we wanted to empower people in all areas of their life–love, friendship, networking,” says marketing manager at Bumble, Meredith Gillies. “We recently launched filters and Bumble Bizz users can now filter by industry or if they’re looking for a job, mentor or collaborator. This launch allows people to tailor their experience and gives them more control over networking.”
You don’t need a specific reason to start networking with other professionals and now it’s easier than ever to make it happen with the help of social media and apps. There are many benefits that can come out of meeting with others such as:
- Build confidence
Networking is crucial to building confidence in one’s personal and career life. By building relationships with people from different and similar career backgrounds, you are exercising your social skills and learning what works best as well as who you connect with the most.
- Advance your career
People are the key to success. According to the Canadian networking survey conducted by ConnectUs Canada 68.6 per cent of people found increased job opportunities through investing time in meeting people.
- Gain New Perspectives
Networking can increase your prospects drastically. You can use this as an opportunity to get advice and learn more about what other people and companies are doing in order to stay fresh and keep on top of trends.
If you’re not sure where to start, a great place is LinkedIn. Not only is it a virtual resume, but it is an amazing place to find people in your industry. Once you find people you’d like to meet, don’t be scared to send a message and to see if they’d be interested in meeting for coffee. You may get one reply out of five, but don’t get discouraged, it’s all a part of the process.
Another great way to connect is through the previously mentioned, Bumble Bizz app or the similar Shapr app. These are the perfect precursor to in-person meetups or an option if you are uncomfortable going to networking events. Both apps are free to start, but as you get more familiar and involved, you can pay for additional perks. Regardless of the route you choose, making networking a priority is in your best interest. Happy meeting!