What Noir said about attending comic book conventions, applies equally well to attending science fiction conventions, if you are interested in working in the science fiction illustration field.
Whatever field of illustration you wish to get into, it's critical to talk to people already in the field, not to find work (as Noir said, they're competing for the same jobs you are, and are very unlikely to find you work. It happens, but it's rare), but to find out how to go about finding work.
People 'in the know' will be aware of the latest trends in the industry, and what publishers and art directors are looking for. They can tell you how to submit work, what kind of work to submit, what techniques, media, or 'looks' are hot--and what is not.
Synthetic Sky Studios
Science Fiction Fine Art