Here are some things I've done:
- Participate in local user groups to meet people and let them know you exist
- Present at user groups to share your knowledge and establish yourself as knowledgeable in your professional community
- Volunteer to speak at local conferences or events related to your niche
- Participate in forums, mailing lists, and other online communities where you can become recognized as an expert in your niche
- Be ACTIVE in your social networking circles. Comment, share, friend.
- Use sites like LinkedIn and Twitter to meet people in your area that you share interests with. Help them when possible.
- Non-Profit organizations need help. Approach them and ask if there's anything they need done. Do it for free.
- Stop wasting time on Monster.com and handing out resumes at career fairs
- Spend that extra time writing for your own blog, guest writing for someone elses blog, etc.
Professional networking is NOT: begging for a job, applying for jobs, attending career fairs.
Professional networking is: meeting people within your industry, sharing your knowledge, marketing yourself, showing people why you should be the one they look to for help.
Share your ideas for building your professional network.