Published on October 30, 2018, at 5:30 p.m.
by Bri Roselius.
Networking: the one term that’s been drilled into my brain so incessantly I find myself reciting my elevator pitch in the shower. Another word that’s also been forced to the forefront of my brain? Marriage.
I’m a 21-year-old college senior at The University of Alabama navigating the dating and career waters. Not once did I imagine I’d be using a dating app to find a job. I guess this is what rock bottom feels like.
Enter Bumble Bizz: a professional networking and mentorship platform that launched in 2017. Like the dating app Bumble, Bumble Bizz is designed to empower women by allowing them to make the first move. Bizz is less about job hunting, per se, and more about forging that magic “spark.” Sounds a lot more exciting than browsing Indeed and scrolling through job listings on LinkedIn.
To begin, users create a LinkedIn-style, digital résumé. You can upload education and professional experience details, write a bio and note what kind of opportunities you’re looking to find. While Bumble Bizz is accessed within the Bumble app, it functions separately. Nevertheless, it uses the same swiping approach as the dating app, allowing users to set their location boundaries and swipe right on profiles they’re interested in speaking with further. Sounds easy enough, right?
As someone who is generally wary of dating apps (stranger danger vibes), I was hesitant — and stubborn — to download Bumble. But, as my impending graduation date draws nearer, I decided to bite the bullet and go forward. What’s the worst that could happen?
Networking and dating can be brutal for women.
A study done by the Harvard Business School found that employers are more likely to hire men than equally able women, based on the perception that, on average, men have a higher performance rate on certain tasks than women do.
Men: 1 Women: 0
However, according to a Financial Times article, Bizz is counteracting this by allowing women tochoose the connections we make. The platform also challenges traditional networking and how sexism affects the way women are viewed professionally
So, did it work?
I managed to connect with several women who felt empowered by being able to “make the first move.” However, during my week-long stint as a Bizz user, I only came across a handful of useful connections. This app may be geared toward empowering women; however, there’s still the challenge of finding connections in your desired field.
Men: 1 Women: 1
Having the power in my hands felt invigorating, and provided me with a certain level of autonomy on the app. But with power comes great responsibility — and not every user embodied proper app etiquette.
Yes, there are still creeps.
Instead of networking, some men appear to use Bizz to have “some good clean fun.” This was a direct quote from a user named Rob. The “inappropriate” profiles I came across were both creepy and totally in violation of the app’s intended use.
Men: 0 Women: 1
I could quickly tell who was using the app for “dating,” and who was using it for business. There will always be those who take advantage of the app’s goal. However, I do believe Bizz has a lot of potential. I think it’s important to continue creating spaces that can empower marginalized groups to thrive professionally. Go Team Women!
My advice to men? If you’re looking to make connections on Bizz, don’t be like Rob.
Finding the right connections can be tricky.
From what I gathered in my swiping, most of the people using Bizz were either young professionals or creatives. Neither of which are useful in my job hunt. I question the longevity of this app. Will Bizz flop because it doesn’t reach beyond the younger, single audience using it for romance? Is LinkedIn more convenient for recruiters?
I found it difficult to navigate the app when looking for connections in a specific industry. The swiping became quite time-consuming. My thumb muscle was getting the workout of its life, and I still couldn’t find users that aligned with the public relations industry.
Additionally, I couldn’t help but be reminded that I was attempting to network in a notoriously-known dating app. Something about blending the very personal with the strictly professional made me hesitant to continue.
Bumble is buzzing its way into the business world.
With over 21 million users around the world, Bumble strives to create connections that can benefit users in all aspects of their lives — whether it’s for love or money.
There’s nothing worse than engaging in forced small talk at networking events or attempting to create relationships on LinkedIn — a site known for users mass-connecting with complete strangers.
Swiping through Bumble Bizz was a much more enticing experience. Sure, I saw plenty of Robs, but I also saw a variety of business professionals all searching for different opportunities. I have my own reservations, but with the digital age taking over every aspect of our personal and professional lives, Bumble Bizz is an innovative force — it may just be too early for its own time.