Networking the Right Way
Why are people you’re less close to more valuable in terms of finding a job? You’re more likely to know the same people and things your good friends do. Acquaintances “give us access to social networks where we don’t otherwise belong.”In his classic 1974 study Getting a Job, Granovetter looked at several hundred professional and technical workers from the Boston suburb of Newton, interviewing them in some detail on their employment history. He found that 56 percent of those he talked to found their job through a personal connection. Another 18.8 percent used formal means — advertisements, headhunters — and roughly 20 percent applied directly. This much is not surprising; the best way to get in the door is through a personal contact. But curiously, Granovetter found that of those personal connections, the majority were “weak ties.” Of those who used a contact to find a job, only 16.7 saw that contact “often” — as they would if the contact were a good friend — and 55.6 percent saw their contact only “occasionally.” Twenty-eight percent saw the contact “rarely.” People weren’t getting their jobs through their friends. They were getting them through acquaintances.
From Charles Duhigg’s fantastic book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business:
In fact, in landing a job, Granovetter discovered, weak-tie acquaintances were often more important than strong-tie friends because weak ties give us access to social networks where we don’t otherwise belong. Many of the people Granovetter studied had learned about new job opportunities through weak ties, rather than from close friends, which makes sense because we talk to our closest friends all the time, or work alongside them or read the same blogs. By the time they have heard about a new opportunity, we probably know about it, as well. On the other hand, our weak-tie acquaintances—the people we bump into every six months—are the ones who tell us about jobs we would otherwise never hear about.
Networking is vital to staying employed, salary growth and job satisfaction. Employees with larger networks perform better. Networking has even been shown to be vital for drug dealers. The three best methods for networking are here, and here‘s how to handle the job interview.
Finding the Right Job
But how do you know if the job will make you happy? Look for something that let’s you do those things you’re especially good at — your “signature strengths“:
Via UPenn happiness expert Martin Seligman’s book, Authentic Happiness:
- Identify your signature strengths.
- Choose work that lets you use them every day.
- Recraft your present work to use your signature strengths more.
- If you are the employer, choose employees whose signature strengths mesh with the work they will do. If you are a manager, make room to allow employees to recraft the work within the bounds of your goals.
So you get a great job. What can keep you satisfied with it?
You’ll want to know all about Flow and how to create it. Beyond that, here are 10 things to keep in mind:
This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.