According to the US Department of Labor, as of the end of June 2018, there were 6.7 million job openings. Additionally they state 70-85% of those jobs will be filled through networking. Networking is like creating an emergency contingency plan, don’t wait until you’re in crises to make one. If you’re contemplating a career change in the next year or so, now is the time to reevaluate your current contacts and start cultivating and creating those bonds.
Think of your network as a database resource, your databases usefulness is only as good as the information input into it (shhhhh DBA’s, this is about the information in the database, not the structure itself). If you don’t frequently update the information in your DB (eg. recent information from your contacts) or you have very little data (small network) your DB usefulness will be limited and unable to return the results you need to succeed. Every person you add to your network is another set of resources that enrich your life. When you network you become a valuable resource as well. You have a unique skill set and knowledge base that you can share in order to enrich the lives of the people in your network.
Networking doesn’t have to be complicated, but it should be social. People are more likely to make referrals and introductions for someone they’ve met in person and had a favorable social interaction with than someone that just sent them a connection request and quick message on LinkedIn. Join meet ups that reflect your interests or find local events that interest you and take some time to meet a few new people. However you choose to network, start doing it now if you haven’t already. If you already have a network, invest some time in catching up with people you haven’t heard from in a while and add to it. Who knows, you may wind up helping someone land one of those 6.7 million job openings.