The Value of Weak Ties When Networking

In our third, final post of this Networking Series, we elaborate on the importance of extended community, and how to turn making those connections into a game, where we offer three challenges to move your efforts along. Just a reminder: The Swing Shift is kicking off the Back to Business Accountability Program Jan 25th: reserve your spot today and expand your network and skills for the modern day job search.

Weak Ties vs. Strong Ties

Let’s look at the current contacts in your social network. There’s a difference between strong ties or your “inner circle,” and your weak ties or “acquaintances,” which significantly impact your next career move.

The social theory about identifying strong and weak ties within interpersonal relationships was coined by Stanford sociology professor Mark Granovetter after he published The Strength of Weak Ties. Granovetter wanted to know how these ties affect career and in particular job searches. He discovered the common assumption that strong ties - family, friends, colleagues - are the people that will help you most during the job search.

However: since those strong ties will most always be in your same social circle, where you likely spend time together and do similar things, they also receive the same information you do. This is less helpful when you’re trying to meet new people, learn new information, make a career change, or look for job opportunities.

Instead, Granovetter found that people with weak ties outside their core network are more likely to open up broader opportunities. Tho