Weekend Accelerator – March 2, 2014

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We hope you didn’t miss any of our posts this past week, but if you did, you can always come back to the Weekend Accelerator! Here, every week our team will make sure to compile everything we’ve shared, and throw a couple of other interesting articles to make your Sunday is more tech-filled!

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Best Practices for Maintaining Your Professional Network

 

Networking

Building a valuable professional network is about more than collecting business cards; it’s about creating a professional relationship. In a relationship, what’s the best way to let the other person know you’re thinking of them? Do you send a card, a thank you note or a quick “Hello!” on social media? These same tasks, if completed regularly, are effective ways to maintain a professional network whether you’re new to the field or an established professional.

Reach Out

After you’ve built a professional network, you’ll need to reach out to each individual to keep in touch. It’s not realistic to think that established professionals will contact you specifically unless you’ve made an impact on them. Take time to connect with your professional contacts by sending personalized messages to them. Sending emails is helpful, but in this technology-driven world, many professionals are flattered by receiving a tangible card or note instead. It shows you took the extra time to plan, write and send your message to them directly.

Don’t Be Greedy

Maintaining a healthy professional network requires a lot of give on your part – and very little take, if any. Don’t get greedy by concentrating on what your contact can do for you. Instead, take the time to be helpful and informative. Freely share information, resources and knowledge with your professional contacts and encourage an ongoing conversation. As a result, members of your professional network will come to know you as a thought leader and information resource.

Hold Events

Professional networking doesn’t help either party if your contacts are simply a name and number scratched onto a piece of paper. The idea behind maintaining a professional network is engaging with others and making your professional presence visible to industry leaders. Consider holding a networking event at least once a year and invite your professional network. If you’re not able to host an event yourself, keep tabs on local events and make your plans to attend known to your network. The more time spent with your contacts face to face, the more memorable you will become.

Join Associations

By joining an industry-related association, you’re able to meet with members of your professional network in an environment conducive to professional growth. Are any members of your professional network already active in an association? If it relates to your field, consider joining the association and becoming active as well. While you expand your professional network through membership, you also receive ample opportunity to spend more time with existing contacts.

Make Referrals

Making a business referral to a member of your professional network is a good way to inspire your contact to engage with you while showing a high level of confidence in their professional abilities. If you’re unsure about the appropriateness of a referral, send a quick email to the contact first to review the circumstance. Sending a referral to a professional contact also provides a reason to follow up and further engage with them.

For more information about building and maintaining your professional network, contact IT Accel today!

Weekend Accelerator – February 23, 2014

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We hope you didn’t miss any of our posts this past week, but if you did, you can always come back to the Weekend Accelerator! Here, every week our team will make sure to compile everything we’ve shared, and throw a couple of other interesting articles to make your Sunday is more tech-filled!

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5 Apps to Grow Your Professional Network

apps

In today’s age of advanced technology, there’s no excuse to continue fiddling with your overstuffed Rolodex. Fortunately, the use of smartphones has led to a professional networking revolution accessible from your fingertips. If you’re in search of a quick, easy, and pain-free way to manage and grow your professional network, check out the following five apps.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s mobile app makes the top of the list for obvious reasons. Available on iOS and Android devices, LinkedIn’s app enables users to quickly connect with existing and potential contacts. From the app’s interface, users can manage profiles and follow influencers. The app also allows users to view and save job leads, simplifying the job search process. Additionally, users have the option of managing their premium subscription to LinkedIn through the app’s interface.

Power Contacts

For a small fee, Power Contacts packs a punch. Developed for use with the iPhone, Power Contacts features robust data export options that allow users to manage contacts and share contact information with other programs. Supported programs include Gmail, Outlook, Salesforce, SugarCRM, and many more. This app allows users to save business cards and contact information in one place and provides tools that enable users to quickly locate contacts of interest. As a bonus, users can send a LinkedIn invitation from Power Contacts’ interface.

CardDrop

CardDrop is a mobile app that allows users to quickly and easily create and share business cards. Available in the AppStore, CardDrop can be accessed from the web or an iPhone with device-specific versions to be released later this year. A unique aspect about CardDrop is the program’s ability to allow users to “drop” a card at a certain location for pick-up by a contact later. Essentially, this app enables the creation and sharing of business cards “on the fly” without the need for additional resources.

