You want a job or an internship.
You apply to many places through proper channels. You sign up to websites and job portals.
You wait for a response.
And, someone you know, drops you a message that they got a job/internship or whatever they were searching for.
You have mixed feelings! Happy they got what they wished for, and squander in self-pity for a while.
You ask them how they got it?
“Contacts”, they said.
And you either cursed the world, or reached out to your contacts, or go into a shell, or wait for contacts to come to you and provide opportunities, or keep trying through conventional application processes (and keep your honour) or try to reach out to people, but just are either too shy or don’t know who to reach out to!
In this article, I will be talking about the types of connections we have and whom we can reach out to based on the merits each kind of connection possesses.
This article is based on the notes I made from Give and Take by Adam Grant.
There are three major kinds of ties we have with people around us (and those who aren’t as well), and no I am not talking about the 1st/2nd/3rd degree connections on LinkedIn (but there are similarities). So, here goes:
Strong ties are those people you associate yourself very closely to and vice versa. These are the first layer of friends and family you would reach out to everything.
And these are the same people we are most comfortable in making an ask for any kind of favour or Networking opportunities.
We don’t fear judgement from these people.
These people provide great access to information and contacts (just as expected) but there are two major caveats to sticking to these people.
- They are few. And hence, would be able to provide only limited information.
- In most cases, they are similar to you, run in similar social circles. And hence, would provide information and contacts with limited scope. It is difficult to find information about things that aren’t out of the radar.
These people are like the 2nd-degree connections on LinkedIn. You know them. You are acquaintances, or perhaps friends (but not close), distant relatives or colleagues.
These people consist most of our social circle! And the least utilised.
When we network, or try to build connections we usually limit ourselves to the strong ties.
It’s super awkward! We don’t completely trust them. We are afraid to be judged. It is unchartered territory to us.
And since we don’t really know these people, we underestimate their value to us.
We take them for granted that they wouldn’t be able to help us.
But, what are we missing out by not connecting with them?
They don’t follow or are part of the usual social circles we and our strong ties are a part of. And hence, they provide a wider range of contacts and information!
They are more likely to open new doors we never knew existed and facilitated new leads.
I do know, it is hard to reach out to them. But I’ve started reaching out to these ties and have normal conversations atleast once a week, and these have been super amazing times I’ve spent.
Just try reaching out to atleast one acquaintance once a week. Over time, the awkwardness would no longer exist! (Hopefully)
These are ties and connections with people we’ve associated ourselves in the past and have moved on.
We cannot be in touch with each other always. But it is super important to reawaken these dormant ties by reconnecting because these people would have been exposed to different networks, different perspectives since the time we lost contact.
Also, they trust us enough from previous experience to help us.
And, there is the bliss and joy of reconnecting with an old friend!
Each of these kinds of relationships we have their own merits and hardships, but in the end, one thing is true.
Networks and connections are vital. And we really have to foster those we have. Balance the weak ties. And try reconnecting with our dormant ties.
Two Minute Task
- Scroll through your contacts.
- Find a dormant or a weak tie.
- Just message/email/call them to catch up.
- Try keeping in contact for a week (and hopefully for super long terms)
- Repeat this every week
Amazing things I found this week
This site was recommended by a friend and it is just marvellous! You might just fall into the rabbit hole of finding scientific answers to absurd hypothetical questions!
Find it here: https://what-if.xkcd.com/
More Power to you!