Advertising
Advertising

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

Advertising

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.

      Advertising

      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.

          Advertising

          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.

              Advertising

              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.

                  More by this author

                  Don’t Go Into Marriage If You Haven’t Done These Things 30 Things You Need to Experience to Understand How Amazing Life is Facebook TouchGraph 10 Brilliant Tools For Managing And Boosting Your Professional Network 10 Things That People Love About You 10 Qualities That Will Make You Successful

                  Trending in Work

                  1 How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work 2 20 Critical Skills to Include on Your Resume (For All Types of Jobs) 3 The Best Interview Questions to Hire Only the Elites 4 How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed 5 15 Smart Ways to Approach Interpersonal Relationships at Work

                  Read Next

                  Advertising
                  Advertising
                  Advertising

                  Last Updated on August 20, 2019

                  How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

                  How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

                  Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up.

                  You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out. But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

                  Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

                  “If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

                  It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

                  Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

                  As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

                  As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

                  Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

                  Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

                  1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

                  When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

                  Advertising

                  Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

                  2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

                  Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

                  But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

                  If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

                  Check out these important listening skills: 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

                  3. Go to All Office Networking Events

                  Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

                  If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

                  Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

                  Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

                  The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

                  Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

                  Advertising

                  4. Show Initiative

                  Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

                  Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

                  Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

                  5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

                  Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

                  Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

                  6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

                  A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

                  Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

                  Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

                  A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

                  Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

                  Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

                  Advertising

                  These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

                  Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

                  7. Find a Mentor

                  With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

                  Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

                  Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

                  Not sure how to find the right mentor? Here’s How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed.

                  8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

                  After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

                  What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

                  Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

                  Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

                  Advertising

                  You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

                  9. Set Your Professional Bar High

                  Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

                  Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

                  Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

                  Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

                  The Bottom Line

                  Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

                  “Half of life is showing up.”

                  The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

                  Remember, your career is your business!

                  More About Continuous Growth

                  Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

                  Read Next