The Power of a
Personal Connection

Steve Dean
Dec 29, 2014 · 3 min read

Having a wide network works wonders for job hunting. Imagine how much easier your life becomes when, instead of submitting a random resume and cover letter to the Microsoft careers site, you can instead do a Facebook graph search for “friends of my friends who work at Microsoft” and voilà — all you need to do is send a quick Facebook message requesting a personal warm introduction, and within minutes you can find yourself chatting directly with the Microsoft hiring manager.

In sending that message, you just went from being a single resume among thousands in a database to suddenly being directly connected to the person who will ultimately invite you into the company. Better yet, if you have connections within the company who can explicitly vouch for you, they can actively petition the hiring managers to bring you onto the team. Life gets so much easier when you have champions for your cause within the office!

Why is connectedness so important?

Why is connectedness on LinkedIn and Facebook such a critical tactic for job hunting success? It all comes down to evolutionary psychology and humans’ implicit ingroup/outgroup biases. If someone sees that they’re connected to you via someone they know, they’re going to be far more likely to trust you, and they’ll subsequently give you more attention than they’d give to someone who lacks that common bond.

Let’s look at a practical example. As a job matchmaker who helps people get connected to work they’re passionate about, when I see that a new jobseeker and I have mutual friends, I immediately know that I can send any of those friends a 5-second text message asking them if you’re legit. If you and I didn’t have mutual connections, I’d have to scour the internet and make random cold calls in search of some way to validate who you are.

Connections are valuable

Employers and recruiters are very sensitive to any factors that make their lives easier and their searches more effective. Getting a referral can make you 300–400% more likely to get hired. Mutual connections are truly golden.

Every single connection you add on Linkedin or Facebook lets you immediately benefit from all of that person’s existing connections. Seeing mutual friends makes us feel safe. Online dating has already proven this a thousand times over — just look how much easier it is to get a Tinder date when you have friends in common! Obviously, though, the quality of the connections you make is important. If your connections can’t personally vouch for you, then they become less helpful, but even if they don’t know you well, you’ll still benefit from the initial feelings of security and validation that employers and recruiters will feel upon merely spotting the common connection.

Thanks for reading!

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