If you wait until you are ready for your next career move or in need of solid contacts to make a critical business connection to start networking, you are too late.
Those in my network that are in senior leadership roles or are well connected in the community, often share tales of the bold individuals that they are unfamiliar with reaching out to them requesting referrals or access to one of their important contacts. No one wants to feel used, and while you may get some advice or a little help, they aren't giving up the bomb contacts or jeopardizing their personal brand for someone they barely know.
All too often, young professionals neglect to build and nurture their network until they need something. This is the definition of shooting yourself in the foot. Building a strong network with solid RELATIONSHIPS takes effort, intentionality, and time. No one gets anywhere alone, and a well-cultivated network is critical for professional success.
Make networking a priority and a constant fixture in your career strategy.
Powerful networks are those that are made up of people who advise, support, and connect each other. This takes time, so be proactive and start networking well before the need arises.