Viadeo 

Available on iPhone or iPad Touch, Viadeo is a unique professional networking app that combines professionalism and social networking to ensure you’re able to stay in touch at all times. This tool includes a robust contact management feature that allows users to call contacts, read and respond to messages and facilitate the growth of a healthy professional network. Unlike other apps, Viadeo provides users with real-time notifications. The program’s job search function makes landing your ideal position easy.

Biznik

Considered one of the top networking apps for entrepreneurs, Biznik’s app enables users to promote their skills and aspirations through its user-friendly interface. The major advantage of using Biznik is that it provides access to a large network of professionals, facilitating the growth of a professional network. Unlike other apps, Biznik is committed to enhancing professionalism by connecting entrepreneurs with experienced professionals in multiple industries.

Supercharge Your Professional Network

Regardless of which app you plan to use, technology has made it possible to connect with millions of professionals at the touch of a screen. In the old days, professional networking was unorganized and time consuming with very little promise of making a quality connection. Now, with the help of these five apps, professionals around the world are able to connect with like-minded individuals within seconds.

 

For more information about succeeding in the IT world, contact IT Accel today!

Weekend Accelerator – February 16, 2014

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We hope you didn’t miss any of our posts this past week, but if you did, you can always come back to the Weekend Accelerator! Here, every week our team will make sure to compile everything we’ve shared, and throw a couple of other interesting articles to make your Sunday is more tech-filled!

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How to Discuss Starting Salary in the Interview

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Interviewing for any position can be stressful. For job seekers, discussing starting salary can lead to heightened anxiety about an interview’s outcome. However, despite the discomfort, discussing starting salary – and being prepared to negotiate – is a must. Without discussing salary during an interview, you’re much more likely to be dissatisfied with your compensation later. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to ensure you’re well-prepared to discuss salary and able to make a strong impression.

Prepare

Before interviewing for an IT position, do your homework. Research the company you’re interviewing with and their industry goals. Identify your strengths and weaknesses with regard to the available position. Also, review the average salaries for IT professionals working in this specific industry. Entry level salaries may be higher or lower depending on specialty. To make an on-the-spot judgment about a position’s salary, it’s essential to walk into an interview equipped with this information.

Make Sure the Timing is Right

Asking about starting salary in the very beginning of an interview nearly guarantees an awkward interview. First, it leads the interviewer to think salary is the only aspect of the position you care about. In addition, asking salary questions before you’ve discussed the details of the position gives the impression that you’re desperate – a red flag for many hiring companies.

Hopefully, the person interviewing you will bring up salary first. If that doesn’t happen, wait until you have a good grasp of what the position entails before asking. Ideally, the best time to bring up starting salary is sometime between the middle and end of your interview.

Ask about Pay Range

Instead of asking for a specific number, inquire about the expected pay range for the position. Asking about a pay range, as opposed to an exact figure, makes approaching the subject of salary less intrusive while providing you with an idea of what the company is willing to spend.

Based on the range you’re given, is this range appropriate for your level of experience and skill set? Even if you’re offered a salary near the high end of this range, will you receive what you’re truly worth? These are important questions to silently consider before starting the negotiation process.

Leave Room for Negotiation

Discussing starting salary at the right time leaves room for negotiation before the interview wraps up. Some experts believe that negotiation during an initial interview is essential, while others insist you wait until you’ve received an official job offer. By doing your homework, however, you’ll be prepared to negotiate whenever it seems appropriate.

Often, getting information about potential salary range is enough to guide your decision-making process. When negotiating during an interview, opt to negotiate for a higher base pay instead of bonuses. This leaves room to negotiate for bonuses later, long after you’ve become established with the company. If you choose to wait until you’ve received a job offer, review the entire compensation package offered – and get those offers in writing.

For more information about getting ahead in the IT world, contact IT Accel today!

Weekend Accelerator – February 9, 2014

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We hope you didn’t miss any of our posts this past week, but if you did, you can always come back to the Weekend Accelerator! Here, every week our team will make sure to compile everything we’ve shared, and throw a couple of other interesting articles to make your Sunday is more tech-filled!

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