You’ve been working hard to learn the necessary skills to become a cybersecurity professional. Your hopes and dreams have fueled these efforts. There’s hope for a future-proof career, which allows you to maintain relevance in an increasingly technology driven world. There’s the dream of improving your economic security at a time in which increased income inequality wreaks havoc on the middle class. There might even be the hope of pursuing a specific cybersecurity specialty, which seems fun and exciting to you.
Hiring Managers Are Selfish
The truth of the matter is that your hopes and dreams for entering cybersecurity aren’t the hiring manager's concern. Every applicant has their own hopes and dreams. The hiring manager on the other hand has a business need to fill. This makes hiring managers understandably selfish. The hiring manager’s primary concern is going to be filling those business needs with the talented people, who can execute them and be a beneficial part of the team.
The truth of the matter is that your hopes and dreams for entering cybersecurity aren’t the hiring manager's concern.
Some applicants will include executive summaries in their resumes with explanations of what they're looking for in a cybersecurity job. That’s not going to resonate with hiring managers. Those hiring managers want to know what you can do for them, not what they can do for you. This is especially true for candidates pursuing their first cybersecurity job.
Look at things from the hiring manager’s perspective. She could receive up to a couple hundred applications for a single cybersecurity role. Now imagine that she has more than one role open. That’s a lot of people’s hopes and dreams to sort through. The hiring manager is going to focus on her organizational needs. After all, that’s what she gets paid to do.
Focus On The Organization’s Needs
To engage in a manner that resonates with hiring managers, focus on the organization’s needs rather than your own. That means getting a feel for what the hiring manager is looking for in a specific role. What challenges is the organization seeking to solve? What will the primary mission be for whoever gets hired for this role?
Once you have a feel for that, you can better engage with the hiring manager. Instead of talking about what you want, you can talk about your understanding of her organizational requirements and how you can help fulfill them. What cybersecurity skills have you developed that would be an asset? What non-cybersecurity skills do you have (e.g., strong communications skills) that would be valuable for the role? What personality traits do you possess that would be key for this role and team?
To engage in a manner that resonates with hiring managers, focus on the organization’s needs rather than your own.
Once you reframe your focus from your hopes and dreams to the organization’s needs, you’ll be in a better position to describe yourself as the best candidate for the job. You don’t need to avoid discussion of your hopes and dreams all together. Just reframe them. Where do the organization’s needs and your goals intersect? Talk about that. Just remember to keep it as a secondary discussion point after you’ve adequately expressed how you can help fulfill their objectives.
Engagement Opportunities Are Precious
Opportunities to engage with hiring managers are precious. Most applications and resumes won’t actually make it into their hands. Knowing that, make the most of the opportunity, when you have a hiring manager’s attention. Approach that engagement from the perspective of what you can do for the organization.
Your hopes and dreams are important for sure. However they’re more important to you, than anyone else. During the interview process isn’t really the time to focus on them. The hiring manager needs to be selfish to achieve organizational objectives. If you focus on those organizational objectives, you can find yourself in an advantageous position to advance your hopes and dreams as well.