Networking as a cyber security candidate
Active networking is vital to career growth, helping build long-term relationships and a good reputation over time. It involves meeting and getting to know people who you can assist, and who can potentially help you in return. However, the reality is that it doesn’t come naturally to many people.
A good rule of thumb is to plan and have a few relevant points of discussion in mind if you know you’re going to be in a situation where you’ll have the opportunity to meet new people. These conversation points – can be about what you do, your hobbies, or the event you may be at. The idea is to get the conversation flowing and leave room for future meetups and discussions. Plus, don’t forget to bring business cards so you can swap details easily.
Benefits of networking:
1. Advance your career in Cyber Security
Being visible and getting noticed is a benefit of networking that’s essential in career building. Regularly attending professional and social events will help to get your face known. You can then help to build your reputation as being knowledgeable, reliable, and supportive by offering useful information or tips to people who need them.
2. Get career advice and support
Gaining the advice of experienced peers is an important benefit of networking. Discussing common challenges and opportunities opens the door to valuable suggestions and guidance. Offering genuine assistance to your contacts also sets a strong foundation for receiving support in return when you need it.
3. Find a job you love
Professional networking and expanding your contacts can create new opportunities for business, career advancement, personal growth, or simply new knowledge. You never know who might be hiring for your ideal job in Cyber Security, or know someone who is, and the more people you have in your network, the more likely you are to be the first to know when those big job opportunities pop up.
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4. Strengthen business connections
Networking is about sharing, not taking. It is about forming trust and helping others toward their goals. Regularly engaging with your contacts and finding opportunities to assist them helps to strengthen the relationship. By doing this, you plant the seeds for mutual assistance when you need help to achieve your goals.
5. Get fresh ideas
Your network can be an excellent source of new perspectives and ideas to help you in your Cyber Security role. Exchanging information on challenges, experiences and goals is a key benefit of networking because it allows you to gain new insights that you may not have otherwise thought of. Similarly, offering helpful ideas to a contact is an excellent way to build your reputation as an innovative thinker.
6. Gain a different perspective
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of your professional realm. By talking to others within Cyber Security or people with expertise in a particular area, you can gain insights that only come from viewing a situation with fresh eyes. Asking for opinions from contacts can help you see things in a new light and overcome roadblocks that you might not have known how to circumvent otherwise.
Do and don'ts of networking:
- Think about the right people to network with – and understand when a contact might not be mutually beneficial.
- Consider both short- and long-term career plans when meeting people.
- Buddy up with a friend or colleague when getting started.
- Look into networking courses if you’d like extra help.
- Attend networking events in your sector and industry.
- Listen as well as talk and ask questions.
- Follow up with new contacts by email or on social media after the event.
- Ask for help only when it’s needed and be prepared to offer help when it’s asked of you.
- Always thank someone who’s offered you support and keep them updated on your progress.
- Only build contacts for short-term help.
- Invest your time in contacts who are only out for themselves.
- Break confidences or divulge sensitive information.
- Neglect your network.
- Break contact once someone has given help.