The Power Of Weak Ties

A common assumption held in society is that those with stronger networks have better likelihood of career success, given how well connected they are.

What may surprise you is that one of the best predictors of finding a job is the number of weak ties in your network. In fact, people are surprisingly willing to use their networks to help others (Granovetter, 1973; Baker 2000).

Why is this? There is a potential connection to basic human desire, in that helping people makes us happier. A study by Dunn et al (2008) measured happiness levels after employee’s received a bonus at work. Those who spent more of the bonus on others had larger increases in happiness levels than those who spent less on others.  As human beings there is something intrinsically valuable about helping others.

No matter the reason – your weak ties can be a major career asset. The good news is, right now there’s likely never been a better time to cultivate those weak ties. Here are some examples of how you can do that:

  • When meeting people socially that you feel a connection with, be sure to follow up that connection on a social media platform
  • Be active on a career-focused platform (LinkedIn is a great place to start. Join groups that may interest you, comment on posts, seek connections, write an article. This all helps establish a basic connection with others).
  • Ask colleagues that you don’t work with directly out for coffee.  Ask questions, seek to understand their world a little better and foster a relationship.

What ways do you cultivate weak ties?

Be great,
Ian