Season 3 Episode 111: The Quality over Quantity Debate with Josh Mason

After serving as a military cargo pilot, Josh Mason transitioned his career focus in the US Air Force to cybersecurity. Leaving the military in 2019, Josh has had an exciting and diverse employment history. He has taught at the US Air Force Special Operations School, the DoD Cyber Crime Center’s Cyber Training Academy and the veteran training organization, WithYouWithMe. Today, Josh builds curriculum and teaches cybersecurity tactics and techniques as a Senior Instructor at Neuvik Solutions. Josh was also a sales engineer for SimSpace, leading their partner enablement program. With a passion for cybersecurity, Josh has founded several non-profit organizations that help individuals start a new career in cyber.

Because Josh had transitioned from aviation to cybersecurity, he was not selected for promotion. Faced with involuntary separation, Josh had 6 months to find a new job. As Josh reflected on his career, he realized he had always wanted to teach. As a pilot, it was his goal to become an instructor. Josh successfully translated his skills through the lens of civilian employers and leveraged his connections to find a job teaching cybersecurity.

Josh first began using LinkedIn in 2018, right after he received notification that he was not selected for promotion. With a skeleton of a profile already in place, a mentor reached out to Josh and taught him how to better use LinkedIn to connect with people in the cyber industry. Josh’s first job teaching cyber was because of him reaching out to a blind connection through a LinkedIn message. Six messages later, Josh had the job. When it comes to LinkedIn, Josh encourages people to send messages and connect to those unknown contacts. Afterall, if you never ask, you will never get a yes.

In fact, Josh has found 4 jobs through LinkedIn. In some cases, he wasn’t even looking for a new job.

After landing his first role, Josh stayed active on LinkedIn. He leveraged his connections, was open to meeting and learning from other industry professionals and created content showcasing his teaching style.

Josh approaches new LinkedIn connections like a fisherman using a wide net. He understands that it can be difficult to discern what is a quality connection just by scrolling through a profile. For example, some influencers don’t respond to DMS and some professionals don’t engage on LinkedIn often enough to respond to a message in a timely manner. Josh understands that those who are new to LinkedIn or to the cybersecurity field may not know what to write in a personalized connection request note. Josh’s openness and willingness to connect on LinkedIn to just about anyone, regardless of a personalized note, has resulted in many connections reaching out to him to inquire about a career in cybersecurity.

Josh encourages people to have courage on LinkedIn when making connections. Realize that many people want to help you get connected to the right people. If you are struggling with how to craft a customized note, start with, “I’d like to be a part of your network.” Be kind and kindness will be returned.

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