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Tools to Uplift Your Networking Practices

Professional Networking Tools

About 35% of professionals from a study said that casual conversations on LinkedIn led to new opportunities. Despite this, professional networking is an undervalued and underutilized asset for a job search. In our other articles, we have explained the benefits of networking, best practices, and global trends. This article will introduce you to some tools and resources to motivate you and support your networking practices. 

1) Networking Apps

In 2021, you have apps for everything, including networking. Yes, some apps are built with the sole purpose of connecting professionals from all over the world. These are different from professional social media platforms like LinkedIn. In this section, we will have a look at some of these apps that can connect you with professionals from your industry with a single swipe.

a) Shapr

Shapr is a networking app that allows you to sign up with your LinkedIn account. It asks you to update your profile and areas of interest based on target industries. It then shows you professional profiles and asks you to swipe on professionals with common interests. Once a mutual interest is established with someone, it connects you with the person. It is suitable for candidates looking for jobs, employers looking to hire talent, and professionals wanting to chat with other professionals in their domain.

b) Bumble Bizz

Bumble Bizz allows professionals to connect based on location and similar interests. Just like Shapr, it requires you to create an account and update your professional interests. It also provides networking-related career advice to its users. It helps you create life-changing connections at your own pace, on your own terms”.

c) InterNations

InterNations supports professionals who are working in foreign countries. It connects you with other expats in your current location. To join this app, you need to provide your details and get your profile approved by the platform. Since this is a member-only app, you can only enjoy its benefits once you have successfully joined the app. Once this has happened, you can be a part of the events happening around you.

2) Networking Platforms

When it comes to networking platforms, LinkedIn dominates the market. Although this doesn’t mean that there aren’t good alternatives. Being active on LinkedIn and other alternate platforms at the same time can enhance your chances of coming closer to your dream job. Some alternate platforms that you can use are:

  1. Xing
  2. Opportunity Network
  3. Doostang
  4. LetsLunch
  5. Jobcase
  6. Hired

3) Appointment Tools

As a candidate, your goal should be to speak with 2-3 people from your personal and professional network daily. To do this, you must efficiently manage your meetings and calls. However, scheduling hassles and interruptions could hinder the process. In this section, we will introduce you to some appointment scheduling tools to help you manage your calls effectively.

a) Calendly

Calendly is a scheduling app that allows you to schedule all your meetings quickly and smoothly. If you request time preferences from your guests, the app will help you identify your availability and avoid any calendar conflicts. You can also set your time and location preferences in your calendar and send the link to your target audience. Your guest can choose the time based on their convenience, allowing Calendly to set up the meeting automatically. The app also sends regular reminders to its users.

4) Note-taking Tools

There could be a lot to discuss in a professional networking meeting. As someone attending it to gain knowledge, you should be prepared to note down relevant information. Not having a pen and paper or some space on your laptop to take down notes may result in chaos. This increases the chances of missing out on some information or coming across as unprepared. We suggest using some efficient note-taking apps to make sure every relevant information is recorded and stored with you. Some apps that you can use are:

  1. Evernote
  2. Microsoft OneNote
  3. Notion
  4. Google Keep
  5. SimpleNote
  6. Standard Notes
  7. Zoho Notebook

5) Networking Events

Some professionals may find one-to-one meetings with strangers daunting and unpleasant. If you are one of those, we want to assure you that you are not alone. Feeling anxious is natural and there are ways to work on it. Socializing offline and online on a regular basis can help you attend one-to-one networking meetings confidently. Here is a list of a few events that you can attend to familiarize yourself with the socializing process:

  1. Events organized by your current organization
  2. Alumni events
  3. Professional conferences

Some effective sources to find such events are:

  1. Eventbrite
  2. Findnetworkingevents
  3. Google Search
  4. Meetup
  5. Business Junction

6) Networking Practices Checklist

A strategic approach to networking is crucial. However, this may be difficult for candidates who have been introduced to networking as a job search tool recently. Thus, to optimize the networking process for you, we have created a networking practices checklist that you can find below.

a) Understanding your target audience

This is the first step where you understand the basic characteristics of your target audience. For this, you need to have an idea of the purpose of your networking and the set of people who can help you. Based on this, you can identify their location, target industry or company, and function.

b) Identifying professionals and reaching out to them

After identifying the basic characteristics of your target audience, you should start looking for professionals that fall in this category. You can use online and offline platforms to identify these contacts & connections. After establishing a link with these professionals, you should reach out to them.

c) Setting up a meeting

Your next step should be to set up a meeting with these professionals. Make sure you are clear, concise, and professional when requesting a meeting. Let them know the purpose of your request and decide a time and place (or platform of your virtual meeting) convenient for both of you.

d) Attending the meeting

Before the meeting, prepare a list of some questions and perform research on the professional background of your guest. This would help you stay on topic and ask relevant questions, also creating a good first impression. Make sure you arrive for your online or offline meeting 5 minutes before the actual time. Be prepared with your notes, in case a need arises.

e) Next steps

Your next steps should be to take action based on the suggestions or advice provided by your guest. This could include sending your career documents to them or reaching out to a different connection to establish a relationship. Ensure that your networking process does not end with the meeting but with taking essential steps to bring you closer to your dream job.

Networking can take a lot more time than expected to reap benefits. Nonetheless, being proactive, patient, and persistent can take you a long way. If you need some professional advice along the way, we would be more than happy to assist you in taking the next step towards your dream job.