Tag Archives: finding a job

The Number of Friends you have can affect your future employment opportunities

It should come as no surprise that the number of friends and professional connections you have affects your health in life. The more social you are, the more people you have looking out for you. The more connections you have in life the more you are aware of what is happening around you. We all like to think that we don’t need anyone else in life to help us because we feel that we are bothering that person but the truth is that when you create a healthy relationship with someone where the give and take are roughly equal, in a sense, then you will see that we very much need people in our lives. The truth of the matter though is that our social circles also affects our career options in life.

Our social life is directly linked to our health which means the more events you attend and the more people you meet, the more energetic you are to get out and meet more people. Social fears and phobias develop in youth when a child is prevented from going out and exploring the world on their own. They never learn social skills by learning to strike up conversations with strangers. The problem with the age of 18 is that society somehow thinks its a magical number where someone just is expected to know how to deal with everything in life all of a sudden because they turned 18; not if they are not allowed to learn and do things on their own before then.

Many young adults, and people in general, feel they are socially awkward and rather than risk looking like a fool in front of other people they just stay home and watch on-demand entertainment (a habit that is destroying traditional TV watching). The reason Dale Carnegie made a huge success on his books was because he first tapped into the area of social-psychology by teaching people how to interact with one another and showing them how to make friends by using very simple techniques. Those same skills are still being taught today in seminars and workshops which can cost a lot of money. So why don’t schools focus on teaching students social skills that literally can make or break one’s whole life experiences? The reason? It’s too soft a skill to teach and many certain groups of people would feel that their children are being brain-washed by some left or right wing thinking. How sad.

Your Future Employment
It’s no surprise that people with the jobs they like the most are usually connected to a number of other people. For example, Bob in senior accounting will let his best friend know there is an opening coming soon and that if his friend wants to apply he should send his stuff right away to so and so. Study after study keeps confirming that the more people you know the easier it is to get a job. Infact, it has been proven that the more social people are in school the higher their success rate later in life. You can read here for some networking career tips here from Yale’s career center on how to get better at networking.

The great thing about school is that you are constantly surrounded by people so it is easier to make connections, find out what is happening in your community, and learn about job opportunities faster. Group projects enable people to make new connections and learn about people’s strengths and weaknesses. The schools that create the best creative people focus on group projects for all their work because it gets people to learn to work together and maximize their strengths but also connections. Teens and young adults are exposed to a number of new people daily because of their school life so the number of opportunities in life is dependent on the number of friends they have and the connections of their friend’s friends.

The interesting thing about social groups is that they get smaller as you get older because life switches from doing school daily for 12 years surrounded by a lot of people to going to college and learning more but in a less crowded manner. In school you have people around you all the time that you know, whereas, in college you are surrounded by a lot of people you don’t know so your social circle shrinks. This is why they say to join student organizations because it will help you make new friends with people who share your same interests. After college your social circle shrinks again because you are constantly working and have less time to spend with friends. Your friends social time also shrinks because they might be more focused on career goals and might be starting a family.

Social groups change from the teens to the 20s and  the 30s, from large groups of people to smaller groups to pairs. This kind of social shock for some can limit people’s social opportunities. The people who are not tied down enjoy more opportunities in their life and career because they do not have to discuss their decision with anyone else. They advance faster in their career and can travel more. The challenge with getting older though is that it does get harder to make new friends because there are less opportunities to join organizations and meet people if you are not social. This is why the website meetup.com is so huge because it allows people to find groups of people with similar interests but for many though it can still be a challenge just to show up to one because of social phobias. But if everyone has them why not make the first move by introducing yourself?

Social Skills Over Time
This is an area that most people do not think about because most people think their social skills are fine or that they do not need to make any new friends. The truth is that people need to always refine their people skills because those that know how to talk with others to get stuff done go farther in life than those that do not know how to start a conversation. Growing up in school it is easier to start conversations with other people because you are surrounded by so many people you grew up with so it is easier to just jump right in to any group of people and start talking

In college you have to be more forward in order to talk with other people otherwise you will be left by yourself most of the time. You cannot expect other people to approach you so you have to get out and do stuff and many times just go right up to people and say, “hi.” The last part is a huge challenge for majority of people because of fear. In the workspace it can get a litter easier to strike up a conversation with someone because everyone works for the same employer making it easier to have something to say in the beginning. It is not uncommon to develop work friendships because everyone is working on the same projects and have something to talk about afterwards. Then Ttere are those groups of people who just want to come in and impress the boss so they work longer hours, finish their work faster, and get more done at the expense of talking to people and making friends.

