Friday, August 09, 2013

The term “Networking” is used all the time. What does it mean to Network?

I Need to Learn How to Network, My Job will be eliminated

Recently a Director of Information Security came to me with a very interesting proposition.  He told me that he has read article upon article that advised him as a job seeker to network.  Okay, I wasn't hearing anything wrong until he pointed out the problem.

"Everybody tells me I need to network but nobody has ever taught me how to network.  What exactly does that mean?"

Wow!  Now that’s a problem.  This Director wants to network to find the next step in his career because his company has announced cutbacks but he doesn’t know what it tactically means to network.  The Director offered to pay me to teach him how to network if I believed I could help him.  Yes indeed, I could help this security job seeker.

After I firmly grasped what the Director was struggling with, we agreed to set up a future coaching call that would be focused 100% on the Director’s need to learn how to network.

I Need to Learn How to Network…My Job of 17 Years was eliminated

Today I shared a conversation with another cyber security professional who recently lost his job after a 17 year run with the same employer.  He was sent to an outplacement firm and they told him he needed to network.  He was told to show up at ISSA and ISACA meetings and to shake hands.  He was told to let people know that he was looking for a job.  He thought he had received all the advice he needed.  Remember, this person hasn’t looked for a job in 17 years.  Searching for a job is not exactly his freshest skill.

There is nothing wrong with networking at ISSA and ISACA meetings in your local market.  In fact, I recommend that you do connect with other security professionals at ISSA and ISACA meetings.  However, if the people you’re networking with are all peers, who in your peer group is positioned to offer you a job? 

You need to network with people who can hire you or with people who can introduce you to those who can hire you.

Seeking a Job in a New City

The 17 year cyber security professional in this case came to me because he was interested in a position I’m working to fill in Las Vegas.  He is physically located in Chicago.  I asked the cyber security professional how he was going to network with ISSA and ISACA groups in cities where he doesn’t live.  

I asked him how he was going to shake hands with people who are located 1,200 miles away.  There was silence on the other end of my phone.

Networking means more than going to a group meeting of unemployed people when you’re unemployed.  Networking goes beyond attending ISSA and ISACA meetings to spread your resume around.  Networking means more than simply joining select groups on LinkedIn and then hoping for the best.

The Key to Networking for a New Job

In order to network your way into a new job, you need to get your message in front of someone who can actually offer you a job or someone who can refer you to someone who can offer you a job.

This is one of the many subjects I teach my Security Job Coaching clients how to master for themselves.'s Security Recruiter Blog