The power of “weak ties” in securing your next job

In the process of a job search, acquaintances are found to be more vital than close friends or family, particularly among employees in high-tech sectors.
By: | September 19, 2022

Job seekers with “moderately weak” social ties are more likely to find employment than those with stronger connections a new study revealed. Particularly, weak ties were shown to be advantageous for employees in high-tech industries due to remote and hybrid work arrangements that had made online connection and work become more of a priority.

To examine the impact of social media on the labour market and illustrate how networking with people outside of one’s immediate circle might result in new career opportunities, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard, Stanford and LinkedIn conducted a five-year set of experiments on LinkedIn and looked at about 20 million LinkedIn members.

Sinan Aral, a researcher of the team and profession of information technology and marketing at the MIT Sloan School of Management, explained, “We watched as their social networks evolved, and then watched as they applied for jobs, got jobs, and moved jobs, and then compared whether weak ties helped people find and take new jobs. The answer was yes.”

The results supported Phoebe Gavin, a career and leadership coach, advice to clients about the value of developing and maintaining “shallow connections”, who said, “You don’t need to take someone to dinner every three months to have a strong professional relationship with them. They just need to know who you are and not forget about you.”

READ: Why companies can’t hire their way out of the tech talent crunch

Furthermore, employees must be aware of how others in their field are managing their online presence on social media, according to Gavin.

“It’s really important to be proactive about understanding what the people at the pinnacle of your industry are doing to present themselves online,” she said. “Because with shallow connections, people are using shallow things to evaluate whether they should stick their neck out for you.”