Do You Waste Time in Your Job Search

Posted by Rob Riggins

don't waste your timeJob search is hard enough on its own. Make sure you’re not getting in your own way, by pursuing any of these strategies that may trip you up:

Applying for way too many jobs.

It’s almost too easy to apply for jobs these days, and as a job board we’ve contributed to the problem. In a matter of clicks, ba-bam you can apply for a job without giving it much thought. But that’s not the way the game should be played. Many infosec job seekers would benefit from applying for fewer jobs, but doing a better job with the positions they do apply for.

Really read the job description and determine whether you meet 70-80% or so of the listed requirements before applying. If you do, go for it. If you don’t, you’ll probably need to rely on your network to get a foot in the door via a referral. Either way be sure to tap your network to see if you have a contact at the employer, or can be introduced to someone there. That strategy is to get background information and details that may not be in the job description, to gauge culture and determine what information about the employer you need to uncover, and to hopefully get a referral of some sort.

If you apply for many different jobs at a company, that company may ignore you for all the positions you apply for on the assumption that you don’t know what you want to do with yourself.

Apply for fewer jobs. You’ll have more time to really customize your resume, gather intel to be a better applicant for the positions you do apply for, and better determine which employers are the best fit for your needs.

Continually recreating your resume.

You need to tailor your resume when you’re applying for specific positions, but that doesn’t mean a complete rewrite is in order. Make sure your keywords are appropriate and that you’re using the correct terminology. Consider the key requirements of the posting and make sure you address them with your resume achievements and success stories.

If you’re taking two separate career tracks, having two networking resumes for job fairs and other professional events is a smart strategy too. But if you find yourself completely rewriting your resume every time you apply for a job, likely some of those jobs aren’t a good fit for you anyway.

Always writing a cover letter.

Cover letters are only required if the job posting specifically asks for one. If a cover letter is referenced in the job posting, you better include one or you’ll be automatically disqualified from the position. It’s a screening test for these job postings to weed out job seekers who can’t follow directions.

Some hiring managers really like cover letters, so if you’re applying directly to a hiring manager you may want to include one. Many recruiters view them as a waste of time, because cover letters rarely provide any meaningful information and often are boilerplate blather. But the key thing is if you’re writing a cover letter, please make sure it’s a good one. For a quick guide to cover letter do’s and don’ts, check out I Hate Reading Cover Letters on the blog of our companion site.

Networking mindlessly.

Not all networking is good or productive, and it’s not talking to as many people as you can. In the words of a colleague in regard to networking, “If you’re an idiot that knows a lot of people, then that just means a lot of people know you’re an idiot.”

Are you keeping up with what’s relevant in the security community, whether that’s technology or other issues and challenges? Think of it this way – if you were in a room filled with your cyber peers, could you add meaningfully to the conversation? You don’t have to be a superstar or Einstein, just be aware professionally.

Figure out what you’re trying to accomplish. Are you trying to change careers? Find a new job? Uncover relevant volunteer opportunities? Help others? Network with a plan and strategy, and you’ll get better results.

Be engaged. Be curious. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance. Help others when you can.

Putting all your eggs in one basket.

This can be tough when you’ve had a good interview for a position that you really, really want. You want to forget about all the other drudgery of job search and pin your hopes on this one horse you know is going to win.  You put your search on hold waiting. And waiting.

You’re better served keeping your job search active until you have signed an offer letter. Too many variables are involved otherwise, and you’ll just be stubbing your own toe if you continually stall your search waiting on good news.

This entry was posted on Friday, March 01, 2019 6:16 am

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