Career Conundrum: How the F Do I Keep Track of All My Contacts?

Hint: Not like that.

Woman at desk topping papers in air
(Image credit: Getty)

You've gotten over the millennial fear of having no chill and tricked people into thinking you're a Professional Adult (opens in new tab). Some of them even gave you their business cards (opens in new tab)! Now what? 

Instead of wallpapering your bathroom with palm-size pieces of printed calfskin—or worse yet, shoving them in your junk drawer until they disintegrate—do the responsible thing and organize your new business contacts based on how likely they are to have useful provisions in the event of an alien invasion. Or something like that. 

If You Get Your Technology Skills from Your Dad

Um, try a Rolodex? JK, JK. The bare minimum of professional contact management is being able to separate the networkers from the networkees, or, in other words, having enough of a system in place so you don't accidentally hand someone a card that's not yours. The most elegant solution for this, brought to you by Vicki Salemi, career expert for Monster (opens in new tab), is to keep two card holders in different colors (opens in new tab): one for yours, one for theirs. You'll have to deposit and alphabetize their contents elsewhere, but it's so simple...I could do it. 

If You Believe the Trees Need Saving

At a recent event, I watched as Jenna Blaha, Marie Claire tech editor and assistant to Nina Garcia, whipped out her phone, opened Evernote (opens in new tab), and thoroughly confused an older gentleman who kept insisting she take his card. But she did—virtually. When you snap a pic of a person's card, the app adds him or her to your contacts and emails them your info. All you have to do after that is smile, hand it back, and crack a joke about saving paper. WorldCard Mobile (opens in new tab) and Bump (opens in new tab) have similar functions.

If Your Networking Game Could Use a Kick in the Pants

ICYMI: Networking doesn't end with collecting business cards like you're on a quest for a shiny Mewtwo. You have to build and maintain relationships with the people you meet, and THANK GOODNESS there's an app for that. With Gist (opens in new tab), you can view the last time you reached out to your contacts and how many emails you've sent and received from them so it doesn't get too spammy. (Mantra: You need slightly more than zero chill in this game.) And you know about those cool calendar alert thingies? As reminders to follow up (in a helpful way) or go on a (tasteful) double-tapping spree (opens in new tab), those work just fine too.  

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Chelsea Peng
Assistant Editor

Chelsea Peng is a writer and editor who was formerly the assistant editor at MarieClaire.com. She's also worked for The Strategist and Refinery29, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. On her tombstone, she would like a GIF of herself that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, she's into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard she has to go lie down.