The key to success in today’s workforce depends on building a personal network of allies because the state of the corporate landscape has changed, said Joyce Brocaglia, president and CEO of Alta Associates, a leading information security recruiter, speaking Wednesday at SC World Congress in New York.

Employers offer few loyalty incentives to their workers, she said. As a result, people can expect to change jobs frequently.

Brocaglia said it is imperative to build a web of relationships to generate personal alliances. And with fewer available jobs due to the slumping economy, competition is stiff. Thus, it is necessary to network.

“You have to start thinking about building consensus,” she told the audience.

Recruiters are looking for employees who know how to collaborate, she said, and that begins with expanding a circle of friends into a “trusted network.”

Most people only think of networking when they are unemployed, but they should be forming relationships all the time, Brocaglia said.

People with strong technical backgrounds are not necessarily skilled at networking. To succeed, a concentrated effort is required, she said. Individuals should not focus on collecting the most number of business cards; instead, they should look to connect on a genuine level.

“Sometimes, we make the mistake of not getting to know the people we’re speaking with,” she said. “If you really want to gain trust, be authentic and let people see the dents in your past. If you’re going to be the CEO of your own career, how do you want people to think of you? It’s necessary to develop your own personal board of directors. You need to have a couple of people on there who know your marketplace and value what you’re doing.”

Relationships are the key to success, she said. And to achieve this, she challenged audience members to move beyond their comfort zone and start thinking about being more vulnerable and showing candor.

Following through on promises made is another critical requirement in helping to build what she termed “lifelines,”  supportive people who tell people things that they may not want to hear.