Networking is about meeting people you know who can vouch for your past performance and connect you with people you don’t know.
After writing The Best Job-hunting Secrets of All Time, and reading the comments, I can safely conclude that 20% of job-seekers find networking necessary, appropriate, and comfortable. Another 20% find it necessary, but uncomfortable. The rest are either not doing it, or doing it wrong. (Note: I’ll be hosting a job-seeker webcast on Oct 10th discussing this and related topics.)
As many of you know I wrote a book, The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired, attempting to describe the hiring process from all perspectives: job-seekers (active and passive), recruiters (the good and bad), and hiring managers (the fully- and not-so-fully engaged). One theme of the book was to suggest that job-seekers need to take matters into their own hands when they find companies, recruiters or hiring managers using some flawed hiring process. The techniques in the book will not help you get a job you don’t deserve; they will only help you get one you do.