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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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                  Last Updated on December 3, 2019

                  7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

                  7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

                  I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

                  It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

                  A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

                  1. Define Career Success for Yourself

                  Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

                  What does career success mean to you?

                  This is about defining your career success:

                  • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
                  • Not what people may think of you
                  • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
                  • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

                  “A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

                  When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

                  There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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                  • Work-life balance
                  • Opportunities for growth and advancement
                  • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

                  Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

                  • What do you mean by work-life balance?
                  • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
                  • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

                  Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

                  • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
                  • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
                  • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

                  Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

                  • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
                  • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
                  • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

                  Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

                  Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

                  What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

                  2. Know Your Values

                  Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

                  There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

                  Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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                  • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
                  • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
                  • Put the words on your fridge
                  • Add the words on your vision board

                  Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

                  3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

                  When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

                  How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

                  Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

                  • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
                  • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
                  • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
                  • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
                  • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
                  • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

                  Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

                  • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
                  • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
                  • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
                  • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

                  Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

                  By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

                  4. Determine Your Top Talents

                  What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

                  What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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                  What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

                  What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

                  What do you notice?

                  5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

                  Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

                  I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

                  Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

                  Keep these words visible too!

                  Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

                  6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

                  Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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                  Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

                  “These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

                  7. Manage Your Own Career

                  Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

                  Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

                  Summing Up

                  For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

                  Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

                  Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

                  1. Define Career Success for Yourself
                  2. Know Your Values
                  3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
                  4. Determine Your Top Talents
                  5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
                  6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
                  7. Manage Your Own Career

                  “When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

                  Good luck and best wishes always!

                  More Tips on Advancing Your Career

                  Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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