People who work in the same job for many years risk losing the understanding of what it takes to find a job. They expect that they will always have the same job. Those are the people who will have a culture shock when they are finally let go and have to find a new job again. The challenge with that is that they do not realize that after all those years they should have been making more friends and connections and updating their skills in order to stay marketable to other companies instead of working hard all the time and ignoring social outings with co-workers. The risk with getting too comfortable in your current job is that you can lose your job at anytime and have nothing to show for what you’ve done. The connections you make in your 30s and 40s have a huge impact on your employment in your 50s and 60s when it is harder to employ older individuals.

Social Evolution
Again this is an area that most people do not spend time thinking about because they are too focused on themselves for anything. The myth that if you just do your job really well and meet all your deadlines your company will reward you with a promotion, bonus, and job security. Job security isn’t real anymore and everyone is at risk for losing their job at any moment. In many cases the people who finish their assigned work the fastest might make it harder for the company to find them work to do and see a reason for demoting you to part-time instead of full-time or just hiring on a case-by-case basis. This can come as a shock to someone who believed that as long as they did what was asked of them, they would be rewarded. That is just not the case anymore.

Researchers, Connie Wanberg, Ruth Kanfer, Darla J. Hamann, and Zhen Zhang went through many studies across different disciplines to analyze social behavior on employment and what they found was that people who are younger tend to be unemployed for shorter periods of time than older individuals. This is all due to the fact that younger people are exposed to more social groups and interact with more people on a daily basis so they hear about more opportunities faster. Older individuals, on the other hand, are unemployed longer because of the nature of many things, including their social circles, which tend to be smaller because they value the quality of certain relationships more than maintaining larger groups of friendships. The other issue is that older individuals are out of touch with the ways of finding a job in today’s economy. If a person in their 50s and 60s, and maybe even 70s were to look for a job they would have to understand that they will not find it in any kind of newspaper or walking door-to-door to shops and businesses. They will have to learn how to perform certain actions that are common in the workplace now that were not taught when they were in school.

The number of social connections gets smaller as people get older and the only way to fix that is by maintaining the ones you have now and going out and meeting more people. The results of the researcher’s study found that if you want to make it easier on yourself for finding a job when you are older, you need to maintain the relationships you have at work and outside in your 30s and 40s so that you have connections to new job opportunities in your 50s and 60s. Those friendships from long ago will help you manage new job opportunities in the future. Infact, older people are realizing that with the new gig economy happening, they can find new sources of income that can help offset the growing costs of living. This is very important to learn because it can mean an improved way of living. For others who still want to continue working, it is helpful to understand the importance of always meeting new people in life.

In the movie, The Intern, a older man realizes that retirement is not all what he hoped it would be. He spends time with a few people but he knows his time could be better spent working again. The long days of having nothing to do got to him so he applied for a job. He found a flyer looking for older people who would like to work for a startup fashion company. He took the information and called them up. In the movie you see this man grow his social circle by ten-fold and make new friends. He quickly realized how outdated his technical skills were but not his executive skills. Many older people will enjoy this movie because for some it will strike a chord in their heart in knowing that they would like to work again like they used to when they were younger. The other part that is touching about the movie is that the older man watches how frantic all these young people are working knowing what is at the end for all of them. I thoroughly enjoyed the film because no matter where you work, there will always be someone there after you to fill in the spot so rather than focus on putting in the long hours, one should focus on the friends they will make everywhere they go because you never know when you might need to call on that person for a favor or a lead to a new job later on in life. Do yourself the favor of going and seeing this movie because it has so many interesting things to say about the workplace for older people who are can still provide value.

If you are stuck about how to improve your social circle, look back at some of my past articles on networking but start first with Never Eat Alone and The Fine Art of Small Talk. Those should help you get started. You can look in the book section of this website to find out other books to read on networking.


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Looking for High-End Jobs online? Your Wasting Your Time

Walk on to any golf course between the early mornings and lunch time and you will see many men puttering about on their golf carts with other people. They’re laughing, talking, and having a good time. From a distance they are just people enjoying a nice time out on the range shooting a few balls around.

