We’ve all heard it…Network your way to a job. 80% of jobs are found via networking. Many may incorrectly think that this means everyone finds a job via the proverbial brother-in-law connection!
In fact, statistically, weak ties are very useful for the job hunt.
Maybe you have a story that proves this is true. I have a friend who learned about her job from another mom while attending a story time for her son at a local bookstore. She didn’t know the other mom, but struck up a conversation and found out about a job opportunity that turned out to be a perfect fit!
The New York Times recently published an article, The Brave New World of Digital Intimacy, which emphasizes the importance of expanding your network beyond your immediate circle:
This rapid growth of weak ties can be a very good thing. Sociologists have long found that “weak ties” greatly expand your ability to solve problems. For example, if you’re looking for a job and ask your friends, they won’t be much help; they’re too similar to you, and thus probably won’t have any leads that you don’t already have yourself. Remote acquaintances will be much more useful, because they’re farther afield, yet still socially intimate enough to want to help you out.
Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point (an excellent read for those interested in being connected) also reminds us of how important it is to expand your network beyond your immediate circle.
What does this mean for the job seeker?
Don’t discount connections on sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and other organized social networks. I’m amazed at the open and giving nature of interactions online. I think that the bottom line is that many people LIKE to help others. This is a message I’ve been sharing for years. “People are flattered when you ask their advice,” I tell my clients. “Wouldn’t you be happy to share your insights about your profession with someone if asked?” I’ve never had anyone argue that they would NOT be happy to help.
So, don’t worry if your brother-in-law isn’t influential in your industry! Seek “weak” ties. They may be more binding for your career plans!
What “weak tie” stories do you have? Share them in the comments section!
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photo by melissambwilkins