Six Degree of Separation

If there is any doubt about the value of your contacts in identifying and putting you in touch with the hiring person at your targeted organization, consider:

Researchers analyzed 30 billion Microsoft Messenger instant messages sent among 180 million people from around the world. They concluded that any two people are, on average, just 6.6 degrees of separation apart, meaning that they could be linked by a string of seven or fewer acquaintances. The database covered the entire Microsoft Messenger instant-messaging network in June 2006, or roughly half the world’s instant-messaging traffic at that time, researchers said. (Peter Whoriskey, “Messagers Really Are About Six Degrees From Kevin Bacon,” Washington Post, Saturday, August 2, 2008)

Your contacts are the ultimate resource to identify and communicate with potential employers. For the skeptics try this experiment, email all your contacts with the following request:

“I am trying to find the name, email and telephone number of the person responsible for hiring at____ (you fill in the organization). If you can’t help me can you ask your network of acquaintances if they or one of their friends can help?” The results will amaze and reinforce the value of developing and keeping in touch with a wide and varied group of contacts. Don’t wait until you need them, start today, and have the discipline to make this a recurring activity!