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7 Tools and Apps for Managing Your Professional Network

7 Tools and Apps for Managing Your Professional Network

For anyone in a relationship-intensive business, managing professional contacts is extremely important, and can be quite time consuming. The below tools and apps help make managing your professional network more efficient and effective.

1. Rapportive

Rapportive

    Rapportive is a plug-in for Gmail that provides rich contact profiles right in your inbox. Rapportive has a number of benefits. First, it adds color to the generally very dry task of sending and receiving e-mails. Second, it makes it easier for you to research people you’re talking to by providing you with links to all of their social profiles. Third, it helps you find e-mail addresses of people you want to cold e-mail. If you have their e-mail address correct, it will display their profile.

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    2. Yesware

    Yesware

      The primary benefits of Yesware are e-mail tracking and e-mail templating. Yesware tracks the e-mails you send and reports who opened your e-mails, when they opened them, and what links they clicked on. E-mail templates drastically reduce the time you spend sending e-mails. Templates are especially valuable for e-mails you’re sending to multiple people, such as sales e-mails, update e-mails, and general network or pipeline management e-mails.

      3. Doodle

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      Doodle

        Scheduling meetings between busy people can be quite tedious and time consuming, often involving several e-mails back and forth trying to find mutual availability. Doodle streamlines scheduling by providing users with a personal page that displays times at which the user is busy and available. It automatically pulls data from calendars that are synced to it, but respects users’ privacy by only displaying “busy,” instead of displaying the name of the event listed in a user’s calendar. Instead of exchanging several e-mails back and forth to find mutual availability, send your Doodle page, and have your buddy pick a time-slot and add an appointment to your calendar directly from your page.

        4. PrepWork

        Prior to meeting with someone, it’s very important to research the person to find appropriate talking points and avoid wasting their time by asking questions that you can get answers to by searching online. People appreciate when it’s clear that you’ve effectively prepared for the meeting. It can also surface some talking points that you may not have known about, such as past companies they’ve been with, or shared interests outside of work. PrepWork sends you briefing e-mails each morning for each person’s e-mail address stored in an event you have on your calendar for that day.

        5. Job Change Alerts

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        Job Change Alerts

          Job Change Alerts sends you daily e-mail alerts on position and headline changes by your LinkedIn contacts. Building and maintaining professional relationships requires consistent and repeat communication. Learning about someone changing jobs or roles gives a great reason to reconnect with someone by congratulating them.

          6. Newsle

          Newsle

            Newsle sends you e-mails every time your connections are in the press. Newsle is a great way to keep up with what your contacts are doing and gives you a great reason to send someone an e-mail. You could even go the extra mile by sharing the article they were covered in via your Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn page. Promoting your contacts’ work is a great way to be helpful, which is an excellent way to build professional relationships.

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            7. Followup.cc

            Followup.cc helps you avoid forgetting to follow up and stay in touch with people. To build a relationship with someone you need to do more than just meet them once. You need to have repeated contact. Followup.cc allows you to get reminders sent to you as e-mails by sending e-mails to any date, time, or duration of time. For example, putting the address august18@followup.cc in the to, cc, or bcc fields will return the thread to your inbox on August 18. When an e-mail conversation with an important contact comes to an end, I send the thread to 1month@followup.cc to get a reminder to re-connect with the person in one month. When sending e-mails that have action required, I blind copy the appropriate time interval to get reminded to follow up. Keep reminders and to-dos out of your head and off of a list that you have to reference back to, and get them in your inbox where they will be at the center of your attention.

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            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.”

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            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:

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            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?

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            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.

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            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

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