There is no doubt that COVID19 has turned the job market and the world of job seekers literally upside down in the last few months. We have seen record unemployment and people filing for jobless claims that have never been seen before, since the 2008-2009 Great Recession.
Just about every industry has been impacted, especially those that are involved in hospitality and tourism. And yes, even to some varying degrees, even the field of Cybersecurity has seen some ripples in it, as companies are still trying to conserve their balance sheets and cash flows.
But this is an area which will see great demand, and there is still a huge shortage of workers not just here in the United States, but even on a global basis as well. There are reasons for this, of which I have eluded in a previous blog or two. But even though the job demand may be high, being a candidate for a position in Cybersecurity, there are still some things that you need to be aware of so that you can land that interview and the job as well.
Here are some tips:
*Tailor your resume for the position that you are seeking for:
This is sage old advice that still rings quite true to today. In some industries, making your resume specific to the job you want to get can be relatively easy. But in Cybersecurity, there are so many pathways and avenues that one can take it is totally mind boggling at first. If you are newbie to the field, or even a seasoned professional, the best advice here is to team up with a mentor that is familiar with all of the buzzwords in the job(s) that you want to apply for. It is best that you find somebody that closely parallels this field. Once you know what all of these fancy terms are that you need to put on your resume, then go ahead and create a draft version of it. Although some people recommend against it, IMHO, it is always best to make use a resume writer. He or she will know how to customize your resume into its final format, and they are also experienced in how to properly format it, etc. But, they may know not know all of the buzzwords in the Cybersecurity job that you want to apply for, so that is why you need to present to them the draft version, and tell them specifically how you want your resume to be written.
*Keep different versions of your resume handy:
Remember, one of the very worst things that you can do in your Cybersecurity job search is to post a generic resume for all the jobs you want to apply to. Although it is a pain and can take a lot of time, it is always best to have a custom created resume for each job title that you are interested in applying to. Thus, before you embark onto this endeavor, you really need to take the time to soul search and really find out what you want to do in Cybersecurity.
*Translate your experience:
If you are just starting out in Cybersecurity, or have no experience in it whatsoever, all is not lost. The key here is translating your previous experience and show how it is relevant to the job you want to apply for. For example, if you were working at Starbuck’s for quite some time, and all of a sudden realize that Cybersecurity is your passion now, you will need to take the skills learned there, and demonstrate how it can be relevant to the interviewer. You can tell them that you learned how to follow instructions from both your managers and customers, you were able to determine what the need was, and was able to fulfill it by delivering a final product at the end that made the customer happy. Further, you can even tell the interviewer that you were able to gauge what the customer wanted by asking them specific questions. True, making and delivering coffee is not at all Cyber related, but the process just described is very relevant to a job in Cybersecurity.
*Make use of Social Media:
In this regard, Linked In will be your best ally. True, there are others out there like Facebook and Twitter, but LI will be best bet. After all, it was created as a professional networking platform to meet and connect with others, but in the virtual world. First, make your LI profile updated, so that it closely resembles your resume. Keep in mind that many recruiters, IMHO, are now looking at your LI profile much more so than even your paper resume. Second, try to join as many Cybersecurity Forums as you can, and connect with others that way as well. If possible, try to even write some articles in Cyber in the positions that you are interested in, to show that you are a thought leader. If you can, try to make a portfolio of your writing so that you can showcase it to potential employers. Although updating your LI profile is relatively easy, try to work with a career coach or even friend who is quite knowledgeable in LI so that you can have a second set of eyes to look it over for you, and help polish it up. Third, try to connect with as many Cybersecurity professionals as you can in order to build up your network, and ask them how they can help you with your job search. Finally, be very careful of what you post on Social Media, especially that of Facebook. Given the way the world is today, you just don’t know who is watching.
*Try all avenues of the job search process:
Remember, Cybersecurity job searching goes well beyond simply sending your resume to the job posts on Career Builder, Indeed, Glassdoor, Dice, etc. A lot of this also involves networking. Although attending direct, face to face events is close to impossible to do right now, but you can still attend virtual based events. One place to look for such venues is through a portal known as “Meet Up”, where you can sign up for events. Also once again, LI is going to be your best friend in this regard. When you make new connections, always send that individual your resume and follow up as much as you can with it.
*Be passionate in your job search:
One of the key things to succeed in a job, or whether you have your own business, is to be passionate in whatever you do. This is especially true in Cybersecurity. You may not have all of the skills, or you may not even have certifications to your name. But that is OK. Hiring managers want to see that you are excited in the role you have applied to your interview, and that above all, through your enthusiasm, that you are trainable. It doesn’t take much to show your passion in Cybersecurity. This can be done by attending webinars, or simply even hosting and writing for your own blog site. The fact that you have taken the extra mile in this regard without too much experience shows that you truly want to learn. Remember, the key in Cybersecurity is to show that you are constantly engaged and want to disseminate what you have learned from others, because the landscape in our industry is always on changing on a minute by minute basis.
My Thoughts On This
Well you here you have them, some of my tips on how to potentially land a job in Cybersecurity. Of course, there is a lot more to this, such as how to prepare for an interview, how to deliver a great interview, the common mistakes that are made on resumes and how to fix them, etc. In fact, one can write an entire book on this very topic. But there will be blogs on this, so stay tuned. Just a few things to keep in mind:
*Don’t be limited by the geographic location of your job search. Given that everything will be remote for quite some to come in the foreseeable future, you should be able to apply for a job even if it is a thousand miles away from you.
*In the word of Cybersecurity, certifications are now the big thing to have. After all, isn’t it impressive to have a long list of acronyms behind your name? To be honest, certs only get you so far. They will separate you from the crowd that does not have certs, but that is about it. So if you are a newcomer to the field of Cybersecurity, don’t waste your time on it, at least not yet. Why do I say that? Certs can take a lot of time to get, and they can also be very expensive. I am not saying that having them is a bad thing but wait until you have landed a position in Cybersecurity and get your company to pay for it. But take your time in deciding which ones you want to get, because it should be relevant to what you are doing, and what you are aspiring to do in the future. In this regard, probably one of the best certs to get is the CISSP. It has been around the longest, and still commands a great deal of respect.
*If you can try to, experiment with the tools in the Cyber field that you want to be in. For example, if you want to be a Penetration Tester, then search Google for free tools that you can download and play around with. Once you have done this for some time, you can even add this as a skill both on your resume and LI profile.
Finally good luck out there. There will always be a need for Cybersecurity professionals, but the trick is to figure out what you want to do, and how you can carve your niche in it.