The Most Annoying Career Advice Cliche and Why You Need to Ignore it

The career advice industry is wrought with cliches and recycled opinions, some of which drive our Director of Content Brian Clapp crazy! In this short video Brian tries to explain why one over-used myth is nothing more than an festering excuse for many people and should be banned from everyone’s repertoire.

If you have any subjects you’d like us to cover in an upcoming video – let us know in the comments below!

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Video Transcript: “The Most Annoying Career Advice Cliche and Why You Need to Ignore it”

I’ve been on this kick lately where I have been trying to expose career advice myths as nothing more than outdated cliche’s that are no longer applicable in today’s job market.

One of those career advice myths that drives me absolutely crazy – because you see it cited in blogs across the internet, and articles written just about everywhere – is the wildly over-used “It’s not what you know, but who you know” as if networking is the only thing necessary to get a job.

You’ll see this written in career advice columns everywhere that you need to know people and that you have to have an “in” at a TV station or a radio station, or to work in film you have to know somebody and that is how you get in. And while there may be some truth to that, hiring has changed over the last few decades – it used to be there was no real pressure in hiring, you could hire someone based purely on a relationship, and if they didn’t work out no big deal.

Businesses were thriving and money was coming in, so there wasn’t as much pressure on each opening.

In today’s job market there is a lot more pressure on each decision made, and that is why when a job requisition goes out on a job like ours, many companies will take a few months before actually hiring someone. They go through a lot deeper vetting than they used to and what are they are trying to figure out is “do you have the skills that we need?”.

networking event follow up

I’m not a big fan of networking events – I think there are better ways to get to know people in the entertainment industry

It still comes down to skills.

Now there is a balance that takes place, it would be great if you knew people and had skills, but what I don’t like about this myth is it gives people the impression they should be spending their time at networking mixers getting to know as many random people as they can. That is a waste of time.

What I say is you should be enhancing your skills, by interning,volunteering, joining LinkedIn groups, going to conferences – when you enhance yourself, you let networking become a byproduct of those actions and that is what can really set you up for success, a meshing of skills and networking not one thing over the other.

If you have other video topics you’d like us to cover regarding career advice or the entertainment industry lets us know in the comments below!

About Brian Clapp

Brian Clapp has worked in the broadcast media for over 14 years as a writer, editor, producer & news director. After beginning his career in Atlanta at CNN/Sports Illustrated, he switched coasts to Seattle to work at Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, Brian began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and then taking on the role of Director of Content for &

Recently Brian has become addicted to Google+ and LinkedIn so add him to your circles and make him a contact. No seriously, you should.


  1. Hi Brian,

    I loved your video today. I am uncertain if this applies to your entertainment medium but in the opera world you need skills and connections. The tricky part is that very few singers are willing to mentor and if they are their perspective may be outdated and/or true for their particular skill set or abilities. An analogy that I can make for you is the difference between someone who is particularly gifted in Math and/or Science or English. Some people are quite naturally gifted in one or the other and sometimes, all areas, equally right and left brained. Mentors, can sometimes have a preference for what types of interns they want. They may have a natural inclination and prefer someone who has the same skill set they do. Politics, does play a role in the process as well. So, yes both, but where, what school, what internship, what teacher, what country, state, the list goes on and on and if it were that simple, all gifted students would do well in the enterntainment industry and we wouldn’t need to have this conversation. Thank you for posting this. I would love to see more mentors, more people that really care because in the end that’s what it should be about across all disiplines.

    • Adrienne thanks for your really well thought out response – I greatly appreciate it. You sound like someone who is very well versed in the music industry, especially as it pertains to opera. My background is in television, so I love to learn from people like yourself. Let’s keep the conversation going – bclapp at

  2. Rebecca Harrold says:

    I have often dispelled this myth especially among my students. I am in total agreement with your article. Now, I have a question for you? Can I submit some music for you to consider to use for your videos. Nothing personal, but the music on your video was rather distracting. I am a composer and would like you to consider some of my music, or let me write new “jingle” for you.
    Let me know what you think and thank you for your sage advice. I am right there with you on this one!

    • Rebecca you are the second person this week that hates the music I put on the videos! I have to admit after 15 years in television, selecting music for features was always one of my weaknesses….I’d be honored to feature some of your music, send over as much as you want and just let me know how you’d like me to give you credit. The music I’ve been using was free so that’s probably why it was average at best 😉 And thanks for your compliment on the video – this is one of those cliches that just bothers me so much!

      Brian (bclapp at

  3. Brian,

    I could not agree more with you. I think in general, people think when they collect a business card from someone that they are networking. I tend to use the term “it’s not who you know, it’s who knows you”, and I don’t mean by name or by title, I mean someone that REALLY know you, your skills and is willing to put their own reputation on the line for you. Gaining these types of relationships takes time and you have to prove to people that you can make a difference and add value – not just keep things status quo.

    Thanks and hope you are having a great week.

    Marty Mulford