Are you looking to improve how you manage your personal network? In other words, how are you staying connected with people you’ve met or used to work with?
Keeping track of all the people you know, their contact information and when you’ve communicated with them can become a daunting task. It doesn’t have to be.
If you’ve learned anything, it’s that a strong network is key to your career success. So it’s imperative that you find a way to keep track of people.
Managing your personal network involves two things:
- Data collection
- Human contact
So let me ask you this. How are you:
- keeping up to date with what’s going on with people you know
- collecting information on target companies and hiring managers
- reminding people about your talents
It’s not enough to have an address book filled with names and contact information. You need to take action. Reach out, touch base! That’s what keeps your network alive!
People in sales live and die by their contacts. In fact, they’ve developed tools to track “leads”. CRM (customer relationship management) databases are important. But as the saying goes, garbage in, garbage out. As the owner of this database, you will want to do a thorough job of collecting and categorizing your contacts and updating your interaction with them.
Many of us use the good old Excel spreadsheet. That’s great. But, given the fact that you seldom sit behind your computer, you may want to have mobile access to your network. You want to be able to access your information via your smartphone.
If you’re really serious about owning your data, then consider JibberJobber.
JibberJobber allows you to keep track of the information you collect during a job search. Track the companies that you apply to (Target Companies). Track each job that you apply for, and log the status of each application (date of first interview, date thank you letter sent, etc.).
Here is the Quick Start Guide
JibberJobber is highly intuitive. If you are already using a spreadsheet to track your contacts and target companies, this might be easier to transfer over to.
The benefits of using Jibberjobber include a free lifetime membership, in other words, you will always have access to your account (and data you’ve entered)! The other benefit is that no matter where you are, you just need to log into your account to see your information. No more carrying around your spreadsheets, unless you like doing that.
LinkedIn is simpler, but you don’t own the information nor is it easy to keep track of how you met people you are connected with. It’s a good tool to use to find your connections and invite them to connect. This then gives you access to their email address so you can send the person an email. You can also review a person’s updates on LinkedIn. If you still aren’t using this tool to manage your network, please, get going.
Other Personal CRMs
You may use your email address book as a kind of CRM, but it doesn’t give you an easy way to manage, track or flag contacts. If you were lucky enough to use Salesforce or similar CRM, you understand the power a good CRM is capable of. I’m always on the lookout for free resources. At one point, I was piloting HubSpot’s CRM and it was great at helping me schedule follow-up emails.
I did a quick google search and there appear to be other free CRMs as well, so ask around and see what tools your friends are using to help organize their work (not just a job search).
How To Stay In Touch
Sometimes it helps to categorize your contacts. You can always change how you’ve categorized someone, but it may help you prioritize when or how often you reach out.
Strategically Grow Your Network helps you understand exactly what you need to do to be more purposeful in who you decide to contact.
In Nurture Your Network With These 11 Ideas you’ll find ways to stay in touch with the network you’ve built.
And here is a quick story about what NOT to do if someone offers you a name./lead Follow up on Leads
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.