The field is now ripe for seasoned cybersecurity professionals to accelerate their career growth and newcomers looking to get their break into the booming tech industry. According to recent figures from the FBI, cyberattacks increased by nearly 400% soon after the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the United States in March 2020. This increased the demand for companies to hire cybersecurity professionals and nearly half (48%) intended to increase staff in 2020 before the pandemic.

There has also a recent push by many companies to attract and promote women into what has been a traditionally male dominated industry. Programs and networks such as Women In Cybersecurity and AnitaB work to open doors, create collaborative networks, and provide advancement opportunities for women.

Bottom line: The hiring demand for cybersecurity is booming and now is the time to capitalize on recent changes in the industry.

Yes, certain technical skills and certifications, such as AWS and CISSP – ISSAP, will be required for these highly coveted roles. Beyond that, though, there are specific transferable skills that employers in this dynamic, fast-growing industry value. Recruiters will be evaluating how you stack up in the following areas.

Initiative

Initiative is the ability to drive towards meaningful change without being told to do so. This willingness to step up and lead the charge conveys an entrepreneurial mindset and is the hallmark of an adept leader. It conveys a strong sense of self-confidence and the ability to self-manage. It’s bold action when others are simply reacting and can spell out big dividends to cybersecurity companies who work at a fast pace and are always looking two steps ahead.

To convey initiative to a potential employer, reference instances of resourcefulness and proactiveness that led to innovation.

Growth mindset

Employers often seek out employees who can offer immediate value. One way a candidate can demonstrate this return is through a growth mindset, the belief that one can develop and refine their skills through hard work and persistence. This methodology illustrates a love of learning and the ability to view challenges as opportunities to grow.

“The cyber security landscape is evolving continuously and rapidly, and therefore the most important quality I look for in a security hire is someone who can do the same – someone with natural curiosity that will lead to continual learning. The security workforce needs people who will be a part of inventing the solutions that will keep us safe not only today but in the future”

Shamla Naidoo, Chief Information Security Officer, IBM

To demonstrate an example of growth mindset to a recruiter, one can cite industry content they consume; podcasts, articles, leaders in the industry they follow, or recent certifications they’ve obtained.

Adaptability

The phrase “the only constant is change” can aptly be applied to the cybersecurity industry as it evolves in real-time. Every day, new challenges present themselves, and cybersecurity professionals must remain resilient and able to pivot on a dime. Stressing over constant fluctuations can waste valuable time and energy. Those who can skillfully manage workplace changes and trends in the industry will remain productive and resourceful.

To illustrate adaptability during an interview, offer examples of times you were able to remain calm, poised and ready to make a quick decision when presented with an unexpected challenge.

As a Talent Manager at SafeGuard Cyber, these key attributes are my guiding force as I evaluate candidates and can be the differentiating factor that propels one candidate to the top of the frontrunner list. These soft skills can be developed and honed (with a growth mindset), and are worth developing if you are looking to stand out amongst the masses. Take advantage of available resources such as trainings, networking opportunities and mentorships in order to position yourself competitively in this dynamic, constantly evolving industry.

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