The importance of just a few people in your search for a new career

Not all people are equal when it comes to networking. It pays to know some people more than others, especially when you are looking for a new job. 

Have you ever wondered how information flows and whether some people tend to be responsible for sharing it more than others? Especially the kind of information that is more “word of mouth” than broadcast via official channels.

It turns out that there are a few particular types of people who are responsible for how much information flows, and how specific or high quality that information is. Understanding who these people are is vital for the success of your job search. Because, as much as networking is about the quality of your connection with a person, it is also about the quality of their connections with other, and how they share information. And if you can tap into connections with these particularly fascinating people, your job search will be exponentially easier.

It’s not just the personalities of these people that can provide huge value to your job search. It’s also about your networking style. In other words, how you act when you tap into these connections is just as important. 

According to Crosier, Dillon and Webster, “Social networks have always existed … From mundane communications to meeting the love of one’s life to inciting political revolution, network ties are the conduits by which information and resources are spread.”

In The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell explores how social networks are responsible for creating social epidemics, or virality, and explains what factors must be present for something to become a roaring success. As part of this, he coined The Law of the Few.

This law demonstrates there are three types of fascinating people with particular, but also rare social gifts. They are: Connectors and Mavens.  Connectors and Mavens have a pivotal role to play not just for social epidemics, but in professional networking too. These two types of people are instrumental in making the most of word of mouth for your personal job search efforts. 

Who are Connectors?

According to Gladwell, “six degrees of separation doesn’t mean that everyone is linked to everyone else in just six steps. It means that a very small number of people are linked to everyone else in a few steps, and the rest of us are linked to the world through those special few.”

Those special few people are the Connectors. They are people specialists by nature. They know many people and bring the world together by happily connecting one person with another who may be helpful to their needs. 
It’s important to understand that Connectors aren’t necessarily people who network for the purpose of boosting their business strategy. It’s not about what’s in it for them. They are genuinely interested in people and quite frankly, relish meeting and knowing others. It’s a completely natural part of their personality. Think of them as people collectors.

How can a Connector help your job search?

Because of their vast connections, and their innately helpful nature, a Connector has excellent potential to connect you with just the right person for your job search success. That is – if you, yourself, are connected with a Connector!

Who are Mavens?

Just as Connectors specialise in people, Mavens are the information specialists. Rather than people, these types share information. As subject matter experts, they continually accumulate knowledge and disseminate it as needed – for free! They are essentially information volunteers.

They are the ones most likely to have the inside scoop. But even better – they want to help. They want to share what they know to benefit you. 

How can a Maven help your job search?

Mavens in your area of expertise are worth seeking out – after all, they are the ones in the know.
They are thorough and exacting. So when they give you a lead on a job, you know it’s going to be worth pursuing. They get great satisfaction out of knowing they helped you – but not because they have a superiority complex. 
In relevance to your job search, you might expect that I would suggest seeking out a Maven in the HR and careers space, much like myself. But, Mavens are everywhere. And the ones who will be particularly beneficial to your job search are those inside your industry.
I’m talking about those people who know all the ins and outs about your field, not only about job vacancies, but about particular companies, key industry players, the latest industry news and important developments. You can expect more from a Maven than for them to share a job vacancy with you. Mavens can provide you with a host of information to help you position yourself in your job search, according to what the industry most needs.

Action steps

  1. Do you know a Connector?
  2. Are they are a close, dormant or weak tie?
  3. How can you best connect/reconnect with them today?
  4. Do you know a Maven?
  5. Are they are a close, dormant or weak tie?
  6. How can you best connect/reconnect with them today?

Now that you have a better understanding of how these two distinct personalities can be beneficial to your job search, it’s time to look at how your own networking personality can impact your success.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can leverage your existing relationships to fast-track your career growth, register your interest here for my upcoming book, Career Networking, coming in October 2020.

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