• Edward DeJesus

How Redundancy Keeps Job Seekers Stuck

Have you ever asked for advice but all you got back was nothing new?

Pretty disappointing, right? You don’t want to seem ungrateful, so you try to keep your mouth shut and hope this won’t be a long one. You leave unfulfilled, a little gun shy about asking another person again. So you turn to Brother Yo’ Utu Be (his government name is YouTube), but it happens again. You’re locked in an algorithm that gives you back what you already know. How can you escape?

At Social Capital Builders, we call this redundancy.

Simply put, it describes the similarity in information that is shared within your network. It’s the information given to you by another that could be omitted because you already have it. In fact, it can trap you in an echo chamber of sameness, keeping you locked up in your present situation.

The value added from each additional connection that possesses the same information as you is zero. So, no matter how big your network gets, you’re still at the starting line.

While building social capital, you must be mindful of leaping social distance to connect with diverse, valuable resources not already in your possession. This is how you grow.

The reason that you’ve been stuck in your situation is probably because you hang out with a lot of people who are just like you.

While we do not discount the power of a supportive many, we know all too well the dangers of a disconnected few. The only thing that differentiates the well-connected from you is that their connections offer less redundancy. By harnessing social capital hubs that provide a variety of connection points, you can hop great distances in social space to help reach your goals, no matter how ambitious.

For example, there are only about 1800 total board members at the top 100 corporations in America; if you want to connect with one of them, you can do it through social capital building. All it takes is a few connects outside of your usual network.

Maybe you need to grab the attention of an influential person or entrepreneur you want to collaborate with or work for. Again, through the power of social capital, you can make this a reality. The key is to recognize that no matter how big your network is or how many Facebook friends you have, if it’s filled with redundancy, it won’t get you very far.

Mark Granovetter, a famous sociologist and Stanford University professor, is well known for his study of the strength of weak ties. In his research, he found that our close connections tend to have contacts that overlap with our own, and therefore can’t offer fresh opportunities. Ironically, it’s the weaker ties more so than friends and family who can link you up with a new job.

Keep in mind that we are not discounting your friends; they can support in ways that only people close to you can. But the question we need to ask is, are they keeping you stuck?

That’s why social capital building is so important. Instead of relying solely on people with whom you have strong ties, try the social capital building strategy of collecting connects who can offer fresh advice, introductions and opportunities (weak ties). By recognizing the redundancy in your current circle — and then taking the steps to refresh it — all kinds of possibilities will open up.

A network of non-redundant connections will get you where you want to be.

All it takes is a little social capital knowledge and a lot of social capital courage to get started. To guide programs on this journey, we teach organizations how to help job seekers determine their Redundancy Quotient (RQ). It’s a powerful exercise that teaches trainees that not all redundancy is bad but that too much of it, like almost anything, can cause more harm than good. Let us show you how.

What’s your RQ?

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

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