Ever hear that what counts is not what you know, but who you know? Practice networking and before long you'll know just what's what and who's who.
Step 1: Practice "Four F rule" Practice the "Four F rule"—family, friends, family of friends, and friends of family. In other words, talk to everyone you can think of about your career goals.
Step 2: Have business cards made Have business cards made so you have something professional to hand out when you meet people.
Step 3: Join organizations Join professional organizations related to your field. For example, if you are a woman working in the media world, you could join the not-for-profit womeninfilm.org.
TIP: Websites like www.linkedin.com can help you find out what professional contacts your friends have.
Step 4: Listen to mentors Listen attentively to potential mentors. As the saying goes, "You can make more contacts in two hours by showing interest in people than you will in two years of trying to get them interested in you."
TIP: Maintain eye contact when you are speaking with someone. There's nothing more insulting than a person who is looking over your shoulder for someone more interesting!
Step 5: Do them a favor Listen for how you might be able to help someone else. Doing a favor for them is the fastest way to make them want to help you.
TIP: Do your research on the speakers at trade events, and have a pitch prepared for them.
Step 6: Contact former bosses Contact former bosses. Research shows that one in three job seekers gets job search help from a previous employer.
FACT: Seventy-nine percent of college graduates responding to a 2007 survey said they found networking an effective job search tool.