As if you weren’t already feeling a little overwhelmed by the number of resources at your fingertips specifically designed to help you find love (can there really be that many dating apps?), we have a new proposition. What if you started using sites and apps that weren’t originally intended to help you find a date to do just that? Recently, singles have started using these platforms — namely, LinkedIn — in a more social manner… and matchmakers aren’t necessarily opposed to it. Apparently, the site is helpful for more than just researching the best companies to work for!

“We are pretty shameless and creative in our approach [to making matches],” says Tina Wie, chief operating officer of matchmaking service Three Day Rule. “LinkedIn can just be another tool in your toolbox to find love.”

According to Wie, the increasingly social use of LinkedIn is part of a general trend toward singles diversifying their approach to online dating. Twitter and Instagram, for example, were never imagined explicitly as matchmaking apps — but that hasn’t stopped people from seeking out likeminded people within those platforms and pursuing them as love interests.

Why does LinkedIn lend itself to dating? “[It’s] actually a great and easy way to discover people with an interesting perspective or point of view, especially since the platform allows anyone with a profile to publish content and articles written on an area of expertise or topic of interest,” Wie says. “If you happen to see an article written by someone on a topic that you’re interested in, or if you’re intrigued by the professional accomplishments of someone whose profile you stumble upon… you could find yourself attracted to them, and wanting to learn more!”

Relative to other “non-dating dating apps” (Twitter, Instagram, etc.), we can also totally get behind LinkedIn’s deemphasis on the physical. While LinkedIn users can upload photos to their profile, looking for love on the highly professional platform naturally has a much stronger focus on intellectual and workplace achievements than on perfectly filtered images and flawless bods.

Other LinkedIn features that lend themselves to dating, Wie says, are the demographic filters (for characteristics like occupation and city) and mutual connections, which can serve as helpful conversation starters should you decide to reach out. Even pro matchmakers are beginning to catch on to the site as a useful tool — and they’ve been getting positive reactions.

“We will sometimes utilize LinkedIn to find matches for a client looking for a particular corporate type,” Wie says. “The majority of the time, when we randomly reach out to someone that we think has an intriguing profile, the person is very flattered that we [did], and is open to learning more.”

Naturally, there are limitations romance-wise within a site that was never intended for use in matchmaking. Profiles don’t specify whether a user is single or taken, and why would they? Most users — at least to this point — would not have guessed as they were setting up their profiles that this personal information would ever lead to a love connection. A rep from LinkedIn confirms that the platform was never really intended for use in matters of the heart. That being said, she acknowledges that, given the prevalence of workplace romances IRL, it’s not entirely surprising that a trend toward matchmaking may be emerging within the professional network.

Reaching out to a LinkedIn user whose list of impressive accomplishments on the job gives you butterflies is no less awkward — and may even be more awkward — than approaching a crush at the office. As always, we turned to the experts for advice on how to overcome our nerves in this situation.

“If you feel shy about being overly direct with messaging a random person that you are intrigued by on LinkedIn, feel free to be more indirect, and comment on an article they recently shared,” Wie says. “You can also ask them questions about their current or a past job.”

What do you think about using LinkedIn for dating? Tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photo via Getty)