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10 Brilliant Tools For Managing And Boosting Your Professional Network

10 Brilliant Tools For Managing And Boosting Your Professional Network

Remember the phrase that goes something along the lines of “It’s not what you know, but who you know”?

Networking is still a great way to achieve success in the professional world. Creating a community of people around you can provide needed support and even opportunities to collaborate on some pretty exciting projects with fellow professionals.

Thank goodness we live in a time where the Internet exists. There are so many brilliant tools out there that can not only help you boost your professional network, but also help you manage your network after you meet all these awesome people.

Save time and focus on fostering professional relationships with the help of these 10 tools:

1. Evernote Hello

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Evernote Hello

    Rather than organizing your network, Evernote Hello is all about meeting new people. Evernote Hello gathers location and time data, known as an “encounter,” which means that you can record multiple meetings with the same person. You can even introduce contacts to other people.

    What’s so great about Evernote Hello is its visual interface. All users are encouraged to submit photos, so you get to see who they are and what they look like, which is great if you’re a visual thinker. It’s similar to attending a professional networking event and getting to look at everyone’s name tags.

    You approach people you want to meet, without seeming like you’re ignoring everyone else. Everyone is organized into a gorgeous mosaic with the idea that you remember people by their face.

    2. Business Card Reader

    Business Card Reader

      This awesome software uses optical character recognition to convert business cards into contacts in your smartphone. It also integrates with Salesforce and Evernote. It is compatible with Android, Blackberry, iOS, Symbian, Java, and Windows.

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      3. Rapportive

        This is a really awesome add-on for Gmail because it’s so darn efficient without slowing Gmail down. Rapportive shows in your inbox everything you need to know about your contacts. If you email someone or they email you, you can head over to their social media links or even join their various groups. You can even add notes about your contact all while reading and replying to emails.

        Rapportive is free on Chrome, Mailplane, Firefox and Safari.

        4. Meet the Boss

        Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 6.22.02 PM

          This is a great service that allows you to reach out to C-level executives to help you figure out challenges in your business. You have the opportunity to meet other like-minded executives where you can participate in industry conversation. Not only do you have a place to learn from each other, but it provides a platform for you to meet and strengthen professional contacts, as well. You meet with others in real time all in the comfort of your own office.

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          5. Highrise

            Highrise might remind you of Facebook’s news feed. You can see what’s happening with your contacts, search for individuals, or even view their history. You can forward emails from your account and link messages to the right contact.

            6. Contactually

            Contactually

              This web-based and iPhone app service syncs with your Facebook, Gmail, and Twitter account. It scrapes your contact information and compiles it all on one online address book. With a click of a button on your dashboard, you can follow your contacts on Facebook or Twitter.

              Another great feature about Contactually is that it keeps track on your top contacts, depending on how often you interact with them. You can categorize them into groups, called “buckets,” so that you can follow up with contacts based on frequency. This service will set reminders for you, as well.

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              7. Yesware

                This app helps you figure out if your emails are actually reaching your prospective and current clients. It will notify you when your messages are opened, and will tell you what links are getting interaction. You can also check what devices they’re reading your emails on so you can better format your emails in the future to maintain your contacts.

                8. CardCloud

                  This free Android app creates a “stack” of digital business cards that you can exchange between smartphones. You can even email them using their CardCloud service. CardCloud will also remind you if you’ve “met” before you share cards.

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                  Published on October 8, 2019

                  How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

                  How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

                  The late writer William S. Burroughs once said that “When you stop growing, you start dying.” It might have a morbid undertone, but it’s one hundred percent true in terms of one’s career.

                  The days of finding a job with one company that you can stick with for 30 years, and simply relax as you move up its company escalator are few and far between in today’s world. This isn’t necessarily bad news. On the contrary, it means that you’re the one in charge of shaping your career advancement.

                  By putting these principles and behaviors into practice, you’ll begin to see how to advance your career quickly. Ready? Let’s get started…

                  1. Define What Success Is for You

                  There’s no right or wrong definition of what success in your career looks like. The important thing is to figure out what success looks like for YOU. It might, and probably will, change along the way, but if you don’t have some sort of milestone on the horizon, then you won’t know which direction to go in.

                  Think about success in your career in terms of one year, five years, and 10 years. Once you have that, it’s time to lace up your boots and get to work.

                  2. Learn How to Develop and Follow a Plan

                  Nobody just stumbles upon success accidentally. Sure, they may stumble upon breakthroughs or new methods accidentally, but all success stories have one thing in common — a plan.

                  Establish a timeline for the things that you want to achieve in your career in the next year, five years, 10 years, and so on. Consider the skills that you’ll need to learn to make these things happen and work on acquiring them.

                  3. Surround Yourself With Those Better Than You

                  It’s a rule of thumb among musicians that if you want to get better, then you need to get out of the bedroom and play with people who are better than you.

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                  By surrounding yourself with people who are better than you and where you want to be, you’ll not only see how these people climbed to where they are in their respective fields, but you’ll learn from them and naturally want to push yourself to be better in your own job as well.

                  4. Seek Out a Mentor(s)

                  A mentor will not only be able to help you refine and reach your career goals, but will be invaluable in landing promotions and finding unadvertised job openings.

                  One unique approach is to work on fostering a relationship with a mentor both within and outside of your company. This will help in giving you different perspectives as you rise up through the ranks in your company and career overall.

