As 2018 comes to a close, I'm guessing more than a few of you are thinking that working on your networking skills would be a good new years resolution. Networking is something I enjoy and I'm always working on improving, so I thought I'd share with you all a few applications that will help you take your networking to a new level.
Postable. A thank you card is one of the most powerful ways to show appreciation when someone in your network does you a solid, like refer you for a job or give you some advice. Finding an envelope, stamps etc is a huge pain. Postable makes it so you can type it out online and in a few clicks and a few dollars later they mail very unique, seemingly handwritten cards. (even fooled my mother-in-law). Yes of course, doing it the old fashioned way is better, but this is a great alternative. Use my code "MRMKNB7Y" on Postable for some free credit.
Calendly. I'm a big fan of Calendly, it makes it extremely easy to find a time for a chat. It syncs with your calendar to only show people you want to schedule meetings with the times that you're available. Send them a link and people pick a time that works for them. Two pro tips. First, if you have a commute, set up a link dedicated to your commute. There is no excuse for not nurturing your network when you have a >20 minute commute, that's twice a day you can catch up with old colleagues or connect with new folks. Second tip, link Zoom and Calendly together to automatically create a Zoom link in the invite.
Amazon. Do not underestimate the power of a small thoughtful gift to someone in your network as a thank you or just to help someone out. You can't go wrong with one of your favorite books. If you have prime, you get free two day shipping for even low priced items. I often do this with students who reach out to me, I send them the Start up of You.
LinkedIn. Of course, the no brainer, but let me challenge you to think and use LinkedIn in two very specific ways when networking. First, on LinkedIn you get tons of updates from people on promotions, new jobs, being mentioned in the news. These are amazing opportunities to reach out, compliment, congratulate and touch based with someone who you may not have spoken to in awhile. Second, if you encounter a tough problem at work, chances are you're not alone, do deep searches and try to connect with someone in your industry who has faced the same problem. I've made lasting friendships by cold contacting people on LinkedIn and asking them if they are willing to share a few ideas one professional to another.
Best of luck in improving your networking in 2019, don't forget to give more than you receive when it comes to professional networking and you'll find an army of people around you helping you succeed.