Here's why - you could be the greatest recruiter, salesperson or engineer on the planet but if you don't have a solid professional network (who you know?) it won't matter you'll never show the world how great you are. At the same time, you could have the greatest network in the history of networking..but if you aren't exceptional at your job (what you know) you'll doomed to the same fate of mediocrity.
Makes sense right? So, how do you avoid one of these pitfalls and live up to those lofty goals of your childhood?
1) Master your job - Not easy right, because in theory you should be constantly pushing yourself and never become an "expert". True, but master your core job so you feel comfortable and confident with your career and skills.
2) Seek out the advice and tips of Industry leaders - You know who they are, they are the people you think - "Wow, now that's someone I respect" Between blogs, LinkedIn, podcasts, Twitter and numerous other tools it's easy to find these people. Find them, follow them, engage with them. The best part of this is you'll learn a TON about your profession while at the same time expanding your professional network.
3) Give something back - Ok, so you're an expert now and rubbing elbows with your industries best and brightest. Now what? Give back. Start blogging yourself, tweet, engage with a local group to share your experience. Think of it as some weird professional circle of life thing....you were the inexperience newbie once, now you're the pro...........so help out those newbies who look to you for advice.
4) Take advantage - This is the last piece of the puzzle. You're a master at your craft (Isn't this some pasta ad or something?), you're networked with industry pros and scrappy newbies looking to make a name for themselves...all that is left is using these skills, connections and reputation to find a great gig.
What are you waiting for? Get working and expand "Who" and "What" you know.........trust me, your career will thank you for it.
PS - Special shout out to Steven for inspiring this post, hope you enjoy NH/Boston
PSS - Watching "2012" while I write this....wow does this movie suck, makes me wish it was true.