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Landing Your Dream Job in Cyber Security

This article originally featured in teiss


Nicola Huskie

Chief Commercial Officer at i-confidential


In the last few years, the media has been awash with headlines around the cyber skills gap. Security teams are understaffed, and they don’t have the skills to keep up with the tsunami of attacks they face daily, which creates a cyber security ticking time bomb and puts adversaries in the lead.


Given these worrying assertions, it’s not surprising most cyber security job seekers believe landing a position in the industry couldn’t be easier. With the correct skills, and an appetite to land a job, surely the offers will be bountiful. 


But, with budget cuts hitting security teams just as severely as other departments, this is not the case.


While the skills shortage is very real, and organisations are struggling to recruit security personal, this doesn’t mean they have a free reign to hire as many cyber security people as they can find, so long as they have the qualifications. 


As organisations across the globe struggle with rising costs, this is placing a much heavier focus on quality rather than quantity. Empty positions still exist, but when it comes to recruitment, organisations are focussing on key positions that are vital to the safe running of the business. 


For candidates, this means they must work harder to secure positions, as organisations are looking for individuals that meet numerous of their requirements, while competition from other job seekers is fiercer.  


So, what are the recommendations for job seekers looking to land their dream job in cyber security, ensuring they showcase their most important qualities to employers and outshine the competition? 


Qualifications and Skills

Qualifications and skills are a critical part of cyber security, but that doesn’t mean you need to be an expert C++ coder or have a degree in computer science. Cyber security is about solving problems, planning, and thinking quickly on your feet, so these are often the skills organisations are looking for. 


However, some jobs in cyber security will be more technical and will require specific qualifications or coding abilities, so it’s wise to do some research before applying.


When writing up your CV, job application, LinkedIn profile or talking during an interview, talk about your skills and any relevant qualifications, and how they would support you in your career in information security.


Connections – Making the Most of LinkedIn

Most organisations use LinkedIn to advertise jobs today, so being on the platform is essential. 


A job advert can receive as many as 100 applications, and the recruiters hired by organisations will often use AI to sieve out the top candidates. The algorithms recruiters use will differ, but it’s essential job seekers work to get past this first barrier, otherwise their application won’t even be seen by a human.


To make an application stand out, keep the most important information at the beginning: skills, qualifications, previous experience, and professional attributes that satisfy, or surpass, the requirements of the position. 


Some recruiters will only select candidates who are active in the cyber security industry, so it’s important to make connections on LinkedIn. Join groups, attend events, and connect with key people in the industry – as this will all enhance your profile on LinkedIn and make you a more attractive candidate.


Communication Skills and Cultural Fit

Cyber security is no longer a small part of the IT department that everyone forgets about. It’s a critical business function that is essential to the safe running of any organisation. This means cultural fit can be just as important as technical skills. 


Organisations will be looking for candidates that have experience of working well as part of a team and have good communication skills. 


Senior security leaders will often have to liaise directly with the board and C-levels on cyber security, so it’s vital they can talk confidently and clearly on the subject, in a language accessible to all technical abilities. 


Make a Lasting Impression in the Interview 

Getting to the interview stage means you’ve cleared the first few hurdles, so things are looking positive, but it’s also the most important stage in the hiring process. The interview is when the organisation will decide on cultural fit and whether the candidate is right for the job.


The interview may be in person or done virtually, and job seekers should use it as an opportunity to build a relationship with the organisation. 


Be conversational, avoid one-word answers, ask questions about the role and company to show interest, be polite, and dress smartly. The overall focus is to impress by your skills, abilities, and knowledge.


Things to Avoid

There are also several things that should be avoided when seeking a job, which are equally important. During the interview, avoid the first questions being around money, working from home, and hours. While these are very important, they shouldn’t dominate the interview or be the main focus.


Cyber security is an exciting and fast-paced industry, but budget constraints are having an impact on recruitment. It’s more important than ever that candidates stand out and demonstrate to employers they are the perfect person for the job. These tips should provide support to job seekers, offering the guidance needed to help them land their dream job in cyber security. 


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