Northampton, MA --News Direct-- Yum! Brands
Taco Bell Public Relations & Brand Experience Senior Manager Matt Prince knows how hard it is to land a job. Originally an English major at California State University, he switched to public relations after attending an introductory course. After graduating into the start of the Great Recession, he worked a slew of PR jobs, first in government, and then at Walt Disney, before finally landing at Taco Bell. All these twists and turns led Prince to compare discovering one’s career path to playing the videogame Frogger.
“It’s never a straight shot,” Prince said. “You’re taking two steps forward, then zig right, oh wait, now left, and even take a few steps back before you can move forward again.”
So, he’s often agreed to mentor aspiring PR professionals to help them find their way, and one such mentorship sparked an idea for Net Net Synergy, an online resource that’s taken the guesswork out of the entry level networking and PR job search.
"I was having a virtual mentorship meeting with a student, who told me how challenging it was to find a job in the pandemic," he said. "During that meeting, two colleagues from different companies texted me about job openings and asked if I knew of any potential candidates, so I realized there was a disconnect.”
In that moment, Prince saw a student who was having trouble finding a job and simultaneously a glut of job openings.
"I thought that there had to be a better way to connect those working in PR with graduates and those who are looking to break into the field,” he said. “I decided to try and make those connections easier and built the website that weekend."
Through its first year, Net Net Synergy has offered close to 1,000 virtual mentorships, from professionals across all areas of interest covering various industries, including some of Prince’s Taco Bell coworkers and the brand’s supporting PR agency team.
"When I was starting the site, I put out a request to solicit for volunteers to virtual mentor," Prince said. "About 150 people came forward. It was clear, during the pandemic, that there was a lot of hunger for experienced pros to give back, especially since working from home made it easier to connect virtually."
Today, Net Net Synergy users can search for pros in specific industries and get help in the form of “virtual coffees,” or informational interviews and resume reviews that take place on platforms such as Zoom or Skype. In addition, Net Net Synergy created a Career Network Group on LinkedIn that shares new opportunities every day for young professionals seeking internships or early career roles in PR and marketing. And while that may seem like a lot of work for Prince who already has a full-time gig, the founder says that while there is some website maintenance involved and recruiting of new mentors and resources, the online community is self-sustaining and growing.
With the website underway, Prince has even expanded this passion beyond online and into the classroom, teaching Influencer Marketing at Chapman University in Orange County, California, as an adjunct professor once a week in the evening. He hopes his experiences and his efforts in putting together Net Net Synergy can help others find their career journey, but also help pave a smoother path for the industry as a whole.
“The more young professionals we can help support and encourage, the more it helps us create a better community and stronger industry,” Prince said. “And the best thing about mentorship is that it is cyclical. To see young professionals I mentored years and years ago come back as mentors today is so special to see and, at the end of the day, that's what it’s all about.”
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