We hear the term “Networking” all the time and it is even listed on Military Transition checklists that say to increase your networking with the assumption that military members already possess the expertise to do this.  The term “Networking” means; “the developing of contacts or exchanging of information with others in an informal network, as to further a career.  When attending one of these events, always look professional.  Remember the old saying, you only get one chance to make a good impression.  Always have a strategy and purpose for attending that particular networking event, don’t just show up and hope that magic will happen because it will not.  Find out what kind of networking event it is, is it targeted to a certain industry, like technology professionals, is it targeted to business owners, or is it being put on for business professionals in general.  Knowing what kind of networking event it is will determine whether attending it will be of benefit to you in your job search.  Develop and practice your “Elevator Pitch” which is how you introduce yourself and it should be no longer than 30 seconds.  It needs to be succinct, because you will be saying it to the people that you wish to introduce yourself to.  You need to have some professional business cards made up ahead of time with your contact information on so that you can exchange them with people that you feel might be worth following up with later.  You also want them to have your contact info so that they can follow up with you too.  About 1 – 2 weeks after the event make sure that you follow up with individuals that you collected contact information from by either giving them a call or sending them an e-mail.  Communication is so important for effective networking not only during the event but after.