Advice for Cyber Security Networking
Networking still plays a big role in business, including the information security and cybersecurity community. And with so many people setting up their own businesses instead of working for specific employers these days, networking has taken on a new relevance for SMEs and freelancers, as well as graduates looking to make crucial first contact with potential employers. So here are a few top tips to help you get the most from your networking.
Ask not what others can do for you…
Rule number one – approach your networking experience from the right angle. Don’t walk into a breakfast business networking event thinking “What can I get out of this?”. Instead, approach it with a more proactive standpoint, and ask instead what you bring to the table. What can you offer your potential contacts? Because the available pool of skilled and highly qualified InfoSec experts is limited (and diminishing rapidly, too), if you have the knowledge, the experience, and the expertise in InfoSec then you are going to be one of the most popular people in the room.
Go in with a clear idea of your skills, your experience, and your expertise, and make every contact count. Make sure your qualifications are relevant and up to date, so you really do have something special to offer potential employees. If necessary, take a refresher boot camp course in Cloud Security or Threat Analysis before you go to make sure you’re up on the very latest protocols and best practice methods.
Following on from our first point is ‘smart networking’. You could spend your time talking to people who have no relevance to you whatsoever. That’s time you could be spending connecting with people that are interested in what you have to offer, and are more likely to follow up that first contact with an email, a phone call, or even a job offer. At InfoSec networking events, everyone is engaged in the same field, but some may specialise in network systems, while others may be involved in mobile and Cloud security. Pick your target audience to match your skills set.
Networking is fast, furious, and fleeting. With so many people in one room, all with the same purpose (to drum up potential business and make great contacts), it’s a frantic atmosphere with no time for rambling conversations. Before you head to a network event, practice your ‘elevator pitch’ – a short, concise response for that inevitable, “And what do you do?” question. Keep it to 90 seconds, and make it inclusive and flexible, so you can fine-tune your pitch to suit the person you’re speaking to. This is where those updated skills may come in handy – if you’ve just taken a course on Threat Detection, mention it. It makes you look like you’re willing to learn, you’re current, and you’re proactive – all strong points potential employers look for in a great potential candidate.
Be a good listener
People appreciate being listened to, as well as talked at. Give your fellow networkers a chance to pitch their skills to you too. Take a few minutes to listen to what they have to say, and you may discover you have more common ground and consequently more reason to develop the relationship outside the networking room.
Do some research
Before you head off to your networking event, do a little bit of research. If there are going to be key industry representatives present then find out about their business. Not only does this help you to practice smart networking, but also makes you look more professional.
We’ve talked so far about real-life networking, but today online networking is equally as important. There’s a whole minefield of etiquette when it comes to online networking, from following someone on Twitter to interacting with them on LinkedIn or Facebook. There’s only one cardinal rule that applies to every online connection – be professional. If you’re a graduate looking to move into information security then you can be sure your potential boss will google you and take a look at how you behave in the virtual world as well. Keep it professional, keep it polite, and keep it polished. Link to your blog, and demonstrate your expertise by writing fresh, informative blogs that engage the reader.
Look out for InfoSec networking events
If you’re looking for cybersecurity networking events, we are proud to say that we already run one of the UK’s leading expo events for people in the industry to network.
Check out our sister site for our Cyber Security Expo – one of our upcoming events will provide you with a great opportunity to meet likeminded industry professionals to kick start your cyber security career.