Be Relevant

happy-face-meetingIt’s just a fact of life that some people get past the velvet ropes of business and others don’t. The good news is that if you consistently find yourself on the outside looking in, the only thing preventing you from getting past the gate is your relevance to the gatekeeper. And by gatekeeper, I mean those people you want and/or need to know. Think about that for a second.

Odds are, the people on your list are in a position to help you get something you want. This is because, for the most part, we gravitate towards relationships that bring value to ourselves, i.e., we judge others based on their relevance to us.

Once you understand this, all you have to do is figure out a way to become relevant to the people you’d like to know better. Make them NEED YOU for something, be that an important project, task, or even just a sounding board on their favorite hobby.

Example: Say you’re an entry-level exec trying to make friends on a new job. You learn that Sara in Cubicle D is a travel buff who backpacks through Europe every summer. You spent a semester in Madrid. Ta-da.

Better example: Say you’re an entry-level exec trying to get noticed on a new job. You learn the president of your company is on the Board of the local YMCA. You volunteer for a steering committee. Now, every third Thursday of the month you and the bigwig are partnering on projects from soccer tourneys to scholarship programs.

If your not “getting” as much as you’d like from your career, think about how much you’re giving.

Emily Bennington is the author of Effective Immediately: How to Fit In, Stand Out, and Move Up at Your First Real Job. She hosts a popular blog for career newbies at and can be found on Twitter @EmilyBennington or via email at