The billion dollar question: how do I break into security? If you are trying to break into cyber as a graduate or transitioning from another career, please understand that LinkedIn has limitations and should be used as part of a broader job search strategy.
You are an avatar competing with over 400 million people. That is a lot of competition!
While LinkedIn is great for connecting with people, it will never be a substitute for the trust that is established by having relationships with the right people. So instead of spending excessive time on LI asking for a job, I have a better idea instead:
Take every opportunity you can to pitch your skills, otherwise known as interviewing, in the front of rooms full of people.
It’s the path of least resistance.
I know what you’re thinking:
Girl, have you lost your mind?
YES, I lost my mind a long time ago! But guess what I found?
Strength in my weakness.
Mutually beneficial relationships.
My HUSBAND (at a security event!)
So, let’s talk about why I seldom see my demographic at conferences, chapter meetings, and meetups.
Where are you?
How do you expect opportunities to find you?
Are you waiting for an invitation?
How do you expect to meet the security community?
Do you really think a stranger on LinkedIn is going to help you get that highly compensated job?
Nobody is going to hand you anything, especially in a male dominated field.
You have to put yourself out there!
You never know who is looking to hire the woman confident enough to demonstrate her skills and initiative in a public setting.
The greatest thing about public speaking: you immediately set yourself apart from the crowd and give people a reason to come talk to you.
Anybody can sit in the audience and passively observe or listen. The person who stands up and shares knowledge gets to tell a story that a resume never will.
Where art thou ladies?
There are many ways to brute force your way into a cyber career, but networking is the most effective. Here are 5 activities to add to your overall career strategy:
- Join ISSA, ISACA, (ISC)2, OWASP, or other industry groups
- Present research at conferences
- Volunteer at security conferences
- Present research at local security tech user groups, association chapter meetings & meetups
- Volunteer at local security association chapter meetings
Wait, you don’t know what security conferences are near you? Here is the conference list Wiki and call for papers, including deadlines for submission.
Relationships are the key differentiator in this field, and giving back is an excellent way to build mutually beneficial relationships. Get out and get to know your local security community.
Speaking of conferences, I am on the upcoming Women in Security Panel at HOU.SEC.CON 7.0! I hope to see some of you there.
Finally, I have another #WeCyberToo Talent Spotlight tomorrow. I love sharing our stories, so be sure to check back. Even better, sign up for our newsletter so you never miss a post!
Here’s the link to CEO Danyetta Magana’s profile.
And here’s the link to Senior Associate Glenise Moore’s profile.
Despite being nearly absent from all 2016 top women in cyber/bloggers lists, we are killing it!
For me, these spotlights are not only increasing awareness of the phenomenal black women in security. I am deliberately providing alternative stereotypes for all the young women in under-served communities who may not otherwise be exposed to shining examples of people who look like them in this profession.
Our talent made room for us.
Your talent will make room for you.