They always say: “It’s about who you know.”
They are mistaken. I know Harrison Ford; that’s a pretty good person to know, eh? I’ve met the man and had rather lovely conversation with him. Would he recognize me if I met him again? Probably not. So what good is that – to know Harrison Ford? It really doesn’t do you a damn bit of good to “know” someone unless the other person knows you back.
So let us rephrase: “It’s about who knows you.”
There, that’s better advice.
The most successful and influential men and women became so because they had thorough relationships with a lot of people. Networking is essential for most human beings to live successful lives (though, I suppose that could depend on how you define “success”). Your connections can lend you a helping hand, expand your resources, and challenge you to grow as a person. But the only way an average person will be willing to do anything for you is if he or she cares about you. And for someone to care about you, he or she should know you well enough and you need to genuinely care about them back.
You won’t take your bank account with you when you die, so what does your net worth really matter in the end? I think the number of people who show up to your memorial service is a pretty strong indicator of your “value.” At the end of the day, your network is your net worth.
So hold off on the business cards and résumés – you’re wasting paper. Your best résumé is your relationships.