I know what you’re thinking. Most companies aren’t hiring during the summer. However, I suggest you start your job search now and in the best way possible…by networking.

As professionals start to embrace summertime and the slower pace that comes with it, the season offers the perfect opportunity to network. You’ll often find that executives and hiring managers have more free time and are therefore more receptive to external inquiries. Capitalize on their clear calendars by reaching out for career development advice or an informational interview. If you’re lucky, you may even land a mentor whose value is immeasurable. One thing, however, is certain. By making a concerted effort to network this summer, your job search will be light years ahead of where it is now.

Not sure who to reach out to or how?

Follow these five steps:

1. Determine a skill or area of expertise you don’t have, but would like to explore.
2. Make a list of companies you’re interested in working for.
3. Find people on LinkedIn who hold positions that interest you and/or work at companies on your list.
4. Start connecting!
5. Send messages that show you’ve actually read their profile and why you want to speak/meet with them specifically.

Of course, not everyone will respond. But you’ll be surprised by how many people are willing help. All you need is one response from the right person, so start today!