I’ve worked at over 10 companies with multiple roles within each and I’ve changed career directions multiple times. Only 3 times did I ever really apply for a role. Most of the time, I had a connection to the company and was able to get an “in” for the role.
It is important to keep an open dialogue with the outside world. You never know when you’ll need to explore a new role – layoffs, bad manager, promotion.
This doesn’t mean to connect with just anyone. It is best to only connect with someone you have interactive with before – meetup, work, vendors, partners. Recruiters should be vetted to make sure you have at least some mutual connections.
So grow your LinkedIn network, keep your profile up to date, and be active.