04 August 2008

Age as Advantage in Job Searches

Baby boomers with network ties: While age does not guarantee increased number of contacts, it does trend in that direction. I have more acquaintances in various workplaces now than I did a decade ago. That means I have more of a network to draw on in job searches.

Network ties, the weak ones, are the valuable contacts: Job seekers are best served by weak ties, the people known by name or reputation and the people known to those people. In short, jobs emerge from the contacts that don't know us very well, if at all. There must be some kind of tie, some common link, or monster.com would be more effective. (Lots of exposure possible on that job web site, but not much productive networking.) But the tie that is weak will do just fine.

Why close ties don't work: The close friend or associate is of much less help to the job seeker. Close ties don't introduce new opportunities. In fact, friends can act as a boundary separating the job seeker from the opportunities. Best to jump that boundary.

The modern version of the research: When researcher Mark Granovetter identified The Strength of Weak Ties in the 1970s, networking was largely the function of professional organizations and conferences, workplace acquaintances, and maybe an alumni association or two. The Internet expanded all those venues and invented a few more.

Social networking sites with a professional spin: LinkedIn, Plaxo, Ryze.

On a personal note. And now for the exceptions. I have enjoyed great referrals from people I consider good friends, demonstrating that strong ties can also produce employment. But that's just what Granovetter found, too. A few exceptions.

© 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

1 comment:

Irene Hammond said...

It is interesting, that our closest friends and family are not considered good resources. They do have a tendency to see us in a set way.