Even if you're not looking for a job right now, career networking should be a part of your daily, or at least weekly, routine. You never know when you might find yourself in need of a new job. I know more people, myself included at one point in my career, who have unexpectedly lost their job without notice. If you have a network in place and contacts you keep in touch with, it will be much easier to get started on a job search than if you're starting from scratch.
Stay in Touch
It doesn't take long to send an email or a LinkedIn or Facebook message just to say hello, even if you don't see your contacts very often - or at all. I just had lunch with someone I worked for years ago and I just connected on LinkedIn with former colleagues I hadn't heard from in quite a while. It was good to touch base, both to find out what was new in their lives and careers, and, just in case, I need references or help in the future.
If you can, meeting those people you've only known online is helpful, too. That personal connection becomes even strong when you can match a personality with a name. When I travel, I try to find time for a cup of coffee or lunch with people I've only met via email or the phone.
As an example of how valuable networking can be, a recent graduate I know just got a job offer from someone she had networked with at a college alumni event several months ago. She had stayed in touch and the contact remembered her when a job became available at his employer.
Build Your Network
Taking the time to build, and maintain, your network, is well worth the effort (which may be minimal). Those connections you make today, can help you move along the career ladder, tomorrow.