Advice » Job Hunt Strategy» Professional Networking » Networking Secret #6: B ...
Networking Secret #6: Become an Expert at Something

Networking Secret #6: Become an Expert at Something

To get my first postcollege job, at Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), I talked my way into a management-training program by convincing the interviewer to take on a liberal arts major as an experiment. Every trainee who had ever been hired prior to that had some fancy degree in chemical engineering, material sciences or something technical like that.

There was no way I was going to advance at ICI based on my engineering expertise. In my first few months of the program, however, I noticed that Total Quality Management (TQM) was all the rage -- one of those consultant-driven business trends that light the business world on fire every few years.

In my free time, I studied all the texts available. A few months into my job, I volunteered my expertise, citing my background in organizational behavior (a total of two undergraduate courses!). With one stroke, I became one of ICI's three go-to guys when it came to TQM. The thing is, I only really became an expert once I started trying to teach the discipline within the company. I would go on to parlay my experience into giving speeches, writing articles and connecting with some of the top business minds in the country. After a short period, I even persuaded the industrial giant ICI to craft a new position for me within a newly forming group as one of the leaders of TQM in North America.

Offer Unique Content or Ways of Thinking

At every stage in my career, I worked hard to develop some expertise, some content that differentiated me from others and made me unique, made me more valuable in my relationships with others and the company I worked for. At ICI, it was Total Quality Management. When I worked at Deloitte, reengineering was my hook. At Starwood, I pushed for direct marketing. Later, I mastered interactive marketing. Today, I've wrapped all my experiences into a set of beliefs around the radically changing dynamics of marketing overall and its evolution toward relationship marketing: Moving marketing dollars closer to sales.

It used to be that two arms, two legs and an MBA were a one-way ticket to the executive office. That's barely the price of entry these days. In our information economy, we frame our competitive advantage in terms of knowledge and innovation. If what you do can be done by anyone, there will always be someone willing to do it for less. Witness all those jobs moving offshore.

The one thing no one has figured out how to outsource is creation of ideas. You can't replace people who day in and day out offer the kind of content or unique ways of thinking that promise to give their company an edge.

Immerse Yourself in Your Area of Expertise

So how do you become one of those people? The easiest route is by expertise. As I look back on my career, the recipe seems straightforward: I'd latch on to one of the latest, most cutting-edge ideas in my field. I'd immerse myself in it, getting to know all the thought leaders pushing the idea and all the literature available. I'd then distill that into a message about the idea's broader impact to others and how it could be applied in the industry I worked in. In short, to become an expert I simply did what experts do: I taught, wrote and spoke about my expertise.

Each time I did, it created precious opportunities for me to gain credibility and visibility in my field. Content creators have always been in high demand. They get promotions. They're responsible for the Big Ideas. They're regularly asked to speak at conferences and are featured in newspapers and magazines. Everyone within their companies -- and many within their industries -- know their name. They are the celebrities of their little worlds, and their fame comes from always seeming to be one step ahead. So if you want to take a step ahead in your career, start becoming an expert.

Get more tips in Keith Ferrazzi's Never Eat Alone and by subscribing to Keith's free tip of the week.

Latest Jobs

Posted: 06/30/2015
Boca Raton, FL, 33487
Posted: 06/30/2015
Boca Raton, FL, 33487
Posted: 06/30/2015
Philadelphia, PA, 19103
Posted: 06/30/2015
Exton, PA, 19341
Posted: 06/30/2015
Swedesboro, NJ, 08085

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile


Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
Create and connect.
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.


100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2015 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2015.12.0.54-312