If you need a new job your network is the first place to begin your search. These are the people who trust you, like you, and they are the best people to help you find that next role.
If you don’t already have a network it may be too late to try to start one for this job search, but start nonetheless.
Networking has a negative connotation since many people go out looking to “network” when they are desperate. Proper networking is like planting a tree. When is the best time to plant a tree? 30 years ago. When is the second best time? Now. You need to start now, even if you do not need help from your network yet.
I want to reaffirm that your network consists of people who trust you. Networking is essentially creating friendships and finding ways to sincerely help others. This means you have to dig in and find places where they could use your help with no expectation of getting any return. Go find someone who needs the skills you have and go help them.
This is a method that many counselors use to help their clients: The best way to help yourself is to find someone with the same problem you have and help them solve it.
Networking at this step in the job search process is generally the wrong place to be discussing it since you need to network all of the time not just when you are looking for a job. You need to be out meeting people, learning about them, and finding ways you can help them. Networking is not trying to collect contacts. True networking is making friends and helping others accomplish their goals.