Being a recent grad can be exhilarating but also a little intimidating.? You have taken the first step in building a successful career. What comes next is, for many, a time of uncertainty. what does it take to get to the next level in the workplace?
You’ve got the academic training and a degree to prove it. (Go you!) Next up is figuring out the job market and building social capital. That’s the new buzzword, often used in a professional context, but it applies to your personal life as well. it’s the network of meaningful relationships that enables you to function effectively in society.
Professionally, social capital helps you create an extensive backer network of mentors and industry contacts who will help set up win-win opportunities between talented candidates like yourself and hiring companies.
It may sound intimidating, but social capital is really just a fancy term for something we already do. We call it networking! In its essence, this chain of human connectivity can reap rewards when handled with care and diligence. the more meaningful relationships you create along your journey in life, the greater your returns, both personally and in the workplace. The returns are not immediate, but over time can greatly enhance your career prospects and also help you feel more connected at work.
Think of social capital as a form of currency: by investing your time and energy into the right kind of relationships and ensuring quality over quantity, the returns you will receive are invaluable! The more connections you make with people around you, the larger your “bank balance” grows.
The Importance Of Social Capital
Investing in your social capital at the start of your career can bring immense rewards. Not only might it be a gateway to offers from top-tier companies, but there are also resources and skills that you will learn on this journey that will further enhance your prospects down the road. Making meaningful connections with professionals in related industries provides insight into various paths you might choose and affords an opportunity for you to learn more about your interests, broadening your knowledge base over time. And in the future, you’ll be in a much better position to give back to people who will view you as a mentor and a source of their social capital.
Young professionals, whether they’re domestic grads or international ones, can benefit from cultivating their social capital. Connecting with people is a great way to get your foot in the door; employers are highly likely to hire applicants on referrals and recommendations! So expanding that network pool it’ll bolster those skill sets you already have and give you insider access for picking up new ones.
Social Capital in your Personal Life
Building personal social capital means forging strong connections with other people outside of the workplace. It?s not just about family and friends ? research shows that belonging to a larger community such as an orchestra or a club directly impacts your mental health, and that will help you perform better on the job.
To build personal social capital, figure out what you?d like to do and how often you want to do it, and spend some time doing a web search to see what kinds of community events are happening, contact them, and arrange a visit!
If you?re looking to improve your presentation skills maybe every other week, you might find a Toastmasters club to be helpful. Want to play a sport to stay active? There are recreational leagues that are run by community centers.?
Beyond enjoying your life more, joining a community may help with your professional networking: often, diversity in a community leads to greater insights that may not always be apparent.
And consider community volunteer work. It’s an invaluable way to network while investing back into society at large ? both rewarding experiences which can promote great social capital growth.
How To Start Building Your Social Capital
You’re likely already networking. Family, friends, classmates, ex-teachers and professors, college alumni ? all of them are a part of the investment that contributes to your social capital. Engaging with them on a regular basis and tapping into their networks is essential for your success. Sure, it can be uncomfortable at first but try to keep an open mind.
Here are some tips to help build social capital:
Connect with recruiters and interviewers?
1. Leverage college and alumni networks
2. Network with industry professionals
3. Build skills through community service
4. Enhance your CV, even as a fresh graduate
International students, especially: you may feel a lot of uncertainty given the novelty of the job market and the surroundings you find yourself in. However, with the right strategies and techniques in their toolbox, you can still make significant progress in advancing their goals for professional success. For example, attending events related to your field of interest is a great way to get known by others in the same industry. Also, many companies and organizations hold virtual career fairs where international students can have the chance to meet industry professionals and land internships or jobs. Don’t be afraid to reach out directly to people working in companies that you’re interested in as well.
How Social Networking Platforms Can Help
Last but not least, social media can be a powerful tool that can help you network and position yourself. It is not just about how many followers you have on Instagram. Platforms like LinkedIn are a great way to keep yourself updated on market trends, and job opportunities, and connect with other professionals. Recruiters are always seeking and sorting through profiles so remember to make sure your profile on job portals is always crisp and up to date.
Value of OOt: Breaking Down Barriers for Connections
Compound your ability to build social capital with an emerging technology offered by OOt Social. You can use the OOt app wherever you go to maximize your professional network and find valuable relationships! Whether at a high-end coffee shop or an industry conference, to connect with other people using OOt. OOt uses a social mapping technology with a focus on organizational communities and communities of interest that can help you understand where people are hanging out. OOt also helps you broker conversations using a double opt-in mechanism on the platform. OOt uses proximity to help people connect face to face, without the sting of rejection and understanding common interests, to help break the ice. OOt Connections is launching in Spring 2023.
All of this takes time ? you?re building your social capital one conversation at a time. Building a strong personal and professional network is just like constructing any other project?you want your foundation strong. Impressions matter, so don?t forget that when you meet new people, politeness and listening can go a long way. Eventually, those pieces will begin to click together and enrich your experience! And one day, you?ll be helping open up doors for fresh graduates by introducing them to the network you have spent years cultivating.
This is the first blog in a series of blogs that will dive into each of the tips.? We hope you find value and please share your feedback with us. Happy social capital building.