Networking is like exercising. There's an opportunity for it virtually everywhere you go, but the strongest networkers dedicate specific hours and seek out the ideal environments. Get in the habit of practicing both your short game and your long game. Short game networking might involve striking up a conversation in the grocery store, or mentioning your job search to your accountant/hair dresser/fitness coach - people who interact with many professionals throughout the day.
Long game networking is a bit trickier, and requires some finesse. Become a member of a professional organization. For a small membership fee, you can often access professional events or fundraisers, where other people in your industry gather and mingle. These meet-and-greets can be intimidating for beginner networkers, so bring a friend. He or she doesn't have to share your professional interests, just a willingness to regroup with you throughout the evening so you don't feel like you’re operating without - well, a net.
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