For many professionals, job hunting can be one of the most grueling and difficult challenges they face in their careers. This is particularly true for those who are looking to break into the challenging and highly rewarding field of cyber security. Though demand for skilled professionals is high, finding work in cyber security can be a daunting process even for IT veterans due to the number of required skills, prerequisite certifications and specific practical training that compose employer demand and recruiting practices in cyber security. As a result, many open positions remain unfilled for months on end. Without realizing it however, many qualified candidates may be harming their own chances of landing their ideal position. Here are the four tips to increase the odds of landing your dream job in cyber security.
1. Be Self Aware
Know yourself and your abilities. If a candidate is not completely sure about what they want and what they can bring to the table professionally, it would be far fetched to expect potential employers or co-workers to do the guesswork. Draw up a list of your skills and interests, keeping in mind both strengths and weaknesses. Always look for ways to reinforce your strong points and build a strategy for dealing with any shortcomings that may be hampering your professional development. According to HuntSource™ Co-Founder and Managing Partner Jack Hall, as a job seeker you should “always focus on what you know. Getting held up by what you don’t know can be paralyzing. Don’t be afraid to admit where you need improvement and redirect the conversation to your strengths.” Research the different available courses you could take to sharpen your skills or address any issues. Personal coaching can be very helpful in identifying where you stand and how to move forward in your professional development.
2. Network Actively
If done well, networking and building connections can be the best strategy for finding positions that match your professional or academic profile, or even changing career paths. Passively searching for work is the greatest mistake that most candidates commit when seeking out a new position. Your search strategy should involve constant and multidimensional action. Networking should not be limited to attending conferences or events, and job seekers should be prepared to encounter potential clients or employers at any moment and in any situation. Never miss an opportunity to be friendly, courteous or to interact with others. The internet and social media have also made it much easier for candidates to show the professional world what they have to offer. Professional networking sites such as LinkedIn offer a platform for meeting other professionals with similar skills and interests, as well as keeping up to date on current market demands and best practices. If your bliss is in IT or cyber security, HuntSource™ can help you in your job hunt. As the premier technology talent solution on the market today, we dedicate ourselves exclusively to pinpointing and placing talented professionals at top companies in the cyber and information security fields.
3. The Cold Search
Many job hunters will find themselves applying for different positions without internal company references or influential outside connections. When cold searching for jobs, crafting an attractive resume is crucial to getting your foot in the door and landing an interview. Your resume is your personal tear sheet, and as such, should give your future employer a glimpse of who you are and what you can do in a concise and impactful way. To this end, your resume should be tailored specifically to the position you’re applying for, and should not follow the ‘one size fits all’ model. Analyze the job requirements thoroughly and focus on the skills and experience you have that would meet or exceed them. If given the chance, be sure to include a cover letter that highlights the personal attributes that would allow you to succeed in your new role and work environment. A well crafted cover letter can help applicants bypass unmet job requirements (basic or preferred), if the employer believes that the candidate would be a quick and efficient learner that requires minimal training before beginning to work.
4. The Interview
Review the job description and requirements sections of the job posting you’re applying for. Even if you got the interview through a reference, there’s a high probability that your position has been posted on a job board at some point. If not, search for similar positions at other companies. Job boards such as Indeed or CareerBuilder provide reviews, descriptions of work conditions, benefits and even past cyber security interview questions for many positions, and a useful amount of information can usually be gleaned from these sources. Find out what the dress code is at the company where you’re applying and dress accordingly. Discover as much as you can about the company’s history as well as current and future projects, while also thinking about how you can leverage your skills to optimize their results. For HuntSource™ Co-Founder and Managing Partner Matt Donato, “the keys to a successful interview are preparation and knowing who you are talking to. Map out your core competencies and practice speaking about them ahead of time. Being over-prepared and able to describe your skill set comprehensively to your interviewer, whether they hold a technical position or are c-level executives, will set you apart from other interviewees.” After the interview, be sure to follow up thanking the interviewer for their time and respectfully reiterate your interest in the position.