During the same time that is happening there are people eating in nice cafes or restaurants either for brunch or lunch. Then there are the people who are enjoying a really nice dinner in a high end restaurant to cap off their busy day somewhere in the world right now. Again, from a distance they just look like people enjoying a nice meal and talking.

Now lets zoom in to those conversations. What is really happening there? Why aren’t the people who are playing golf at work? Don’t they have jobs and shouldn’t they be working to make money so they can support what ever it is they do? This is regardless of those who are retired and grew up doing the golf grooming thing. So, bottom line….why aren’t they working?

Real Work Happens Outside the Office
The truth about what those people are doing is that they ARE working, in the form of networking, conducting business deals, and talking over the details of prior arrangements. The idea of all business being conducted inside a closed office is one for the movies to show, and enough though some business does get done in those fancy rooms, people are people and high-end individuals like to conduct business in a fashion that is enjoyable for them.

The golfers and diners like to conduct business in a setting that puts them at ease so they can focus on what matters. This is also the place where offers are made, such as promotions and new job openings. The reason why you will never see an opening online for a CEO position is because those only go to people they already know (like a boys-only club), except in this case it’s an executives-only club. This is why people from Ivy Leagues have a greater chance of getting high end jobs, not because they know how to do the job (that’s just a given expectations and many times they have no experience so they will be groomed by their network of connections) but because their family knows people who know people who know who to talk to about getting the job.

Those dinners’ that happen over an expensive meal are meant to cover what is happening at the company. What new jobs are coming and in many cases, the new jobs that are created just to bring someone they like in to the company. This happens all the time. The higher up you know people the more power they have to create anything they want, even job positions. These are the very jobs that normally never get posted anywhere because they are only by word of month and friends of friends and even associates or class mates.

Word of Month Jobs
In many reportsstudies, and magazines articles, you find those never-heard-of-jobs through people you know or network with. I have been offered many jobs that didn’t exist because I have always been asked to come in and create programs for businesses. Would those jobs have been advertised if I didn’t take the job? Maybe, but the idea here is that companies are more interested in finding people who have proven that they know what they are doing and can see their work in action. This is better than reading a faceless resume. When people see what I am doing first-hand it takes out the guesswork of trying to find out if that person will be a good fit for what they are looking for. That is a better test than performing an interview.

In Keith Ferrazzi’s top networking book, Never Eat Alone, he explains the power of networking and why the top jobs always go to people who are connected with those at the top. These jobs are handed out because they see something in that person they know. More than 80% of jobs are found through a person’s network and the type of network a person has will depend on the type of job a person gets.

Rings on the Ladder
Many people complain that they never advertise the jobs they want online. I remember when I tried the whole looking for jobs online thing and found it to be a very depressing experience. Infact, if you look very carefully, the same jobs I was looking at a long time ago are still there on the sites today. Why is that? Well, those same jobs (ex. work from home, medical billing encoders, and sales reps for outlet stores, etc) are a whole business unto themselves, meaning there is a whole new business of making sure people take those jobs because the people posting them make money anytime someone signs up. Infact even the website The Ladders is an odd experience because if you are already making more than $100k (the only jobs posted on their website have to be more than $100k in salary) then chances are you are already surrounded by high-end opportunities through networking, your company culture, and even the jobs your friends are telling you about. So why would you use it if your company already posts all their jobs on their company website? Unless you plan on switching to another company.

So how does someone get out of that whole mess? If you want to improve the type of jobs you hear about you have to improve the type of people you associate with. Again, going back to Ivy League graduates, they have been around people who are successful in life and attend high-end events and parties. They mingle with other people who are successful and hear about opportunities that are not advertised. They end up working in jobs that are three or four levels higher than someone else who applied directly to the company would have started.

This is why birds of a feather flock together; why office assistants hangout with other office assistants and hear about more office assistant positions, why construction works hangout with other construction workers and hear about more jobs in construction, and why middle-class hangouts with other people in middle-class. If you want to find the jobs that are not advertised (i.e. executive level positions) and you have the knowledge, social skills, and some experience then you need to change your social circle of contacts and meet those who already work in those fields.

