If you’re searching for a cybersecurity job, things have certainly changed in 2020. Some companies may have increased needs or shifted priorities with more employees working remotely. The hiring process has largely gone remote too, with many companies hiring new employees without ever meeting them in person. Other job seekers worry if uncertainty in the economy also means uncertainty at the company to which they are applying.
If you’ve just begun your job search, or want advice on how to nail an upcoming virtual interview, we’ve got 11 tips you can use to make a good impression and highlight the skills you bring.
With a shortage of cybersecurity professionals actively seeking work, cybersecurity professionals should feel confident exploring their options. Of course, you’ll want to make the best impression possible in any interview, so here are our tips for landing your next cybersecurity job.
How to Write a Resume for a Cybersecurity Job
Tip 1: Quantify performance impacts with numbers
This tried-and-true resume tip is still important today. Companies want to not only see the skills you have, but how those skills were applied to get results.
Tip 2: Include keywords
Keywords are the terms and phrases employers will use to weed out unqualified candidates and narrow down their search. Many companies today use software for this process, making keywords essential to making that first cut. Use terms that describe your skills, your area of expertise, as well as platforms, software, and applications you’ve used throughout the description of your role at each employer.
Tip 3: Don’t change your resume for each job
This goes against most resume writing advice, largely because of the way most employers write their cybersecurity job descriptions.
“You don’t want to be changing your resume for each position,” said Diamond. “Almost everybody is cutting and pasting job descriptions. They aren’t their real job description.”
Why waste your time crafting a resume to a job description that’s overly vague or not even accurate? It’s better to use your resume as an honest snapshot of your skills.
“Your resume is your story. Put out what experience you’ve had on what types of projects and what types of tasks,” Diamond said.
Tip 4: Keep your resume updated
Because of the competitive cybersecurity job market, recruiters are likely reaching out to you already with roles they want to fill. By having an updated resume, you’re less likely to forget mentioning people you’ve worked with, projects you’ve worked on, and skills you’ve learned. It also reduces the stress level when an opportunity does arise to have a resume at the ready.
Tip 5: Keep the resume to less than three pages
It’s reasonable for someone with 10 years of experience or more to have a three-page resume. Those with less experience will want to keep it around two pages. Anything over three pages and your most important skills and experience will get lost.
Tip 6: Make it easy to read
Recognize that a lot of tracking systems are only going to pick up standard fonts and text. Pictures and colors will not register with the system, either. Instead, focus on making it easier to understand who you are by telling the story of how you’ve grown and developed in your career.
How to Interview on Video Calls
Tip 7: Use video to make a connection
When you get a call for an interview, it’s likely going to be via video. Good interviewing etiquette is as important as ever—making eye contact, greeting everyone on the call, asking thoughtful questions, saying thank you, and mentioning people by name.
To do these things well, you must give some thought to how you look on camera—and where you should be looking.
“Looking at the camera is important,” said Diamond. “I encourage you to know your camera position. I understand we have monitors, but if you’re looking at the monitor and not your camera, you’re not going to make a connection.”
If the company wants to schedule a phone call for the initial interview, request a video interview instead. Making a connection, even with a junior-level employee or recruiter, can benefit you . Even if you’re not a good fit for that job, making a good impression can lead to a referral to a different department or a different company.
Tip 8: Come prepared to every call
Don’t assume that because the interview is a junior member of the team that you don’t need to prepare thoroughly. Treat each step as the most important interview yet.
“Come prepared to present yourself in a way that gives you the opportunity to choose and decide where you want to work,” said Diamond.
Use the video format to your advantage. Jot down key talking points you want to mention and keep those just off camera where you can reference them throughout the interview. While the format may seem more casual, you want to give the impression you are taking this as seriously as if you were in their office.
Even with the highly publicized shortage in cybersecurity professionals, landing the cyber job you want still requires a good resume and great interviewing skills. Whether it’s your initial interview or the final call back before the company makes its decision, come to the video interview early, looking professional, and prepared. By using these tips, you’ll not only be better prepared to talk to a potential future employer, you’ll feel more comfortable and will be more likely to make a great first impression.