words Alexa Wang
Human capital is a critical component of ensuring an organization’s long-term growth, but what does social capital entail? Per Encyclopedia Britannica, social capital refers to the professional relationships that humans maintain to “secure benefits and invent solutions to problems through membership in social networks.”
Social capital empowers professionals to build a community of like-minded individuals in their field of work and beyond. These connections encourage professionals to circulate new opportunities such as job openings, educational workshops, networking events and career fairs.
Social Capital Research divides social capital into three categories: bonding, bridging and linking. By understanding how your peers developed their own professional lives, you can learn a thing or two about. Here are some considerations to help you start making social capital a priority in your own career development.
Category #1: Bonding
Social Capital Research explained bonding in the context of social capital as an association “with local communities where many people know many other people in the group.” This category of social capital “is often associated with strong norms, mores and trust” that can positively impact one’s professional network. Bonding typically occurs between members of a tight-knit social group where two professionals in the same field both happen to have the same group of friends in addition to the same area of work.
Category #2: Bridging
Bridging describes the process of bringing together two professionals from two separate circles into the same network.This type of social capital can apply to meeting someone new who does not work in the same industry as you but who is connected to you since you know the same people. Look into your university’s alumni network or diversity meet ups in your community for opportunities to bridge new connections.
Category #3: Linking
If bridging sounds like a desirable form of building social capital, then you will likely find linking equally fascinating. Social Capital Research reported that linking social capital is formed through “networks of trusting relationships between people who are interacting across explicit, formal or institutionalized power or authority gradients in society.” One example of linking social capital entails a politician connecting with a prominent campaign donor in their political party or a nonprofit organization’s board of directors partnering with a social media expert to brainstorm novel ideas for public awareness.
What can social capital do for you?
The opportunities offered to you via social capital are endless. Social capital can help you identify a new job to apply to or even help put your resume at the top of the stack if you connect with a potential referral. To advance with your present employer, you can leverage social capital bonds to demonstrate an interest in new internal opportunities. Take joining a professional organization, for example. Saray Lopez, director of student diversity and inclusion at University of Phoenix, suggested that “if you are a current student or alumni of a higher education institution, engage with its student organizations.” Lopez confirmed that alumni and student organizations are “a fantastic way to connect with others in your field of interest,” offering benefits such as interview practice, resume review and general leadership development.
There is no doubt that social capital can help you meet new people in a similar career stage. But be sure to take note of how social capital can help you form mentor-mentee bonds as well. Finding a mentor can help you receive advice and guidance from someone in your field whose career trajectory you admire. Your mentor could be in your workplace or perhaps at a similar organization. The opportunities are countless.
About University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix is a renowned provider of higher education offering over 100 academic degree programs and certificates. The University employs practitioner-driven instructors to help prepare its student body for the careers of tomorrow. Popular areas of study include business, nursing, cybersecurity and education.
University of Phoenix is one of the leaders in adult learning and online education. Over 40 years after first opening its doors with a mission to break down barriers in higher education, the University continues to offer robust programs that empower adult learners to earn an education on their chosen terms.