Networking is like baking a cake – you need the right ingredients in the right amounts to bake a tasty cake or build an effective professional network.

One of our favorite industry influencers and career coaches, Lou Adler, gives this advice:

“While networking takes a lot of work, there are two HUGE benefits ……

1) you don’t need to be a perfect match on skills and experiences
2) the jobs themselves are not cookie cutter jobs, but have the potential to be significant career opportunities”

So the choice is yours, waste your time hoping to find a decent job, or build a network to help you build a career.

We find this to be so true, especially in today’s world of increased connectivity. Whether coaching a college graduate in creating a new profile on LinkedIn and explaining why it is so valuable in their future career vs other social media outlets (Twitter, Instagram, FB) or helping a seasoned candidate make a change in their career path, the message is the same. You should always be adding to and building your professional network of peers, mentors and leaders, business contacts, social & professional groups, and companies in your field since they are the ones who often know of new job opportunities before they are ever posted to the public. Effective networking is key to career stability, mobility, and overall job growth & satisfaction.

~ Linda Kay ~

What are some ingredients to building a professional network?

• Start with your LinkedIn profile – update it and expand it every week by inviting people you know to connect with you
• Join as many groups as you can, both in person and online, and contribute to discussions/meetings etc
• Volunteer in company related activities as well as those in your personal life
• Offer your time/talent/treasure to those in need – become a mentor in your field to someone just starting out; share your talents with those around you whether it’s at your child’s school, church, or company out-reach program
• Get personal – call someone rather than text or email; meet for coffee/lunch/dinner – you never know who might be a future reference for you
• Read/Research/Learn – strive to grow and challenge yourself every day – learn something new to share with others

Whether building a cake or a professional network, the right ingredients in the right amount will make it worth your time and effort. Enjoy!

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