Top 5 cybersecurity job hunting tips for 2016

Job seekers have the upper hand in a competitive market for cyber talent.

cyber security cave
Credit: Idaho National Laboratory

There are 1 million cybersecurity job openings in 2016.

Experienced candidates have the upper hand as corporations and government agencies battle it out for the top cyber talent. Nonetheless, be mindful of these top five tips - which can help you land the best position and pay.

1. Patience, patience.

Employers need you as much or more than you need them. If you are an experienced cybersecurity engineer, CISO, sales executive, or product marketing manager, then you are likely to receive job offers fairly quickly. Be patient and keep looking. There's a shortage of talent in the cyber field and it isn't likely that someone else is going to beat you out for the best job. It is more likely that a hiring manager will come back to you with a higher offer. In the meantime, you might run into a better opportunity.

2. Skip the job boards.

Corporate recruiters and HR managers troll the job boards looking at thousands of candidate resumes. If they find you, chances are they've found a lot of others too. Your entry point of contact on a job board will often be on the bottom rung of the ladder. Experienced job seekers should skip the job boards and develop a strategy to target C-suite to VP level executives who own the headcount and make the final hiring decisions.

[ ALSO ON CSO: Creating a strategy to offset the cyber talent shortage ]

3. Use a LinkedIn profile, not a resume.

Got a resume? Get rid of it. Your LinkedIn profile is your 2016 resume. And it shouldn't say you are looking for a job, even if you are. It should tell people that you are a cybersecurity expert and one of the best at what you do, period. Your credentials, certifications, employment history, education, and other, are better off as a bio - not a resume telling (or asking) employers to hire you. The less you pursue them, the more they'll pursue you.

4. It's who you don't know.

It's not about who you know, it's about who you don't know. There are many more cybersecurity people you don't know - compared to the number of people you do know. There's nothing wrong with putting the word out to your friends and professional network - telling them you may be looking. But be careful with your time. You may wind up with too many referrals to all the wrong employers and no time to proactively single out companies in the hot sectors which offer the best career moves.

5. Go to industry conferences.

It's not too late to register for the RSA Conference in San Francisco which begins in a few days. Hundreds of the coolest cybersecurity companies will be on the exhibit floor pitching their solutions to IT security folks. Circulating at RSA is sure to bring you face to face with founders and CEOs who know top talent when they are talking to it. For senior level technology executives, the CSO50 Conference is the place to be. CIOs, CSOs, CISOs, and VPs gather to network and discuss security... of course talent is always a topic of conversation among this group. Or, consider one of the other top cybersecurity events coming in 2016.

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