Building Social Capital

Mar 20, 2023

Have you ever heard of social capital? If not, you are in the right place. Social capital is a personal network of valuable connections that can help you discover career opportunities, gain preparation and get you in front of decision makers in often well paid roles within in-demand industries. While everyone has a network not everyone uses their network to their benefit when it comes to tapping into those valuable resources to uncover jobs that you probably didn’t know were available. How can you improve your chances of enhancing your social capital?

What is Social Capital?

If you have worked in a corporate job before you are probably aware of the various levels of leadership that exist. Someone who is looking forward to building their social capital would learn as much as they can about their leaders and even their leader’s connections. They would also participate in events that allow them to introduce themselves, mingle and create a bond perhaps over a coffee chat, zoom call or community events. Remember, a connection that is a decision maker can introduce you to others that may have the ability to help  you move into careers (whether laterally, better paid, or higher ranked) than where you may be. There are a few types of social capital as described in Investopedia, “bonding, bridging and linking.” An example of bonding would be a neighborhood association or community program where people who have a similar interest as you gather and connect. Bridging is where different groups  with a similar interest create a relationship over certain events or causes that are mutually beneficial. Linking is where people connect who may not share the same background or socioeconomic status; however, are connected through shared experiences. Linking tends to be the method of social capital that jobseekers use when trying to land a higher paying job or move up in social circles.

How Do You Improve Your Social Capital?

If you are interested in building your social capital or your personal network, try reconnecting with past coworkers, teachers, prior bosses (whom you had a good working relationship with) and friends. At company events try introducing yourself to new people that work in different departments than you and get to know more about them and their interests. If you are bold enough to do it, try searching on LinkedIn to find someone that holds your dream career and send them a message requesting to connect. While it may seem a little scary initially, you will be surprised at how many people are happy to connect and help you grow your network. Another option is to join a local community program such as the chamber of commerce for your area, attend school board meetings or local city or county commissioner meetings (these are public and open to  interested community members). You can even search online or within your favorite social media networking site for groups to learn more about and join.

Go Forth and Capitalize on Your Social Capital! Now that you have a foundation to build out your social capital and improve your personal network, consider if career coaching is a tool that you would benefit from receiving. SkillUp Coalition hosts group and individual career coaching sessions designed to help Upskillers improve their chances of landing in-demand career opportunities. Visit SkillUp Resources for more details and to get started today.

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