Professional Network

Your professional network has a big role to play in determining your success quotient.

What’s the contact number for XYZ? You ask over your cubicle. Its 1234567890 comes the answer from your colleague. Thanks! And you get back to work. This is a typical story of any workplace where almost everyone scouts for names, numbers, e- mail IDs, addresses and sometimes even birthday dates! Some people have an enviable contact list of numbers that store everything from pizza delivery places to prospective client details while others make do with just asking around. However there are some others who have carefully preserved all visiting cards, but when it comes to the all important ones, they simply can’t find it out!

All this stems from the lack of organization that most working professionals tend to overlook while maintaining their contact list. Over the years of my professional life, one might have come across numerous people and owing to the nature of job always saved their contact details. So far, so good, but the contact details are not organized while some lie in office outlook, some are jotted down in diary that inevitably is at home when needed the most. Some cards are stuffed into card folder and the others all keyed into cell phone. The moral of the story is that when one needs some contact details he has to waste a lot of time searching for it. If only he or she was a little more organized, their life would have been easier. Most of us would identify with this situation. But as a young professional, one needs to be cautious not to follow this pattern. Here are a few dos and don’ts that will come in handy while you are maintaining your contact list:

Building a big bunch of contacts is like insurance premium, you need to start early so keep a list of numbers right from your first job. Many times as a fresher (F) you end up not having a contact list of your own.

But when the same F quit and moved on to a new company he needed to call some clients who were common to his new job as well. But unfortunately, he didn’t have the numbers and had to ask around. So make a list from day one of your career and carry it with you wherever you go. Thanks to the technology you can easily do this by emailing it to yourself in a word or excel sheet.

When you make a contact list, ensure that you put in as many details as possible. You can put in name, contact number, designation (birthdays too when it is a colleague or some one with whom you share a close rapport) Imagine giving your ex-boss a call on her birthday three years after you’ve quit the company.

Always maintain one single list of contacts: for professional and personal alike. In today’s times you don’t know when a friend becomes a professional colleague and a colleague ends up as becoming a friend. In fact, start making your contact list right from your final year in college, each of your classmates may be a future professional leads.

Some people also add their utilities or help to the same list. My client, my insurance agent, my banker and my boss are all equally important and are in the same list, informs a senior – IT professional. It’s always easier to find everything in one place.

Set time aside every fortnight to update your contact list or add new numbers and names that you might have collected recently. It is better to maintain a soft copy rather than piles of business cards. While maintaining a list, never delete a person’s credentials, always add on to it, so that you can track his growth.

1) Regularly check the contact details for their completeness
2) Ensure that you get the spellings right
3) Always eliminate duplicate records
4) Changes of information like names, addresses, change from maiden to married name should be carried out.