This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

CEO: To Get a Job, Build a Relationship

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- Ryan Allis, 27, is CEO of iContact, a Raleigh-Durham, N.C., email marketing software that claims 600,000 users worldwide. Allis, who's been an entrepreneur since starting Allis Computing at a precocious 11, is on the board of several nonprofits and is working to bridge entrepreneurship with social causes -- including with an iContact spinoff called iConnect that focuses on helping companies and causes succeed with email and social marketing.

Launched in 2003, iContact reports having 300 employees, 70,000 corporate customers and $50 million in annual sales. But Allis' youth makes him a good CEO to ask about how college-age workers should approach a tough economy and world of rapidly changing technology.
Ryan Allis, the 27-year-old CEO of software company iContact, advises job-seekers, especially the young, to focus on building relationships with executives at companies where they want to work.

What can students these days do to prepare themselves for a successful job search?

Allis: The most important skill in finding and doing a great job in today's world is to learn how to communicate and build relationships. Find mentors who are already doing what you want to do and connect with them through Twitter, Facebook and email and start to build a relationship with them. Don't "friend" them, but send them a message asking for advice -- and, as you build your relationship, try to meet them in person. Pretend you'll be in certain geographies and then ask people if they'll have lunch with you. The best way to get a job is through relationships with successful people.

What is your advice for an inexperienced student still in school looking to gain experience?

Allis: While in college do internships and build up relationships with mentors who can hire you after you graduate. Students should be spending at least 20% of their time in college building relationships with companies they're passionate about so that when they graduate they can hit the ground running. I can't stress enough the importance of relationships. I'd rather hire someone with a 3.5 GPA that I know well than someone with a 3.8 I've never met. Some of what is causing the overproduction of degrees today is that people think more education is the answer when they can't get the job they want out of college, when it is really relationships and experience that are important.

What are the qualities you look for in a potential employee?

Allis: I'm looking to hire someone who communicates well and really knows the company and can even make recommendations for improving the company before starting. I look for people who are creative, hardworking and smart. In short, people that take action and communicate effectively.

Speaking of employees, how have you learned to manage people effectively?

Allis: What I try to do is hire people who are smarter and more experienced than I am. I've really had to learn not to micromanage. It's hard but crucial. To grow a company, you need to hire smarter, more experienced people, give them clear metrics for success and the resources to carry out their tasks and then get out of the way and let those people get the job done.

As a social media expert, what's your advice to someone looking to launch a message campaign?

Allis: Instead of looking at the latest fads, focus on doing the obvious -- Facebook, website, Twitter, YouTube -- really well. There is no primer or set of rules for best social media practices as far as I know. You have to figure out how to do it yourself through practice.

Nathana O'Brien contributed to this report.

>To submit a news tip, email:

Follow on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.
This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $93.51 -1.40%
GOOG $691.86 0.12%
FB $116.31 -0.36%
YHOO $36.27 -0.87%
TSLA $238.53 -3.70%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,696.50 -134.26 -0.75%
S&P 500 2,054.78 -21.03 -1.01%
NASDAQ 4,750.4690 -54.8220 -1.14%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs