Some background

I’m in a very fortunate position (currently) whereby I have not had to look for a ‘job’ since I was much younger. I do however remember what a soul crushing experience that used to be. I’d send emails, I’d write letters, eventually after stone walls of silence and rejections because of not enough experience or qualifications. I just remember job hunting as a depressing experience and I can’t really imagine that’s changed a great deal over time!

When I was younger, I was a year ahead of myself in school (due to the event of not dying and going to a very lovely first school). I was never very academic when I was younger, but I loved games and I learnt very quickly (this was with our first Amstrad) that I loved computers and wasn’t too shabby with them.

Fast forward to Dan at 17, my main achievements at school were getting up to mischief, learning discipline and leadership through the cadets (thank you to Cpt. Cherry!) and continuing to stay attached to a computer (even with my fuckwittery!) and I had to go into the workplace. Jesus Christ I can’t tell you how not fun that was… how to find a fucking job!

Reasons I was rejected from jobs:

  • Not enough experience
  • Too young
  • Not enough [Insert vertical name] experience
  • Not enough technical knowledge
  • Not enough hardware knowledge
  • Not enough certificates or educational qualifications (I really didn’t do well at school in the academic sense; I have GCSEs and a E in my A level computing (I’m amazed I even went to the exam to be fair)

To combat this, I had to do something, I had to get experience and I had to keep learning!

  • I worked for free (supported by my very kind and loving family (even when I was a shitty boy teanager) where I met some amazing people who taught me about enterprise IT management
  • I self-studied, I built labs (back then we had to build labs using small beige donated PC’s where we’d install stuff from TechNet etc.). If there were labs when I was a kid, I never had access to them. I built a multi-site network from my flat to my parents’ home and deployed NT4 domains/Win2k Domains and Exchange (I upgraded from 5.5 to Exchange 2000 etc.)
  • I worked hard, a lot!

I could write about my journey so far for ages but that’s not why I’m writing this, so in a nutshell, I didn’t have qualifications, lots of experience and I was young (I would have looked risky). I did have:

  • Drive
  • Passion
  • Energy
  • An obsession with learning and building, breaking and fixing computer systems

Arming up

So even if you have qualifications, experience etc. job hunting still is hard, anyone that tells you sales is easy is lying.

However, if I had to find a job today this is somewhat how I would approach it:

  • Create a personal brand to let people know:
    • Who I am?
    • What I do?
    • How I can help them
    • Show examples of what I’ve achieved
    • What I’m looking for! (tell people you are looking!)
  • Seek help
    • Find industry people
    • Ask prospective employers what they are looking for
    • Get your CV and LinkedIn profile peer review
  • Keep Learning
    • Read blogs, watch vids
    • Use CBT like pluralsight, udemy etc.
    • Get some certs (if you have the budget)
  • Show people what you can do!
    • Write blogs
    • Create things (presentations, webinars, post code)
    • Create yourself a portfolio (people in the publishing sector have been doing it for years, it’s a great idea! people want to see what you can do!)
  • Do research
    • Understand the market landscape
    • Get your facts and figures (do not walk in without a number, employment isn’t just about money, but you must know what the market looks like!)
    • Do a level (not creepy) level of OSINT on your targets
  • Advertise the fuck out of it
    • Regularly post posters about you and your ‘quest’ on LinkedIn
      • Use custom images/posters to help you
    • Get into your domain’s communities, network!
    • Ask people to help you (shares, likes etc.)
  • Network
    • Speak to friends and family, get as much support as you can
    • Speak to trusted and referred recruiters
  • DO NOT GIVE UP
  • Keep telling the world what you can do!

So, I guess in short!

  • Be BOLD
  • Be BRIGHT
  • Do Research
  • Be YOUSELF
  • Keep Going
  • Keep Learning
  • NETWORK NETWORK NETWORK
  • Do not give into fear!
  • Never, ever give up!

Summary

Job hunting is really like a living hell to me (it was at least when I last did it), it takes time, effort and is at some points a sole crushing experience. It’s a bit like sales… go and ask a good egg in the sales arena and see what it’s really like!

Employing people is hard, finding is a job is equally as hard. Remember that good things in life don’t come for free, if it feels like you aren’t getting a break and you are doing all these things then try switching things up a bit! Remember no one will remember you if you blend in too much with the crowd! I’m not a recruiter, I’ve job hunted, I sell, I’ve hired, I’ve had to fire, and I’ve made mistakes. I wanted to just share that it’s hard but if you approach things with a plan and you keep persisting across a range of different activities you will get there!

1 COMMENT
  • Danny Dodds
    Reply

    It’s good to hear this advice, I’m fortunately in a safe position during these uncertain time’s but I’m looking to move from IT into a security field and I’m taking all the advise and help I can get! Keep up the good work with Pwndefend 🙂

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