Before you begin networking, you have to develop a clear idea of who you are professionally, the direction in which you want your career to move, and what values are most important to you. This kind of self-analysis is an important first step regardless of what you are doing, job-hunting, career-switching, or any of life’s other major inflection points. When Sen. Ted Kennedy announced he was running for president in 1980, CBS correspondent Roger Mudd asked him in a national television interview: “Why do you want to be president?” His inability to answer cogently imploded his candidacy from the get-go.
Once you have focused in on your core professional skills and professional and personal values, it is time to revise your resume(s) with an eye toward your immediate career goals. That accomplished, you are ready to build your network.