The truth is that most start networking when their job is gone or on it's way out. Networking is a lifestyle and one that should consist of adding value to those you meet - rather than taking first from the relationship.
The oft-quoted, "It's not what you know but who you know." is both cynical and dangerous. I teach a modified version, "It's who knows you and knows what you know." My mantra is: "Be Proactive! Be Positive! Add Value! Share Opportunity!"
Do that and you stand to be very effective in your networking.
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