Networking is one of the most effective ways to land a new job or continue to move upward and onward professionally. But for many people, networking ends up last on the to-do list. Like any good habit, effective networking is tied to regularity rather than with infrequent bursts of effort. Think of it as running a mile 3 times per week, as opposed to only attending one CrossFit class per month. When it comes to career networking pain points, common problems include:
- Finding the right people to connect with
- Figuring out how to contact them
- Keeping organized
However, some great tools exist that can help you navigate the career networking game like a pro. Check out these five new tools that solve common networking headaches and can boost your networking effectiveness in 2018.
“I need to get to know experts in my industry, but I don’t know who wants to network.” Ripple solves this classic problem for those that don’t have time to spend hours on LinkedIn:
Just swipe right.
The technology takes some of the psychological research that was used to create Tinder and applies those principles to professional networking. Instead of swiping “yes” or “no” based on pictures alone, Ripple presents stacks of professionals by highlighting job history, education, and industry skills. It quickly matches you with potential connections and removes the wasted time of reaching out to disinterested professionals.
Shapr is another tool that uses swipe functionality to help users meet relevant and mutually interested networking partners. Users register through LinkedIn and set preferences based on a list of up to 10 professional interests. Each day, Shapr suggests 10-15 potential matches based on geographic location, work experience, and interests. Users are only matched when the interest is mutual. This minimizes having to deflect annoying networking requests or agonize over who to contact for a meetup.
3. Clearbit Connect
Clearbit Connect is a handy solution for those moments when you realize that you lost an email address. It also helps to answer the question, “Who at X company should I get to know, and how do I reach them?” Clearbit Connect uses a Google Chrome extension that works as a search engine. Users click the Clearbit icon in their Gmail account and search for contacts by company. Clearbit then generates a list of people who work at that company along with their email address and job title. The first 100 searches each month are free.
PeopleMaven is like a Pinterest board for your professional networking process, providing organization and inspiration. It allows you to create your own lists of people who you find online. This smart bookmarking tool gives you the ability to quickly save people in an organized manner from any third party website. The site uses a Google Chrome extension to deliver this capability.
PeopleMaven allows users to create lists, add people to those lists, and share them with the world. This tool eliminates the frustration with having to go back and look for people who caught your eye while you are browsing on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or elsewhere online.
PeopleMaven’s categories range from entertainment to business. You can also scroll through lists generated by the PeopleMaven community.
CityHour is a convenient tool that immediately connects users with similar professional profiles who want to network within a 50-mile radius. This is especially useful if you have relocated and need to build a local professional network. CityHour is a practical solution for professionals who like to use unplanned downtime for networking purposes, particularly while on business travel.
Despite the ever-increasing demands on time from a work productivity standpoint, the right tools ensure that energy spent on networking can be more focused and effective than ever. Leveraging new technology helps to find the right people, connect with them seamlessly, and stay organized.
In other words, networking will forever be the important task that gets left for last. But if the right tools are used, who cares? Let the apps do the dirty work, so that you can focus on bringing your best, most effective self to the networking game.
Lewis C. Lin is the founder and CEO of PeopleMaven, a new social media tool to help job seekers save and discover new job and networking contacts. Chelsea K. Tucker also contributed this article.
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