I met John Muscarello, founder of Endless Job Offers, a few years ago. We immediately established a mentor (me) / mentee relationship. There are young professionals in my industry who stand out as great networkers and connectors, and John is definitely one of them. From the handwritten personal notes to his incredible passion for helping people connect, John is now offering advice for young professionals via his Endless Job Offers website / blog. Here’s my Q&A with John who shares his thoughts about networking, relationship building and finding the right career path.
What inspired you to launch Endless Job Offers?
I wanted to help other young professionals make their job search easier and less frustrating. Endless Job Offers started after I helped my sister get a job. I helped her reach out to key members of her college alumni LinkedIn group. She drafted a LinkedIn message introducing herself and asked if they had 15 minutes to talk about their profession. She was able to find a job in about six weeks. I now call this process The Alumni Networking Solution.
What are the best ways for young professionals to network … online and offline?
- Follow companies you want to work for and the people who work at those companies. This is a great way to learn about open positions and company culture. Simply go to Twitter and type in the company’s name and see what Twitter handles pops up. You can then follow those people and create a Twitter list. Then interact with these followers on a weekly basis.
- Participate in Twitter chats like #PRStudChat. You’ll meet great professionals in the industry who are always happy to offer advice and guidance.
- Join your college alumni LinkedIn group and connect with alumni who are in your industry. It’s a great way to get advice on how to break into the industry and learn about new industry trends.
- Join groups related to your industry and participate. A lot of the industry-related groups will also post job announcements. Here’s LinkedIn’s directory of groups.
- Follow companies you’re interested in. Companies are always posting job opportunities and their latest accomplishments.
- Check out Meetup.com to find events. Meetup makes it easy for you to find groups that you would be interested in and they are a lot less intimating than formal events.
- Join industry-related professional associations such as PRSA or PRSSA (if you’re a student). Professional associations host events all the time and it’s a great way to meet people in the industry. Volunteer to work the check-in table and you’ll meet everyone that’s attending the event.
What are three of the top characteristics that employers look for today?
- The ability to fit into the company culture: Talent alone is no longer enough. Fitting into the company culture is essential, since the hiring process is expensive for employers. They want to make sure the new hire will mesh well with the team. Also, make sure the company culture fits your style. You’ll be spending a lot of time at work and you want to make sure you’re happy.
- The ability to be willing to learn and try new solutions: If you’re willing to learn and acquire new skills you will be unstoppable. Technology is always changing and you will always have to be learning new skills to continue to be a top performer. The more you know, the more value you can offer the company.
- A positive attitude: Everyone can be positive when everything is going right. It’s when things go wrong that you have to stay calm and collected. You want to focus on fixing the solution and not focus on who’s to blame. Having a positive attitude also plays a big role in the company’s culture. No one likes a grump.
What are some of the best ways to build strong relationships that last?
The best way to build relationships that last is stay in touch with people you meet and offer them value. The simplest way to do this is to send a helpful article that you know they will find valuable. You could also send someone a memorable gift to thank them for their help.
Another great way to connect with people is through Twitter. It’s amazing how you can build a strong relationship by commenting on articles someone tweets or even sharing articles they have created. Create a Twitter list (like we talked about above) of people you want to stay in touch with. Check your list daily and interact with the people who are tweeting interesting articles or thoughts.
What advice would you give young professionals about finding the right career?
Ask yourself what you enjoy doing in your free time and then find a job focused on that. If you love to cook, find PR or marketing agencies that have food clients. When you love what you do and find it interesting you’ll always want to go above and beyond.
Build relationships with people who are in your industry and get to know them. Knowing people in your industry and giving them value will open doors for you that you didn’t even know existed. The more information you know about your space and the people who dominate that space, the quicker you’ll be able to advance your career.
Who has influenced you the most in your career and in your life?
Jim Joseph has had a huge impact on my career. He’s a branding expert, three-time author, and the president of a well-known PR company. He gave me my first opportunity to work at a PR agency.
Deirdre Breakenridge has also had a very big impact on my career. I probably never would have had the opportunity to meet Jim if it wasn’t for her guidance early on.
My parents have had the biggest impact on my life. They have always encouraged me to achieve great things and have always given me their full support in everything I have done.