Thursday, July 28, 2005

What you know vs who you know

"It's not what you know, it's who you know."

"It's all about connections."

People often say and hear the above statements. I think it's more accurate to say that first, it's WHAT you know. It's only afterwards that WHO you know matters.

A professional may have 10-15 years of experience, yet if he's not sure about WHAT he knows and about how his knowledge confers an advantage to his career allies and acquaintances, then he can meet hundreds of people and it would not have a big impact on his career or life.

Most people he meets would quickly forget about him, because his knowledge is not unique enough or valuable enough or useful enough.

That's why the networking adage goes: "You can only rely on people who can rely on you."

In other words, networking only works if you have something useful to offer, and usually it's your expertise or professional knowledge. (This is why doctors are popular in social circles: everyone could use a doctor's advice!)

The challenge for many professionals then will be to position themselves as being VERY knowledgeable in a particular area, so that they become valuable to people in their LinkedIn network.