Curious about Clubhouse? Everyone's talking about the new social media app.

After 2020, networking has gone even more digital — and it's not just about LinkedIn and Zoom happy hours. A new, buzzy social media app called Clubhouse is becoming more and more popular.

So what is Clubhouse and how does it work? And what do you need to know about the app before you join? Use this beginner's guide to Clubhouse to get started.

What is Clubhouse?

Clubhouse is an audio-only social app. It calls itself a “drop-in audio chat.” Think of it like a party line or conference call. You can pop into various "rooms" to listen to and participate in live discussions.

One important detail about Clubhouse is that it is invite-only. If you want to participate, you must be invited by a current member or join a waitlist. Chances are, a friend, co-worker, or network connection is already on the app and could help you enter the exclusive space.

As of February 2021, Clubhouse has more than 10 million users. Even celebrities and moguls like Kevin Hart and Elon Musk are joining the network, using it as an opportunity to connect with fans.

Although Clubhouse was only released in April 2020, its popularity has already triggered a wave of copycats. Twitter, LinkedIn, Slack, and Spotify are all hoping to add audio social networking features to their platforms.

It's worth noting the app is currently available via iOS only; an Android version is in the works.

How does Clubhouse work?

Once you join Clubhouse, you can add your interests, which will help Clubhouse personalize your experience. You can also follow other users, including your contacts, influencers, and celebrities. You'll then create your profile. Newbies get a party popper hat on their profile picture.

Now you can start exploring. Scroll the homepage or use the Explore page to find other users, topics, clubs, and rooms. (Think of it like the Discover tab on Instagram.)

Let's break down some of the Clubhouse lingo you'll want to know:

  • The Hallway: This is what Clubhouse calls its homepage. You'll see this when you first open the app.
  • Clubs: Clubs are interest-based groups members can join (and create once they've hosted three discussions). You can also follow a club if you don't want to become a member.
  • Clubhouse Rooms: These are the chat rooms where conversations take place. In each room, you'll see which club is hosting the room, the name of the room, and a list of speakers and audience members. You can drop in and out of rooms at any time.

Currently, there's no transcription feature, and recording a session can get you booted out of the app.

If you want to dive deeper into Clubhouse, we suggest checking out its new user guide.

How can I use Clubhouse for networking?

Sure, Clubhouse can be a just-for-fun thing or a source of inspiration, but it can also present some great networking opportunities. Here are some tips to help you leverage the platform and expand your connections. (You never know when you'll meet a hiring manager or your next boss!)

1. Set up your profile

Just like any other social networking site, you'll want to complete your profile before you jump into rooms and start participating. Here are some tips to ensure your profile is professional:

  • Upload a friendly, professional photo of yourself.

  • Make sure your name is the same as what appears on your resume, LinkedIn profile, and other sites. Consistency is key.

  • Write a bio that describes you in the context of how you plan to use Clubhouse. Highlight your expertise and experience with the most important points at the top. You can have some fun and use emojis, so like as you keep it appropriate. Keep everything short and scannable. Feel free to Google “Clubhouse bio examples” for inspiration.

  • Don't forget to link your Instagram and Twitter accounts (as long as they're up to date and professional), so people can find you and know you're legit. You can also write out the URL for your LinkedIn profile, online portfolio, or blog, but unfortunately, you can't link those. Pro tip: Include a call to action at the end of your bio to encourage new connections.

2. Monitor topics related to your interests and career

When you sign up for Clubhouse, make sure you select your interests. This will help the app recommend relevant rooms and clubs for you. You can also use the social calendar to find subjects you're interested in.

When it comes to finding networking opportunities, keep an eye out for:

  • Topics related to your line of work, specialization, or industry

  • Topics related to your interests outside of work. This could lead to a new side hustle or help you grow your network. It's always nice connecting with people who have shared passions, especially if they're a little quirky.

  • Industry thought leaders, recruiters, and career experts (such as TopResume's career expert, Amanda Augustine). Keeping tabs on these folks will allow you to know when they're joining rooms and participating in conversations of interest to you.

3. Don't be shy

There's a little less pressure when it comes to networking online (versus IRL), so don't be afraid to contribute to a discussion. All you have to do is click “raise your hand.”

You can also create your own event. Reach out to other hosts in the space with experience and see if they want to co-host.

Keep in mind that although the rooms are live and ephemeral, what you say will still reflect on your reputation. If you plan to use Clubhouse for networking, keep your conduct professional.

4. Follow up after a great conversation

Have a great discussion? Follow up! Clubhouse doesn't have direct messaging, but you can use the information in the person's bio to make contact.

If you like what someone is saying in a room, you can even check out their bio while they are still speaking. This doesn't stop the audio, so you can scroll through their bio and continue to listen in to see if this is someone you'd like to connect with.

When following up, keep your message concise, direct, and professional. If you can, make a reference to something they said in a room that resonated with you.

5. Beware of scammers

All digital ecosystems have scammers, and even though Clubhouse is still relatively new, it's no different. Here are a few tips to stay away from scams:

  • If a person has linked their Twitter and/or Instagram profile to their bio, check it out. See if it matches up, and make sure the person is legit.

  • Never pay for anything. Some scammers will try to get you to pay to download or use the app or specific features, but keep in mind that the app is totally free. Other scammers may promise to edit your manuscript or offer other services for an upfront fee. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

  • Be careful what you share. The Los Angeles Times reports “business experts” will run pitch rooms where they'll invite people to share their business ideas, and then register related domain names. The idea is these entrepreneurs will then want to buy the domain names — and the scammers will charge big bucks for them.

In an article on Medium, Rahaf Harfoush, a tech and culture guru, outlined five questions to ask before taking advice or spending money on the app, including:

  1. Is this person selling me an unrealistic narrative?

  2. Does this person's success extend beyond selling me how-to-be-successful tools?

  3. Are their credentials independently verifiable?

  4. Do they use predatory sales tactics?

  5. Do I understand their business model?

Above all, though, Harfoush reminds Clubhouse users that not everything is a scam — just be careful like you would on any other app or social platform.

Conclusion

Clubhouse is one of many great new tools out there for digital networking, and it's another platform for building your personal brand. If you can get an invite, it's a great place to network from home and keep tabs on the latest news, trends, and thought leaders in your industry.

And if you're an Android user: Don't fear. Tech publications are reporting the Android app will be coming out as soon as May 2021.

Another free tool to help your career is TopResume's free resume review. Submit your resume for expert feedback on your important job-search tool.

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