7MS #240: Bye Bye Dream Job - Part 2
This is part 2 of a series on my transition to a new job (yes, again). Today we're focusing on resources to help you find new job, such as LinkedIn, recruiters, Careerbuilder.com, Indeed.com, etc. as well as some tips to help you stand above the other candidates vying for the same position:
Finding a job - sites and resources
There are a ka-jillion out there. Wading through the muck to find the diamonds is half the battle sometimes.
This site has probably given me the most (in terms of quantity) leads and voicemails from employers and recruiters. It has also signed me up for many spammy calls and emails. Fortunately I have all these calls and emails going into separate buckets (listen to part 1 of this series for more info) so I can quickly skim them and weed out the bad leads.
In the fall of 2016 I saw Mubix post this last, and it has been excellent! I've found a high number of quality leads for infosec jobs from it.
This is a pretty good infosec job resource as well. It makes it easy to create a job criteria that matches your location, salary range and interests, and then get email alerts on the hits that match.
LinkedIn & working with recruiters
I'm sure you love getting that LinkedIn spam where you're continually pitched jobs you don't care about that are located in places you'd never wanna relocate to, right? Well, a strategy I adopted a long time ago is to reply to all of those messages when I'm on the job hunt. My boilerplate might look something like this:
Dear Annoying Recruiter Who Sent Me the Worst Possible Job Match Ever,
Thanks for reaching out. If I were to make a job change, these would be some of my must-haves:
The position would focus on the technical side of infosec, particularly network and Webapp penetration testing
Travel 20% or less
Flexibility to work from home at least part of the work week
X miles from my hometown of Sometown, Minnesota
Also, a few things I am not interested in:
Positions at company XYZ
Positions requiring on-call / after-hours work
Yes, the above could be a pretty insanely unattainable list, but this is exactly how I found my dream job last year. I talked about it in a 4-part series on moving from a small consulting shop to a Megacorp that I recorded in 2015. It covers:
- Part 1: When it may be time to look for a new job (or not)
- Part 2: How to stand out during phone screenings and interviews
- Part 3: How to gracefully transition from old job to new job
- Part 4: Here's what I'm doing in my new gig!
I've found several high quality infosec job leads from this thread. At the time I was looking, most of the positions were focused on penetration testing, and many were telecommute or telecommute plus a decent percentage of travel.
If you find a position you're interested in, I highly recommend DMing the contact on the post. I found most of them to be extremely responsive, and usually by making that initial contact, it can lead directly to starting the application process immediately. I like that because I prefer working one-on-one with an HR/hiring person rather than just blindly applying to a position via a corporate Web site.
Interviewing for a job
I know, I know. There are 9.8 trillion "tips to a successful interview" lists out there. This is mine :-). I'm no life coach or Dr. Phil, but I have been offered every position that I wanted, so hopefully that holds some weight as you consider the following tips:
Be awesome at writing
I can't believe I have to say this, but if you cannot write a complete sentence with proper spelling, capitalization and punctuation, stop reading any further. Seriously. Your initial email or call with a prospective employer is their first impression of you, so you want to rock it, not blow it!
As it related to written communication, when I get an email like this (slightly exaggerated but not that much) I want to set my face on fire:
Thanks for the oportunity to talk about the IT position with u. i hope I can get the job ;-)
- My name is spelled wrong.
- "Opportunity" is spelled wrong.
- Don't shorten words like you to u or are to r.
- I should be capitalized at the beginning of sentences.
- Keep emoticons out of job-related emails (at least until you work there and know your coworkers better).
Be awesome at speaking
As far as phone and in-person speaking skills, that initial interview is nerve-wracking, I know. But they're often a necessary first step to the application process, so you better get good at speaking! Do stuff like:
Interview yourself ahead of time - while you're in the car or shower or wherever, say out loud some answers to questions you're likely to get asked, like "Why did you leave your last company?" or "Tell us about a challenging client situation you've dealt with" or "Why do you want to work here?"
Try to minimize "uhs" and "ums - this plays off the first bullet, but the more practice you have speaking aloud, the more you can convey the point/story you're trying to get across (while minimizing mumbling and bumbling).
"Look me in the eyes!" - I can't tell you how many interviews I have been in where the interviewee stared at the floor. Or (and almost as bad) the interview was with several team members and the interviewee only looked at one person the whole time. Morale of this story? LOOK EVERYBODY IN THE ROOM IN THE EYES OFTEN. If you can't look me in the eyes, how can I expect you to look my clients in theirs?
Dress the part
I must be getting old because just this week a friend said I was "old fashioned" in my opinion on this next point. I believe you should dress your best for the interview - that means suit and tie. Now I've heard people argue this, saying things like "This company's dress code is flip-flops and Hawaiian shirts, so why should I dress up?!" Because it shows you're serious about the position, and you want to knock their socks off with a solid first impression. Now if you get into the meeting and nobody is wearing their suit coats, you can dress down a bit and take yours off. Some other considerations:
- Don't wear jeans.
- Make sure your tie is tied appropriately and hanging the correct length (see this and this).
- Make sure your tie is tucked in all the way around the collar - not sticking out.
- Your socks should match.
- Don't wear overalls.
- Take a shower shortly before the interview. And daily as well (hopefully you didn't need that reminder).
You can wear the flip-flops and Hawaiian shirts when you get the job!
When the interview is wrapping up, close with a comment that reemphasizes your interest in the job. Something like "Bob, thanks a lot for meeting with me today. This conversation has made me excited about possibilities at MegaCorp, and I think my skills could really serve this team well."
I'm old-fashioned, and I hate writing anything on paper, but I think thank-you notes are the one exception. After an interview, I like to email the people I met and tell them how much I appreciated their time. I send the email close to the end of their business day. Then I immediately drop a hand-written thank you note in the mail so they receive it 1-2 days later. I think this "double touch" goes a long way to standing out - you will often have no idea if you're up against one or 100 other people!