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Monday, November 14, 2011

Who Might Help You?

"It's really tough in the job market right now. Hard to connect."

"So, tell me how you have been trying to connect."

"Mostly on craigslist. Job boards. Electronic applications. That sort of thing."

"Who have you spoken to?"

"Well, it's hard to talk to anyone. No one who is hiring wants to talk."

"Hmm. I can see how you might create that story. It kind of supports your theory."

"Ouch."

"So, who have you spoken to? Who might help you?"

"I don't know."

"Well, when you don't know something, what do you do?"

"Find out."

"How?"

"By talking with someone."

"We're in a loop, aren't we?"

"Okay. Let me think. I know a lot of people. Let me think about who might want to help me."

"Great. What about the people your friends know? You know... it's not the people you know, but the people who know the people you know."

"Run that again?"

"We all know people. And, they like to help us because we're friends. But, it's the friends of our friends that really multiply the strength of our social network. Because, by helping us, they also are helping a friend. It's like a two-for-one deal. Very powerful."

"So, I could think about the people my friends know."

"Right. And, perhaps expand your definition of friend. Who were all the old people at your wedding? Do they care about you? Who do they know?"

"Wow. That kind of opens up the field."

"It sounds like you can connect with a lot of people. And the people you know care about you. And, they know a lot of people who might help you connect in the job market. So, what's your next step?"

And, on it goes.

(For more on the idea of the power of friends and "weak ties", check out Ethan Watters' "Urban Tribes")