The last part I just mentioned is a difficult change for most people because if you have never been around people who have been successful their whole life and always been offered jobs instead of looked for them it can be a very intimidating experience. That is why books like, The Fine Art of Small Talk, The Art of Mingling, How to Win Friends and Influence People (I read this important book when I was in high school), Never Eat Alone, How to Make People Like You in 90 seconds or less, How to Work a Room, How to Start a Conversation and Make Friends, Conversational Speaking are so important to read. But very few people ever take the time to read these important books. Infact if you go to college, or even public school, no where in all those classes will you ever hear about these important books. These books teach you how to talk with people and make meaningful connections, they are the glue that binds us to other people. Something that is worth its weight in gold.

Creating Your Own Opportunities
Go on Kickstarter or Indiegogo and look at all the amazing ideas that people have come up with. Each idea for either a product or service is a business all by itself. These people, instead of sitting on their computer looking for jobs online, went out and created their own opportunities and gave themselves their own job. They created a good enough presentation for people to think their project was worth investing in.

The idea now is there are tons of different websites now that allow people to create all kinds of things on their own. Infact there are many websites, like Cafe Press and Threadless, that lets you create your own clothing line without ever touching a single piece of fabric. You just select the type of clothing you want to use, pick the style, and then upload your graphic image or text you want to appear on the clothing and then edit how it should look and then submit. You can create your own store online of all the different things you have create and post the link on your website or to give out to people you meet so they can see what you have done.

The ability to create any kind of business is so easy that it would only take you an hour or two at the most. You just have to be creative enough to come up with a fairly decent idea that people will be interested in buying. Even if the store is not successful right away (and you should never think your product or idea will be a viral hit right away, no one can predict that) you will have created something for you to showcase your talents that way if any employer is interested in hiring you then you can show them all the different projects you have created.

This is better than someone who sits at home all day sending out resumes to random employers for basic jobs that won’t go anywhere. If you create something at least that looks better than the person who does nothing all day. In either case, who would you hire?

Network Your Way Up
If you want to start networking then you can start by finding your cities main websites that tells you about all the events happening. A good place to start is your city’s Chamber of Commerce website and read about all the events happening. They always have networking opportunities. Here is how I would do it for Austin

Austin 360 Lists Tons of Events – Click Here to See
Austin Chamber of Commerce Events Calendar
Do512 – List of Events
Austin Business Journal – Events Calendar
Networking Austin
MeetUp – Business Networking Groups

As you can see I found tons of events to fill my entire fall calendar already. I will probably find a lot of new leads, job offers, and amazing opportunities by attending them. You can do the same for your city. A few key terms I used were “<name of city> networking events”, “<name of city> business events,” and “<name of city> business networking events.” That will help you out so take a look around and use the website Meetup to help. If you do not find what you are looking for, then use Facebook groups or Meetup to create your own networking group and invite people to join. You can also use Leftover Swap so you have food for everyone who attends or you can make it a potluck event. You can even create your own rules, like you introduce one person to someone and then that person has to introduce someone they know to someone else and pretty soon everyone knows at least two or three people at the networking event.


Whether you are looking for just a job to pay the bills or you actually want to elevate yourself into a new social circle then you will need the people skills to get you there. I have seen many great people at networking events bomb terribly, not because they didn’t have the skills or experience in their field but because their social skills were not up to par. I have heard comments or off-the-mark conversation topics, that they though were appropriate at the moment, that didn’t leave a good impression. The problem with that is they didn’t see it for themselves, they weren’t aware that what they were saying was making the other person uncomfortable.

If you want to improve your opportunities, get to know different people around you anywhere, and be able to have a conversation with anyone anywhere then my advice would be to read those books (their at your local library) and study them like you would for a final exam. It’s hard work because you have to keep testing out everything you read until you finally meet that person where you have a conversation with them that makes the both of you feel like you have known each other for a long time. That sounds easy reading it but it takes a lot of practice before you can make anyone your friend.

Once you know how to do that the world will open up with lots of opportunities.

Side Note: All the Books Listed in this article and in the Books Resource section of this website I have read. So I am not just posting books that have catchy titles. I have already put in the time and effort.

Expanded Reading List
Adversaries into Allies: Win People Over Without Manipulation or Coercion

Your Network Is Your Net Worth

Reputation Economics: Why Who You Know Is Worth More Than What You Have

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High

What Got you Here Won’t Get You There

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Study: Half Of All Available Jobs Are Never Advertised

Who you know is more important than you realize

80% of Today’s Jobs are Landed Through Networking