Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Power of "Weak Ties"

Last night while at the salon and reading The Tipping Point, I came across the concept of the Connector. The Tipping Point is a book about the rules of epidemics. (A GREAT read- I highly recommend it) The book’s author, Malcolm Gladwell, suggests that epidemics can be the result of people who are Connectors—people with a special gift of bringing people together.

Here’s an excerpt from the book that I think you will find particularly helpful as it relates to Connectors and your job search:

....There is a very good example of the way Connectors function in the work of the sociologist Mark Granovetter. In his classic 1974 study, Getting a Job, Granovetter looked at several hundreds professional and technical workers...interviewing them in some detail on their employment history. He found that 56 percent of those he talked to found their job though 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.”.....

The book breaks down those who used a contact to find a job and discovered:
· 17% saw their contact “often”
· 55% saw their contact only “occasionally”
· 28% saw their contact “rarely”

People weren’t getting jobs through their friends, they were getting them through their acquaintances.

So in other words, it’s time to dust off your Rolodex folks!! Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone you don’t know very well, or perhaps you haven’t spoken to in a while. Granovetter suggests that when it comes to finding a new job, “weak ties” —your acquaintances—are more important than strong ties. Think about it: Your strong ties—your friends—include people in the same circle as you. You have to go OUTSIDE this circle in order to find people who occupy a different world—people who are Connectors—and who are more likely to introduce you to new, exciting opportunities.

It’s time to get CONNECTED! Take action today to expand your current network-we all know a Connector or two. We’ll talk more about how to reach out to your “weak ties” a little later...

Nicole Marie


  1. I agree! I can't stress enough how during a job search it is important to know who can assist you in the search for your perfect fit!

  2. I know what you mean! I just got a job yesterday in retail (Something I've always wanted to do but oddly never got around to, I wanted some type of retail experience in a fashion setting) through an acquaintance from college..we always spoke but never were "friends", of course now we speak all the time and I'm glad I opened my options and spoke up!

  3. I have found that to be extremely true over the past year. My social circle has grown a lot and has had an impact on my business related endeavors... More people need to realize this.