BSides NOVA Job Search Tips

Posted by Pat Tovo

BSides NoVAAt the recent BSides NOVA, a panel of recruiting professionals conducted a roundtable discussion on recruiting for cyber positions. Tops tips are below, and you can watch the full video here.

Resume Do’s and Don’ts

  • Skills and certifications should be listed in a straight forward manner, do not place them in grids or tables
  • So basic it shouldn’t have to be said, but check and double check your resume for typos and grammatical errors
  • Keep your resume limited to two pages, recruiters do not want your life story
  • List only that technology where you are proficient; don’t list outdated platforms

Help recruiters help you

Recruiters work their way quickly through resumes and you only have a few seconds to make a connection. Help recruiters help you. Tell your story in an engaging way. Make your resume summary a snapshot of what you are looking for in a position and why you are qualified. Talk about what you are looking for in terms of how it applies to what you have done and lead with that as opposed to making the recruiter dig for important information.

If you have profiles on social media or, keep them up-to-date. Write those profiles looking forward, focusing on the type of work that you want to do. Don’t focus on things you don’t want to do again. Recruiters who are searching a resume database or social media profiles search on keywords. If there’s something you don’t want to do again, and you’re getting lots of calls for that type of work, consider leaving it off or changing the wording such that it’s clear you’re looking for something else.

Effective interviewing

Prior to an interview, whether it is by phone or in person, research the company and the position. Be prepared to ask questions and not spend this valuable time in a passive mode. This should be a dynamic conversation. Take the opportunity to present yourself in a powerful way by telling your story – use your experience and credentials to weave a strong connection with the interviewer.

If the reviewer knows enough about you – your skills and interest – they will remember you and if this position doesn’t work out maybe the next one will be a better fit. If a recruiter really loves your qualities and feels you have something to offer the organization, they’ve been known to create a position that aligns with a candidate’s background.

The value of social media

The more presence you have on social media like LinkedIn, GitHub, Twitter and Facebook the higher the odds of a recruiter finding you. Use these platforms to put your best foot forward. There are social media aggregators that recruiters use that will rank the number of times a key word comes up in search. If your rank numbers are not high, you can be overlooked. So make yourself more available and your chances of being sourced will go up.

You can also use social media in reverse to amp up your search. If there is a job posting that interests you, take advantage of platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter to research the company and find out who the recruiters are. Reach out to them. You can also uncover hiring managers which may take you closer to the decision makers.

Advice for cyber security students

The most solid basic advice is to keep your GPA up. Without experience an employer will want to see that you have applied yourself in school and performed well. Round out your education by joining clubs, being involved in competitions and by looking for ways to be in charge of as many things as possible. Leading is a keyword.

Be informed about the industry. Don’t be a student that says “I want to be in cyber security because it’s cool.” What part is cool? Do you enjoy SCADA? Maybe pen testing? Policy or analyst work? Find out what interests you and be passionate about it because that passion will drive you to a successful career.

During your college years get involved with BSides or other cyber security conferences or meetings. If you’ve helped run an event that shows an employer initiative and commitment to the profession. It says that you have experience managing people which translates to leadership skills. That means management potential. You will get noticed by recruiters. They will put you in their pipeline and make sure you are trained in other aspects of the business.

Create work experience. Build a home lab. Volunteer to be the security expert for your church, gym, neighbors. Employers want to see practical, real-world experience, not just coursework.

Don’t take the summer off. Do an internship – whether it’s paid or unpaid it gives you experience and that gives you something to highlight on your resume. Keep track of projects and talk about what you learned or accomplished. Join clubs – lead clubs – because this gives you a great opportunity to network. College years are the time to start building connections.

This entry was posted on Monday, March 26, 2018 3:47 pm

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