Experience: Recently when I was hunting around for jobs I sent out a large number of applications (for jobs in a different city) and only after about 1-2 months did I even any responses, however by that time I had already managed to get a job through a lecturers contacts. This also aligns well with what I have heard that in IT 80% of jobs are achieved through a "hidden network".
About me: I'm a recent graduate with a BCS and working as a software developer. I live in a small town in New Zealand. I have about 7 months experience under my belt working for a company where I completed my degree. I want to work here for another 1-2 years and then move on.
Goal: When I move on I either want to move to Europe somewhere and work there for a few years or work in the capital of New Zealand and work there for 2 years (approx) and then head off to Europe. Either way I need to try and find a job in another city which is doable through the official channels (recruitment agency, stack exchange careers etc etc) however also very challenging and quite frankly I have never actually achieved a job through official channels.
Question: How do I build up a professional network that would allow me to potentially achieve a job in another city? I have time to prepare which should help. NOTE: I already go to User groups where I live, however the developer population here is limited at best. I do however struggle with maintaining/making those professional connections, so as a side part to this question if anybody knows of any great questions/tutorials/blogs on how to make a professional network from small talk/colleagues it would be very much so appreciated.