                  5. Stop Wasting Your Mornings

                  You may not think you’re a morning person, but if you can learn to be one, you’ll thank yourself 10 years down the road.

                  Prepare a to-do list of tasks that you want to accomplish the day before and work on knocking them out for at least one hour before you respond to morning emails. The problem with responding to emails first, is you’re giving your attention to somebody else’s agenda, instead of plotting your own course for the day.

                  6. Arrange or Attend a Networking Party

                  If you’re attending networking events simply because you might get a few free drinks, you’re doing them wrong. These events are great for meeting new people and forming relationships. Your goal shouldn’t be to get hired by the end of the night, but to simply make a good impression by being friendly and authentic. So what’s next?

                  Reach out a few days later via email or on social media to follow up and connect!

                  7. Pick Up Some New Skills

                  Nobody wants to be the old dog that can’t learn any new tricks. To move up in your career, you’re going to likely need to pick up new skills along the way. Maybe your company offers on-the-job training or you have the option of taking online classes at night.

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                  By learning new skills, you’ll not only be able to expand upon what you can already do, but you’ll make yourself more valuable to your employer and future employers.

                  8. Exploit the Benefits Already at Your Disposal

                  Remember what we just said about the possibility of your company providing on-the-job training? Take advantage of these sorts of benefits!

                  If you’re working for a company that allows you to job shadow other employees or has company mixers, you should attend these. They not only allow you to develop your skills within the company, but show seasoned executives within your field that you’re interested in more than just clocking in for a paycheck.

                  9. Make Yourself Indispensable

                  Good help is hard to find and employers want to retain outstanding employees. If you can learn to make yourself indispensable to your company, you’ll not only communicate that you’re successful, but will have a lot more job security. What’s this entail though?

                  It’s actually not all that difficult. By being reliable, adapting to new challenges, and holding your own work and performance to a high standard, you’ll stand out among your peers and others will take notice. Easy enough, right?

                  10. Get Off the Fence

                  People who advance in their careers are those who don’t shy away from voicing their opinion and stand up with authority when the opportunity arises.

                  If a problem arises in your company and you think you might have a solution or are willing to work to find one, then let others know. Employers value and promote problem solvers. Start off with something small and work your way up towards tackling more difficult tasks and projects.

                  11. Don’t Wait for More Responsibility, Ask for It

                  If you want more responsibility in your job, then be open about it with your manager. Your manager may be so busy with their own work that they weren’t aware you were looking for more challenges.

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                  Just make sure you can handle it and that you already show strong performance in your current duties. And if your manager doesn’t seem supportive about offering you more responsibility, well, then it could be time to look for new employment.

                  12. Stop Wasting Time on What You Don’t Want

                  If your career goals start with “I should do this…” there could be a problem. This kind of language in referring to goals can doom them to failure because the want isn’t there.

                  Consider using the RUMBA method (Reasonable, Understandable, Measurable, Behavioral and Agreed) when setting your goals. That “agreed” part should really be “want.” By going after career goals that you actually want to accomplish, you’re much more likely to achieve them.

                  13. Seek Out Feedback and Apply It

                  Simply doing your job might not always push you up in your career advancement. Too often, employees just assume that their bosses will notice their performance strides and reach out when the time is right to advance.

                  Don’t be afraid to regularly seek out feedback and ask for constructive criticism. It not only shows that you value your manager’s opinion but demonstrates that you care about your job and want to become better in your chosen field.

                  14. Pick Your Bosses Wisely

                  Advancing in your career can move a lot quicker if you’re working for the right people. If your boss isn’t any good at their job or doesn’t value you, then moving up could become difficult.

                  A great boss though, will be able to help you capitalize on your strengths and be an advocate for your success. If there aren’t any strong developers of talent in your management chain already, then look around for some and seek them out as mentors.

                  15. Learn to Develop Your Sense of Timing

                  The odds of asking for a promotion or raise are in your favor with over 70 percent of respondents to a survey from PayScale reporting some success. One thing to keep in mind that can make all the difference is when you ask.

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                  Some corporate cultures may prefer that employees reach out about advancement during their annual review, but maybe you work for a more free-spirited startup. The best approach may be to take note of when others advance and ask about how the organization handles employee development.

                  16. Work Hard and Promote Yourself

                  Working hard and delivering a solid job performance are the keys to advancing in your career no matter what field you’re in. This doesn’t mean you need to be completely humble about your accomplishments either.

                  Keep a record of your positive impact within the organization and let others both within your company and your field know that you’re enthusiastic about your role and work.

                  17. Don’t Just Build Your Network… Cultivate It

                  It’s way too easy to add new people to your LinkedIn network and then forget about them for all eternity. Rather than just collecting business cards or social media contacts, you should be cultivating relationships with the ones you already have.

                  Follow up with people that you haven’t spoken to in a while, offer to connect them with somebody you know in their field, or ask about a new job title they may have taken on. Doing so could be the spark that leads to a potential job referral.

                  18. Join a Professional Organization

                  The National Association of (insert your industry here) and other professional organizations can still offer a great wealth of advantages from networking to industry insights, and skill development.

                  Even outside of professional organizations dedicated to particular job fields, civic organizations can also be fantastic for making new contacts. After all, so much about career advancement is who you know, and you never know who you’ll meet who knows somebody else who is looking for someone with your skills and experience.

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                  Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.COM via unsplash.com

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