Building to a Tipping Point

Malcolm Gladwell begins his discussion in The Tipping Point with an explanation of how ideas, behaviors, messages and products spread the same way that viruses do. Like epidemics, successfully marketed products are contagious; small changes can have large impacts; and changes happen in a hurry.
When job hunting, you can consider yourself the product being marketed. As with a product, these three things are important. By making yourself “contagious,” you make sure that your abilities and news that your job hunting pass quickly through your network and beyond. Small changes, such as making a new acquaintance or volunteering to work an event, can have a big impact on your success. Remembering to write out a personalized thank you note, and mailing it in may be exactly the touch needed. Finally, when a job becomes available, chances are good things will move quickly and you need to be ready for that, by having a resume prepared for each type of job you are interested in.


Like advertising a product, the idea is to create you as a contagious message, with a strong network, so that you can ‘tip’ and find a job; so you will be in demand. This requires applying each of the rules learned about in The Tipping Point.
The Law of the Few:
This law states that there are a small number of people (“lead users”) who effect a change and it is through their knowledge and contact that it spreads and multiplies. This means that you need to know these influential people and pass your message – who you are, that you’re looking for a job, what your skills are – onto and through them.
Stickiness Factor:
The message itself needs to be ‘sticky’ or something that will spread and stay with each person it touches. Your skills and who you are needs to be sticky. You need to constantly work to stay at the top of your field, to make yourself competitive in the job market, and to gain experience and knowledge that will allow you to offer unique abilities to an employer.
Power of Context:
Epidemics are strongly influenced by their situation; this means you need to work on building your network in an area where there are publishing companies; you need to attend events that are attended by other people in publishing; you need to try to be in the right place at the right time to meet the right people – bringing us back to The Law of the Few.

When planning on looking for a new job I would begin by returning to these rules. The first step would be find an position within the type of  company I wanted to work for. In order to do this I would work on each of the above rules simultaneously. I would begin by contacting the people I already know who are in publishing and letting them know I was looking for a job. Next, I would work to improve my stickiness and create the best possible context by volunteering to work events where I could increase my experience doing the type of activities I wanted to do (ex. volunteer to help with the  marketing and outreach, if interested in marketing). I would also sign up to attend upcoming Media Bistro events, (ex. especially those targeted for people involved in marketing). By doing these things, I would hope to increase my stickiness factor, increase my chances of meeting lead users (potential employers), and increase the likelihood of being in the right place at the right time (context).

Other Relevant Posts:
How To Write a Resume
How To Write a Cover Letter
Advertising Yourself: Resume & Cover Letter

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Explore posts in the same categories: Becoming Professional

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