When you think of an IT security firm, the last thing that comes to mind is social events. However, networking is an important aspect of growing your business and validating your service offerings. Networking allows you to develop lasting relationships with potential clients and assists you in sharing knowledge with other professionals within the field, allowing you to share your expertise with others and grow your business in the process. Here are five reasons why networking is essential for cyber security professionals.
5 Reasons Why Networking is Essential for Cyber Security
- Get to know your industry
- See what needs improvement
- Gather and share ideas
- Learn from each other
- Inspire those around you
1) Get to know your industry
One of your top priorities should be to get to know people in your industry. Networking helps you do just that. The people you meet at conferences, events, social functions, and other professional gatherings are all potential clients and partners in crime. Getting out there also gives you access to industry-specific knowledge and tips on how to set yourself apart from others who provide similar services or products.
The more contacts you have, the easier it will be to find prospective employers or customers (more about both later). If you can’t make time for networking during business hours, consider reaching out through LinkedIn and scheduling a phone call or meeting after work hours when possible. Use those extra hours each week—you never know what opportunities may fall into your lap!
The more you know about your industry, including which companies are active in it and what their needs may be, the easier it will be to land a job or win business. For example, if you’re in marketing, understanding trends in your industry can help you identify ideal clients. If you’re in cyber security, learn as much as possible about online threats and ways to prevent them. Think about how any new knowledge might be able to set you apart from other professionals or increase your credibility with current and prospective employers.
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2) See what needs improvement
As a newbie, there’s a lot to learn and improve upon when it comes to cyber security. With that in mind, now’s an ideal time to pick someone who you consider a cyber security professional or expert (they don’t have to be!) and ask them to give you feedback on your skillset. It could be something simple as where you need improvement or ways they see you as an asset on their team; however, asking these questions will help fill any gaps in your understanding of what it takes to succeed in cyber security. Plus, it could lead to networking opportunities!
Asking your cyber security mentor where you need improvement might seem a bit scary, but they’re probably expecting it. One thing to keep in mind though: be sure to let them know that you respect their opinion and are looking for constructive criticism on your skillset. Their professional opinion will be of great value to you moving forward, so don’t dismiss what they have to say simply because it might not fit in with what you want or think about yourself. You can always ask further questions later if something comes up that wasn’t clear after the initial feedback!
3) Gather and share ideas
Before you can take on a project like networking and grow your business, you need to ensure that you have a strong foundation to build on. One of your top priorities should be attending cyber security events in your area or online communities where other professionals are congregating to discuss matters that are of interest to you.
These events will give you an opportunity to learn about new trends, gain valuable insight into people’s opinions, and meet new connections. That’s because great ideas don’t just happen by chance; they happen when great minds come together—it’s all about exchanging ideas and finding ways to improve them through collaboration!
4) Learn from each other
Learning from your colleagues—including that outside of your department or industry—is an important way to continually improve. And, as it turns out, employees who are in frequent contact with other departments tend to be more productive (hey, variety is good for you!). They also feel like they’re a part of something larger and broader than themselves. Don’t let corporate silos get in the way of your career goals. If you don’t know how to start networking with people outside of your department or organization, keep these tips in mind: focus on what you have in common rather than trying to sell yourself; acknowledge that most people aren’t interested in hearing about every aspect of your job, and don’t always talk about work!
You can also take advantage of common activities to start conversations and foster connections with people you might not otherwise meet. Take a class or join a group outside of work, or participate in one of your company’s employee resource groups—groups that let you connect with others based on shared interests. Having different interests than your coworkers helps you bring new perspectives to problems, which leads to better solutions.
Not only does it keep things fresh, but it’s also good for team building! A variety of perspectives brings new ideas and points of view—ideas that everyone on your team can benefit from hearing about. And when everyone contributes and feels heard, they’re more likely to buy into whatever solution you settle on.
5) Inspire those around you
Mentorship opportunities exist at every level of a company. If you’re working on a team, try to find ways to help other members grow and develop. If you’re higher up, take an active role in helping shape your organization’s culture and offer guidance to those who need it. It may be intimidating at first—but mentorship can create strong networks and fast-track professional growth opportunities.
Building your network can also improve your chances of getting hired; according to one study, employers look favorably upon candidates with connections in their industry. Having good mentors and taking on an apprentice can help you build a strong professional network, but that’s not enough. Businesses can only grow when people within them collaborate, so it’s essential to forging personal connections outside of work too. Be sure to stay up-to-date with friends by learning about their interests or taking up a new hobby together.
Share experiences that are important to you—whether it’s walking your dog every day or volunteering at church—and always share stories about your experiences with others, no matter how trivial they may seem at first. Being open about what you value and sharing your passions and accomplishments will lead to meaningful relationships down the road.