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Using Social Capital to Get a Summer Job and More

Do you want to improve your chances of landing a job this summer and beyond? Just invest some of your social capital. Do you know how much social capital you have? Columbia University research states that you probably know 611 people who also know 611 people — that's 373,321 connections.

Impossible? Now wait, think of every classmate in grammar, middle and high school. Think of every teacher, counselor, and co-worker. Add family members to the list and you are quickly approaching six hundred. Now think of the people that they know. Let’s be honest, with a group so large, you know that someone is willing to lend a hand. So, what are you waiting for? In Workforce and Summer Job Success, I teach you how to reach out to only a fraction of these people and make looking for a job something that you'll never have to do again.

Who has the time to call on every babysitter and grammar school friend? To reach all these people would require calling 143 people a week for 50 years just to reach 373,321. Based on research conducted by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, you don’t need to reach out to that many. You only need to reach 150 people; that's just 2.8 people a week.

In Workforce and Summer Job Success we say, "You already know the person who is going to help you get your next job." Well, you do. The chances of getting a job from a friend or a friend of a friend is 3x as great as getting a job from a website or agency. So why aren’t more young people doing it? Here is a shortlist of the five most common reasons why you may not be using your social capital to get the job.

1. You haven't taken time out to learn about the value of social capital.

How much time and resources did your school spend in teaching you about social capital and investing in helping you build it? For most of us, the answer is none. If you are not taught about the value of social capital, it's hard to build it.

2. You don't ask for help from others because you're afraid that you have nothing to give in return.

Social capital building is not about receiving, it’s about giving. The simple act of helping another is a major factor that bonds people together.

3. You think you did it all by yourself.

While healthy self-esteem is a good thing, we must all recognize that nobody succeeds alone. Understanding this simple but crucial truth can mean the difference between building social capital and losing it.

4. You don't make connections before you need them.

You are connected to over half a million people, and the only time you try to connect is when you need a job. That's not social capital building– that's networking. Social capital building is an outcome; networking is an activity. I don’t say “ I have networking with you.” “I say I have social capital with you.”

5. You're still hung up on stuff you did in the past.

If it's over one year, they forgive you. We all mess up. The people who need to forgive you probably need some forgiving too. You never know till you ask. So, go call the Director at your old program. She really didn't want to kick you ou,t but you know the situation. The program really wants the best for you and will be glad to see that you are making some "MAKiN' iT" moves. At least you will get the benefit of clearing up some old cobwebs and a chance to reclaim some of your old social capital.

Investing in building your social capital is the gift that keeps giving. Check out our new book Workforce and Summer Job Success. Also, check out our Youtube page for some powerful videos about social capital and job hunting. You'll never have to look for a job again.

Edward DeJesus is the President of DeJesus Solutions and the Founder of Social Capital Builders.

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