CollegeJournal | Search Strategies: "Between Thanksgiving and New Year's provides the free time you need to start building a group of supporters and advisers -- your network-- that will help you with your upcoming job hunt "
The Wall Street Journals' College Journal has a good article on the importance of networking.
"Although networking doesn't come naturally to everyone, it's a skill you'll use for the rest of your career, says Wayne Wallace, director of the University of Florida's career center in Gainesville. "It takes a little bit of work, and that's what differentiates the people who are willing to do it," he says"
"Lance Choy, director of Stanford University's career-development center. Typically, these are relatives, friends or people you know through friends. You will feel less awkward around them, and if you're nervous, they won't mind. Starting with them will help you be more polished for later meetings.
"Students have a sense of dread about networking," says Hoffman. But if you start by talking with people you already know, it'll come more easily, she adds....Choy suggests heading to the career center at your school to gather names of contacts from the alumni database. Most universities have programs connecting students with alumni who are willing to help with career issues. Career counselors can provide contact information."
The full article