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Networking. We all know we need to do it for our careers, but it can sometimes be painful to get it done.
Women in particular are often told they need to network more often and differently than men to close the opportunity gap in the workplace.
Technology created largely by women and for women is helping to bridge that gap. Here are five apps that aim to make networking more fun and more efficient for women.
1. Bumble Bizz
Bumble was the first appthat let only women make the first move in dating. It's work-focused partner, Bumble Bizz, has the same female-first approach to networking.
Women make the first move to find professional connections, and the app matches you geographically so you'll find people in your local area. A new feature in the app, Women in Bizz, also lets women limit their professional networking to solely other women.
Bumble says the Bizz function has the same photo verification tool as the dating app to "ensure the people you’re connecting with are who they say they are."
Shapr is described as the “Tinder for networking” because you swipe right on professionals you want to meet.
You fill in your information plus what you’re looking for, whether it’s a job, a colleague, a friend or someone in your industry. You can also pick interests based on what you want to talk about, including one of the most popular: #FeministOnShapr.
The app sends you a curated feed of professionals so you don’t have to spend time searching. You can choose how to swipe on that smaller feed.
The Present app was designed specifically for women when it launched last year. It has since gone co-ed but still allows women to connect exclusively with other women.
Present uses common interests and location to help connect people, in what it calls circles. You can create a circle or join a circle of interest.
If you want to gather people for an event like happy hour, for example, you can start a circle and the app will notify friends nearby.
Femnesty is a free app that connects women around the world. You can use it to connect with individual women or with women-focused organizations.
The app also lets you create your own groups based on points of interest or experience, and is a discussion platform where women can share and write posts and articles.
5. Seneca Connect
Seneca Connect is designed to help women "fast forward" their careers through networking, but is also a place women can go to shop from women-owned businesses and take part in women-focused events.
The app also features advice from women leaders and a curated news feed.
The app is part of the broader Seneca Women platform, named after the famous Seneca Falls Convention and based on the book “Fast Forward: How Women Can Achieve Power and Purpose.”