The IT security and defence sector is a close-knit community, which means that pretty much everyone knows anyone. While this is great for receiving support, seeking out advice and never standing alone at networking events, is it great for your career?
Amid the cybersecurity skills gap, companies are increasingly turning to specialist recruitment companies to fill their IT security and defence vacancies. But some candidates aren’t following their lead and, instead, are ‘going it alone’ in the belief that knowing everyone can result in their next career step.
While connections and networks can be useful for finding suitable vacancies, there are times when relying on your contacts isn’t the best option for advancing your career. This is especially the case when:
We’ve all been in the position where we’re “not really looking for a new job right now”. But actually, we are; we just don’t want our boss to find out. In an industry where most people know, or know of, each other, it can be difficult letting people know that you’re not actively searching for a role, but you’d be interested if the right position came along.
By working with a specialist IT recruitment agency, you can let them know what you’re “not really” looking for, safe in the knowledge that this information goes no further. Your recruiter won’t actively advertise you as a job seeker, but will keep you at the back of their minds should a position of interest arise. When it does, you can then make the decision whether to put yourself back on the market.
We all know that first impressions count and last, but is the first impression you made in the IT defence industry the impression that you want to make now? You might have entered the sector straight from university and despite years of experience still hold that “fresh talent” impression. Or, you might have spent your whole career dedicated to one employer, and despite telling connections that you fancy a change of scenery, your name doesn’t pop up when a new job arises. Either way, unconscious bias could be seriously holding your career back.
A recruitment consultant can work with you to re-position your personal brand and overcome any impressions that are holding you back. This includes advice and support on CV writing and interview technique, as well as having someone sell your experience, skills and career intentions as the ideal match for a company’s vacancy.
It’s easy to become typecast in the security and defence industry, especially if you have a noticeably strong skill or a particularly senior position. Accordingly, if you’re eager to try a different role or challenge, you may find it difficult to even hear about potential vacancies, let alone be considered for them.
A recruitment agency can help. Not only can they advise on the particular skills and qualities you need to be considered for something different, but they can also inform you as soon as a relevant vacancy arises. And, if you fancy something new but you’re not quite sure what, they can help to identify positions that match your overall goals, interests and motivators.
When you start building personal connections with people across the industry, certain topics can feel a little uncomfortable to discuss, such as salaries, pension, benefits, bonuses, responsibilities, career goals, and even health issues. This can make job searching slightly uncomfortable, but it can also seriously limit your ability to secure the best terms for your career. For example, you might feel awkward sharing your current salary information or embarrassed asking for professional development funding.
By working with a recruitment consultant, you don’t have to have those difficult discussions. Instead, you have someone negotiating the best for your career – whether that’s a higher salary, remote working, or funded professional development.
There are now more than 4.8 million self-employed individuals in the UK – a figure that’s tempting many security and defence professionals to enter the world of IT contracting. But, finding, securing and lining up the right contracts takes significant work.
While industry connections certainly help when it comes to contracting, partnering with a specialist IT recruitment consultancy makes the process much easier and more secure. You can worry less about contacts coming to an end and more about what you’re going to do when too many offers roll in.
Don’t let the small world of IT security and defence limit your career. Get in touch with Evolution today to see how we can help.
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