Six Degree of Separation and Social Networking

“Six degrees of separation” suggests that everyone on Earth can be connected to everyone else in no more than six steps.  In that vein, the Australian documentary “How Kevin Bacon Cured Cancer” traces the development of network science.  There are many implications that can be applied to this theory.  The internet, power grids, transportation networks, disease and the human cell all follow the same principles and design as our own networks of people.


This documentary is a powerful 60 minutes that should be experienced.  I suggest you take the time to watch the documentary as it make a compelling case that small worlds exist and the world is smaller than we think.  Everyone can reach anyone with just a few steps.  I suggest you take the time to watch the documentary and think about how this can relate to your employment situation. 


Networking is instrumental when conducting a job search.  It’s thru the networking process that you will have the most success in securing employment.  As a job seeker, you will want to find that job, that is not advertised or what is called the “hidden job market”.  About 75% percent of available jobs can be found in the hidden job market.  Employers are most likely to hire thru referrals or someone they know.    


You can increase the effectiveness of your job search just by reaching out to the people you know and asking for references.  Everyone knows at least 200 people with one degree of separation would allow you to reach 12,000 people and so on.  Networking sites such as LinkedIn and Face book are examples of networking thru association. 


A good way to start your job search is by making a list of everyone you know and let them know you are out searching for work.  You never know who those people will know.  By reaching out, people will instinctually want to assist and will make the effort. 


Studying networks will help you to understand that events are not isolated but the human race really does depend on each other.  We live in a society that is interrelated on many levels and yet we only notice when something goes wrong.  If you can understand this then you can understand network science is the foundation to the 21st century and our survival. 


The bottom line is to get out there, talk to your friends and relatives, and attend networking groups and association events.  Let everyone you know that you are looking for a job and ask for assistance.  Your goal should be to make at least one connection during the event that could be your ticket to a new job.  Remember, all you need is one job. 

This article was written by Liane H. Gould, Manager of Career Services of the ACS Department of Career Management and Development.

4 Responses to Six Degree of Separation and Social Networking

  1. Carla Klittich says:

    This looks intriguing but the download link has expired; is there another way to see the documentary without purchasing it through ABC Australia?

  2. Randy Wedin says:

    I was able to watch it last week, but when I checked today, the link had expired. Maybe it’s just available free for the first month. (The show aired on Oct. 28, 2008.)

    Here’s a link to a short (2 minutes and 10 second) teaser for the show, found on YouTube.

    Here’s a link to an mp3 audio interview related to the show:
    [audio src="" /]

    These two links, however, are far from as satisfying as the entire documentary. I hope someone figures out a link to the entire film itself.

  3. lhgould says:

    I found the full documentary on youtube. Enjoy.

  4. HRPro says:

    Also, make sure your references know they’ll be contacted. I get a lot of lukewarm/bad references when I call for previous employment. If you’re not sure what they’ll say, might be worth running a reference check first on your own. There are companies that will check your reference for you…if you google reference checking, you’ll see a few, like Alllison & Taylor and

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