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If I invest my time networking, what’s the payoff? 

For many in Gen X and holdover Boomers, networking is something you do to find a job, a very It is all in the orientation — what are you trying to achieve?

narrow and often unsuccessful perspective.

For the “networked” Generation Zs and most Millennials, networking is something you do to meet people, share ideas, express creativity, maintain relationships, and learn more about the world. According to LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman, these relationships will support them through tough times (presumably including a job search).

Stop and think. You have an online connection with someone versus a person you know and with whom you have worked to build a relationship.  

Which person are you more inclined to help?

It is not about how many connections you have. It is about the quality of the relationship.