February 18, 2020
It may seem like too tall of an order to land a cyber security job in 30 days. But it can be done.
It’s realistic if you are willing to do the hard work and be tenacious to make it happen. Read on for specific insights on how to pull off this feat.
First: Do more, and more, and then even more
The first step: Commit to doing more. More of a whole lot of things, meaning more reaching out to people, more customizing of your resume for each position you apply for, more asking people to review your resume and constantly seek more feedback from more people, and more attending events.
Take massive action every day.
Doing more is paramount to pulling off this 30-day feat. Embrace more. There will always be something else you can do to pursue a job. Be assured that most people applying for these jobs are not willing to do more. They settle. They apply for a job online, cross their fingers, and hope for the best. Don’t settle.
In job hunting, less is not more. More is more.
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Second: Customize your resume for each job you apply for
Customize your resume for the job to which you are applying. If the employer wants someone with 10 years of cyber security experience and you have that, highlight that high in the resume. Don’t put information at the top of your resume that doesn’t relate to the job you are applying for. It may seem obvious, but too many people do this.
You might have only 10-20 seconds to grab a hiring manager’s attention. If this person starts reading irrelevant information at the top of your resume, it’s a turn off. Additionally, the first person who reads your resume might be an internal recruiter with little to no knowledge of cyber security, so ensuring the relevant “buzz words” or content is in there and obvious tends to be effective.
List all the ways you are a great fit for the position
Your resume also needs to show all the ways you’re qualified for the position. If it’s a cyber security role, include certifications you have gained or any other facts that show you’re committed and an active, tenacious player in the field.
If the position is for a cyber security professional who has excellent communications skills, include what you have done to show you’re a skilled communicator. To demonstrate this, double-check to make sure you don’t have any spelling or grammatical errors.
You might want to include a link to a cyber security article you have written or a cyber security presentation you delivered at a recent conference. All of this makes you stand out and gives assurance to the hiring manager you possess real skills, that you produce, that you’re the real deal, that you go beyond the ordinary to excel.
If you write software coding, tell them that and what kind. Perhaps send them code you have written (GitHub). Show them you have credibility. It’s more powerful than just telling them.
Most people haven’t written code. It’s a tough thing to learn and requires legitimate intellectual skills, discipline, and attention to detail. Show the employer you know how to code.
Third: Include cyber security skills on LinkedIn page
Your LinkedIn profile should contain much of the same information as your resume. And it’s important to list specific cyber security technologies and skills with which you are proficient. Often, it’s sensitive for applicants to specify which cyber security technologies they use because it can reveal what their current company uses to prevent cyber security. That helps fraudsters and that’s not good.
There’s a way to get around this. List your cyber security skills and technologies without specifying you are using them at the company you are currently working for. Maybe list those skills in a different section of the LinkedIn page than where you list companies you’ve worked for.
Recruiters look for specific skills, technologies, and capabilities. You often need to have them on your LinkedIn page just to be found.
Contact hiring managers and talent acquisition via LinkedIn
Reaching out to prospective hiring managers or internal talent acquisition can have a major impact. If you’re applying for a position with Company X, type in that company’s name and the words “security manager/director,” or even “corporate recruiter.” You’re likely to find the right person to contact.
Send that person a LinkedIn message that you have applied online for position X with the company and succinctly list two or three reasons why you are qualified for the position.
This shows the recruiter you have initiative and resourcefulness to find them, which goes over well. You will stand out among the other applicants who applied online but didn’t take this extra step. You have nothing to lose and plenty to gain by connecting with the hiring manager. If they don’t respect and appreciate your tenacity, do you really want to work there?
Fourth: Contact cyber security recruiters
Expand your network beyond just the recruiters for the companies where you are applying for work. On LinkedIn type “ cyber security and recruiter.” Reach out to four or five of them with the message you are seeking a position in cyber security.
They may know of other open positions and can give you advice on who to contact and share tips on how to increase your chances of landing a position. Ask them if they would help you prepare for an interview. They may do that.
Rehearsing will make you perform better and more confident when you do the real interview. If they don’t respond, don’t take it personally. Move on to the next one. Often it only takes one person to get you the job.
Fifth: Attend and network at local events
Search online for events in your local area focused on cyber security. There may be job fairs or industry conferences. Go to these events. Dive in all the way. Let people know you’re looking for cyber security work. You will likely be surprised at the people you meet who can help you. The cyber security community is small and oftentimes close knit. People look out for each other.
These events will also help expand your knowledge of the latest news and trends in cyber security. So, when you do an interview, you will sound more current and insightful and show you have prepared to be as valuable to the employer as possible. You will show you want to stand out from competing applicants.
Sixth: Be genuine
Hiring managers don’t want to interview people who try to impress them with all they know and how they can do everything right away. They want genuine people who are honest about their abilities. So be real and yourself. Authenticity plays well.
If the manager asks if you know about a specific cyber security tool and you don’t, tell them you don’t but you are eager to learn about it. Flip it with a question like, “How often would that tool/skill be needed in this role?” or “What are some things your team has done to ramp up with that quickly outside of work?”
If the manager asks if you’ve ever solved a specific type of cyber security problem and you haven’t, admit that. But tell the manager how you would go about solving the problem knowing what you have learned solving other problems.
Seventh: send a thank you note
It may seem like a thing of the past, but whenever you do a job interview make sure to send a thank you note to that person quickly afterward via email or regular mail. It’s not just to help you get the job. It’s the right thing to do. It’s showing you respect that person and appreciate they took the time to speak with you.
With so many job applicants not sending thank you notes, you can set yourself apart merely by sending one. And make the note personal and specific. Be yourself. Tell them how you feel about the opportunity, for real.
Even if you don’t get the job, the fact that you wrote a thank you note will likely be remembered by that person down the road and could help you find another job at another time.
Eight: Focus on the right opportunities
Find out from the hiring manager how fast they plan to make a hiring decision. Ask them how long the position has been open and how many people have been interviewed.
If you need a job in two months and they say they are looking to fill it in six months, you might want to move on. Better not to spend too much time on that one. Focus on the opportunities that are likely to get filled the fastest and align with your timing needs.
Focus on the right opportunities to save time. And let other recruiters known when you are well down the path interviewing with company x but also want to interview with company y. Once the company y hiring manager finds this out, he or she is more likely to set up an interview with you faster if they’re interested.
Each day job seekers should allocate time to reach out to people who can help them find the job they want. On your daily to-do list, write down that you will contact five hiring managers. And do it. Every day of the week.
This won’t take you long, maybe 5-10 minutes for each search and message. You have nothing to lose and a career to gain. Remember, most of your competition isn’t taking the time to do this. Separate yourself from the pack.
Remember, you only need one job. Don’t underestimate the power of one person, one person you call, one recruiting you contact on LinkedIn, to help you launch a brand new and exciting career. Your next call to someone might be the ticket to a great job.
All this boils down to one word – tenacity. Tenacity should be how you roll, every day, without letting up. Be relentless. Tell your story. Tell it to lots of people. Make it compelling and relevant.
And you will be more likely to increase you job leads and get that job in 30 days.