Social Capital is Like Credit, Build it Before You Need It

I received a LinkedIn message from a past employee the other day.  He had just lost his job and wanted my thoughts on his next move and wondered if I could help.  I hadn’t heard from him in a long time. I almost never see him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.  For all intents and purposes, he doesn’t exist in my world or online.

He’s not alone.  I get similar calls, emails, and LinkedIn requests all the time from past associates, friends, clients etc. who are looking to change jobs, promote a new business, etc., and it drives me crazy.

These people are attempting the equivalent of trying to buy a house and build credit at the same time.  It just doesn’t work that way.

If your career matters to you, if accelerating your career development is important, then you have to start building social capital NOW!

Asking for a favor is like asking for a loan. You need to earn it, via built up social capital.  Thinking you can stroll onto the scene and start asking people for things, without having earned it, is a joke. It’s selfish and self-serving. Life is about giving not taking. Building social capital is about giving when you don’t need anything.

How much social capital do you have right now?  How much time in your day, do you spend connecting with, helping, sharing and engaging with the people in your social media circles?  It needs to be a lot. Do you even have a social media circle?

Social capital is like credit. You can’t build credit overnight. It takes time and a commitment to the right behaviors. Start building your social capital NOW, before you need it!