You can read all the business books and interview tips you want, but the surest way to score your dream job is to make friends. Here's why.

1. Referrals are the No. 1 source of hire.

It's hard to argue with the numbers: Research shows that in recent years, referrals have been the top source of hiring volume and quality. And it makes sense—Who can better recommend a job candidate than someone who chooses to share hopes, dreams, and brunch with said candidate?

2. Making new friends grows your network.

You know what's great about friends? They can help you make more friends. Friends with whom you can exchange business cards and "stay in touch" and who will keep you in mind should positions at their companies become available. Since companies pay dearly when they make hiring missteps—studies show that a bad hiring decision can cost the company 30 percent of the individual’s first-year potential earnings—employers agree it’s best to go with someone they know.

3. The people you meet early on will one day run the show.

Forming friendships with your peers at the beginning of your career can pay off exponentially down the road. Your fellow interns won't be interns forever, and when they’re running the show, you’ll be glad to be able to say, “I knew you when.”

4. Collaboration leads to new projects.

While referrals are the most common form of networking perks, they’re hardly the only positive result of workplace friendships. Finding kindred spirits in the office or classroom can also lead to some beautiful business relationships. When it comes to starting a new business, two brains are often better than one. Friends can inspire, motivate, and challenge you—which, coincidentally, are things you should look for in a business partner as well.

5. Friends become your support system…

Anyone who has spent time job-hunting or getting his or her own startup off the ground knows that looking for work is hard work. It’s draining (emotionally and financially), stressful, and can strip you of your self-confidence. So in those moments when you’re feeling down, good friends will help pick you back up and give you the push you need to keep going.

6. …and give the best advice.

Friends not only provide support in the darkest moments of your job search, but can also be a valuable source of insight. Mentors—your first boss, a college professor, or a veteran in your field whom you respect—can give you interview and cover letter pointers as well as share their vision for the future of your field.

7. Friends help you expand your knowledge base.

With nearly half of North American workers voluntarily changing industries (a recent study reports that, in 2012, 42 percent of workers changed industries in order to land a new position), chances are that you’ll be looking for more information about an unfamiliar field at some point in your career. Friends not only teach you about their specific jobs, but can also be a precious resource for talking through which of your skills can easily transfer to a new industry.

8. Social networking can increase your visibility and boost your reputation…

In the digital age, your virtual friends can be as important as your real-life ones. While likes and shares can’t fully replace face-to-face interaction, they are important tools for expanding your reach. By cultivating a personal brand online, you show potential employers that you have a personality. A vibrant online presence can help bring your resume and cover letter to life, adding color and voice to the usual HR-friendly qualities outlined in your materials. And, with studies reporting that as many as 94 percent of recruiters use social media for screening candidates, keeping your profiles up-to-date could lead directly to that coveted interview.

9. …and helps personalize your job search process.

When the usual networking channels come up short—there are unfortunately no friends of friends at your dream company—and you must resort to sending resumes out cold, you can still get an edge on your competition by incorporating social media into your routine. By connecting with a hiring manager online before an interview, you can put a face to your name, thereby strengthening your interpersonal connection—even before you’ve shaken hands. And with a reported 30 percent of all Internet searches being performed for employment-related purposes, it’s important to curate your online presence in order to get a (digital) leg up on your fellow hopefuls.

10. Workplace friendships buoy the office culture.

Making friends at work could be key to turning the job you already have into your dream job. When your job looks great on paper—its subject matter, salary, and benefits check all the boxes—the intangible “office culture” can often spell the difference between a job that’s fine and one that’s great. A recent study reveals that 67 percent of workers feel that having friends at work makes their job more fun and enjoyable. Liking your coworkers also leads to a more positive and productive work culture: 70 percent of workers feel that their workplace friendships make for a more creative and friendly workplace, 69 percent feel they increase teamwork, and 59 percent agree that they increase morale.

11. Friends give you a break.

While it’s great to be friends with your coworkers, having friends outside of the office and unrelated to your field can be just as—if not more—important to your career success. Putting all your time and energy into career building can cause you to burn out prematurely (not to mention dampen your mood, which can lead to additional stress and dissatisfaction at work), and such friendships help steady your work-life balance. Your friends and loved ones are there to help you power down your laptop and hit the town on Friday night. An unplugged weekend gets you poised for a rejuvenated Monday morning.

Our most personal ambitions are rarely achieved alone. Your network of friends, family, contacts and colleagues is the inspiration that keeps you aiming higher. HSBC knows that whatever your ambitions for the future, you are more likely to succeed with the help of a team. Together, We Advance.

To learn more about HSBC Advance, visit us.hsbc.com/advance

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