The Power of Social Capital: When we talk about social capital, we’re referring to the practice of creating and maintaining relationships with people that result in diverse social networks willing and able to support and advocate for one another. It’s developing a community of influential and passionate people from a broad range of backgrounds and industries with a common admiration and respect for each other. Like any team, the more varied the specialties and knowledge, the better. The glue of the network is shared values and ethics: the general commitment to excellence and wish to better themselves and their field.
We all appreciate the importance of both having and being a mentor, and the pivotal roles these people play in career journeys. However, investing in the development of your social capital is just as crucial as refining your business skills because having the right network facilitates your career trajectory.
For example, there are many job vacancies that are not published. A good number of positions (and often some of the most coveted ones) are filled through networking and connections. At UAS, we have a lot of experience hiring professionals we’re familiar with as good industry connections. In a highly specialized and niche industry like ours, it’s almost to be expected; people are consistently demonstrating their skills and expertise through their network. For jobseekers out there: you shouldn’t wait until the interview to sell yourself; you should be communicating your passion and expertise on a regular basis.
It could be argued that some have a natural advantage when it comes to their social network – whether they have relatives or university friends that are well connected in their chosen field. However, you can create a personal advantage and distinguish yourself by making connections and networking to enhance your social capital.
Take this to the next level by adding value for people in your network. This can be done in a variety of different ways whether you help them develop in some way, give them support when they need it, or advocate on their behalf. Helping people without having an agenda or an outcome in mind- helping them because you admire them and want the best for them- is the utmost expression of the true power of social capital.
By growing a network of interesting, inspiring, and accomplished people around you, you will always be in the best place to share ideas and insight.