In an interviewer with a recruiter, I received this advise on networking:
1. When you meet a potential contact at a networking event, at a party, or even on the bus, have your elevator pitch ready. If you haven't heard of it, the "elevator pitch" is your presentation speech which can be spoken in the time it takes ride an elevator. Also, it's gotta be interesting enough to distract anyone from those newsflashes now in all elevators. I actually look forward to reading those headlines, recipes, and advertisements for MeTV. But I digress--Your elevator pitch should say Who You Were, Who You Are, and Who You Want to Be, all in about 30-45 seconds.
2. If the pitch leads to conversation, don't say "I need a job, help!" Try finding common interests to discuss such as what was on TV last night. Then...
3. Have a business card ready and when you present it say, "I would appreciate 20 minutes of your time to help me on my job search." Then see if you can give them a call to set up an information interview. You aren't asking for a job, but for information. This person may not have a job, but they may someone who knows someone who does.
4. Don't spend more than 30 mins. a day on your computer. The recruiter said that according to a survey she saw in the New York Times, about 60-70 percent of those asked found their jobs through networking, 20 to 30 percent through agencies and placement services, and only 5 percent through postings on the Internet.