How to Make a Good First Impression While Networking

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Networking is key to every career, and a good first impression makes all the difference. When you’re hoping to impress a potential employer, you want to put your best foot forward and make sure you’re memorable—in a good way. Luckily, networking gets easier with Bumble Bizz, a professional networking feature within the Bumble app that every student should sign up for ASAP. On all three Bumble verticals – Bumble Date, Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz –women make the first move to start an empowering conversation that could change your life and your career. If you want some networking pointers before you start matching, we’ve got all the info you need right here:

Profile: Put Your Best Foot Forward

The first thing others will see of you on Bumble Bizz or any networking platform is your profile. And just as you’d want to look presentable for a job interview, your profile (especially your pictures) should reflect the ambitious, confident, authentic woman you are. This doesn’t mean you have to choose stiff, uncomfortable headshots for each of your photo fields if they don’t convey your creative, engaging personality—just make sure they’re still professional.

Bumble recommends using your photos like a portfolio. You can include pictures or screenshots of things you’ve created, worked on, written or contributed to – depending on which field you want to break into. Don’t waste the space given to you with five similar-but-slightly-different photos of yourself. You know (and we know!) that you’re a leader and a go-getter, so show that part of yourself off.

Your profile should also have a headline (like a summary on your resume, make this short and sweet) and space to put your experience, education and skills. Include just the highlights of your career. You know the old rule about keeping your resume under one page? Same goes here; you only want the most relevant, recent and impressive info. Be confident that these accomplishments will catch someone’s eye, and when you match with them, you can talk about the nitty-gritty in your conversation.

Connecting: Make The First Move

The great thing about online networking is that you can create authentic connections through messaging. But on Bumble Bizz there’s a twist, too: When you match with another professional, you have 24 hours to start a conversation before the match expires, so don’t let the time go to waste. Depending on if you’re looking to find a job, or just to meet others that could be helpful connections later, we guarantee you can find an interesting conversation starter.

Stuck for convo starters? Look for something intriguing on their profile—maybe they worked at a company you interned at, or you attended the same college. You want something meaningful that interests both of you to find as a jumping off point.

Remember that networking doesn’t just mean looking for a job: even if the person you’re talking to might not have anything beyond career advice to offer you right now, that doesn’t mean you should dismiss the conversation. Always be respectful. Getting to know them can still be meaningful, both in this moment and down the line.

Above all, you don’t have to be shy when making the first move. With Bumble, you won’t have to deal with the fear of imposition that often creeps up on us when IRL networking – if someone didn’t want to hear from people like you, they wouldn’t have made a profile on the site.

Beyond: Bring Your Best To An IRL Meeting

Once you’ve started chatting with someone you find inspiring, don’t let the online communication fizzle out into nothing. At this point, Bumble’s already helped you become a pro at making the first move, so you’re now able to suggest grabbing coffee or lunch with your new connection. This in-person interaction may be harder than talking to them online, but remember that networking means foster real, human relationships, and you can’t do that solely from behind a screen.

To initiate a meetup, stay simple with something like: “I would love to grab coffee with you sometime and hear your thoughts on [x], or learn more about your experiences with [x].”

Just like when you first match with them, you want to be specific. Grabbing coffee “just to chat” might leave you floundering for something to say when you’re finally in front of them, so come prepared—you can think of questions before, and even practice talking about them beforehand. But also bring your own ideas and experiences to the table; just because you may be younger or newer to the field, that doesn’t mean your creativity is invalid. By showing them what you know and how eager you are to learn, they’ll remember you as a leader, and as someone they may want to hire or work with later on.

If you want to learn more and flex your new networking skills, join us in NYC for Her Conference 2018 where Bumble will be joining us as a featured guest. It’s the ultimate opportunity for you to practice making the first move, and you’ll leave with a full set of new connections and girl boss colleagues to keep up with.