CHAPTER 5Fifty Percent of People Find a New Job Through Their Social Networks—Weak Connections Matter More Than Strong Ones

Embarking on a career is one of the most exciting times of your life. After many years of sitting in a classroom, the moment has come to put what you have learned into practice. Things don't go smoothly for everybody, though. After all, it's not so easy to find a job. Social networks can be a significant aid to a successful professional start.

Of course, a sound education constitutes the basis of any successful professional career. Income data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the United States clearly shows that people with a higher education usually have higher income and lower risk of unemployment. The average annual salary for high school graduates is about $37,000; for those with a bachelor's degree, it's $60,000; and for people with a doctorate, it's $90,000. So education pays off in our working lives. Of course, the figures mentioned here refer to people actively engaged in a professional life, who have overcome the obstacles of entry in the labor market. The figures don't reveal anything about how this entry can be achieved. Entry, however, is an important obstacle on the path to professional success.

In the United States, some 20% of interviewees say that they ask their families and relatives for advice and help when looking for work. More than 50% say they found their job through their social networks. This is confirmed by the fact ...

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