Six Degrees of Separation
Six degrees of separation is the theory that you are connected to another person on Earth within six or less people. We always encounter someone who knows someone who knows someone. Six degrees of separation is very important in your career development. As you develop your social network, you’ll find that the six degrees of separation principle is true.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70 percent of all jobs are found through networking (Personally, I think the number is a lot higher). Many businesses grow their client base through networking. These connections may not necessarily be direct connections (someone who you know personally), but they can be through “someone who knows someone”. Let me give you an example. My friend, a corporate trainer, was moving back to her hometown, so she started looking for a job so she didn’t have to be unemployed when she moved back home. It just so happens that her aunt’s boss is married to an executive of a company that was looking for a corporate trainer. Her aunt presented my friend’s resume to her boss, and her boss gave it to the executive spouse. Within days, my friend got her first phone interview, and eventually got the job. Here is another example for those of you who are entrepreneurs: when I ran my IT services business, 90% of my client base came from my immediate social network or through “six degrees of separation”, where someone in my network knew someone who could use my services, and the person that I knew helped make the connection.
Companies also have a hidden job market, which are jobs that they don’t post on their site or the job sites. Networking will help you tap into that market. These contacts can be friends, acquaintances, and even recruiters. During my employment career, I would say that all but 1 job came from my network, whether it was a friend, a friend of a friend, or a recruiter. My current job was the only one that I directly applied for and got without any connections. Everything else was through a connection.
Let’s focus on using the six degrees of separation for intelligence gathering and education. If you’re trying to learn about a particular industry, the six degrees of separation can connect you to a great resource and potentially a mentor to help educate you. If you are looking to change your career path, you can get a lot of information about your dream path to see if it’s something you really want to do. Back in 2007 – 2010, I had a strong presence (and a small amount of fame) on the internet as someone who had a lot of knowledge in a particular technology. Because of this, people directly connected with me through the social networks for information and guidance. These people also let me know about people in their network that may need my assistance, as well as companies who may be looking for a consultant or a full-time employee. Side note: you can probably still find my articles and videos on the Internet about the technology, but please don’t ask me questions on the technology. I haven’t worked in hands-on technology for quite awhile, and I’m transitioning away from the technology field, so I can’t answer your questions on the technology – sorry.
It also goes without saying that you shouldn’t be a jerk, because that six degrees of separation can bite you in the end. It’s like that old saying about customer service. If a person experiences great customer service, they’ll tell two or three people. If a person experiences bad customer service, they’ll tell everyone they know. Let me give you an example of how a bad personality will hurt you. I worked with a network engineer who was brilliant at what he did, but he had a terrible personality. He was not friendly to anyone, and he was never willing to help anyone. In fact, he went so far as to give some people completely wrong information. Well, he was looking for a different job. His interviewer happened to know another colleague of mine who was often on the receiving end of this engineer’s unpleasantness. In fact, this colleague was the interviewer’s former boss. Well, let’s just say that this colleague let the network engineer have it with both barrels. He did give him credit for his skills, but he let him know about his sour, uncooperative personality, and gave examples of how the engineer gave people incorrect information deliberately. Suffice it to say, this network engineer didn’t get the job.
I would love to hear your thoughts, opinions and experiences. Please post a constructive comment.
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