Swipe Right for a New Job: How Career Networking Just Got A Lot Like Dating

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New job app from Earnest

Technology has changed the game for job hunters. It has eliminated the need for newspaper classifieds, paper resumes, envelopes, and stamps. Today, you can fire off dozens of resumes in just one sitting.

While it’s easier than ever to feel like you’re actively applying, resumes too often end up in an abyss. As it turns out, the old-fashioned (and time-consuming) way of job searching — networking with other people — is still the most useful way to land a great gig. There’s just one problem for modern job seekers: making contact isn’t easy if you’re siloed in your office for eight to ten hours a day.

Entrepreneur Brian Ma set out to solve precisely this dilemma — using an app, of course. Enter Weave.

“The least effective way [to get a job] is to submit a resume, and the most effective is to meet someone,” he says.

Ma believes big data and algorithms can do for us what we can’t for ourselves. The app finds and makes useful professional connections through a Tinder-like experience and facilitates in-person meetings quickly and efficiently. When you sign up for Weave, you can sync it with your LinkedIn profile, write a description of your search priorities, and indicate your availability for meetings. Then, swipe profiles left and right (sound familiar?) to indicate who you’d like to meet.

Data supports Ma’s outlook. According to a recent survey of 1,005 people conducted by online lending company Earnest, fifty percent of survey respondents said personal connections were the most useful in finding their current jobs, while only thirty-six percent said online resources were useful. (The remaining 10 percent cited recruiter calls.)

Where LinkedIn meets Tinder

The rise of the technologically-enhanced job search is not just a sign of smarter algorithms and software. It reflects how the stakes are higher and more competitive in the modern job market. For new graduates, getting quickly into a career is essential when student loan repayment awaits. For mid-career people, it may be more about effectively navigating and climbing the ladder to meet professional and personal goals, like starting your own company.

Weave uses algorithms to make connections between people with overlapping interests and strengthen them based on how you’ve swiped.

A scheduling system contacts you at the beginning of each week to see if you’d like to make a “Weave” meeting. If you say yes, you connect with a match and an appointment to meet at a nearby coffee shop.

While the lead up to a meeting can feel a lot like online dating, it’s important to remember the real reason you’re here — making professional connections and exchanging ideas.

“A lot of people think background and history is most important, but we looked at what actually gets you meeting people, and it’s forward-thinking stuff,” Ma says. “It’s about what you’re trying to do and what you want to spend your life on. Those are the usually ice breakers.”

Job seekers are one part of the Weave user base, but the app’s goal is to build and enhance personal connections in a professional context.

“It’s not about what you get out of it, but how you can help the other person,” Ma says. “Then people will naturally reciprocate.”

Ma’s Networking Advice

  • Don’t judge a book by its cover. Take the meeting even if it doesn’t seem like an obvious connection on first glance.
  • You never know what you’re going to get. Be open to meeting new people.
  • Know that networking is a long game. Don’t expect every meeting to result in something. But six months or nine months down the road, you might have a useful connection. Being good at networking means playing the game continuously.

Up your networking game.

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