Softskills: Networking for your Career

Whether looking for a new job, enhancing your knowlege or finding like-minded people, networking is important for your career.

Social Networks

When I looked for my first job as a pentester I wrote to CEOs and company owners from smaller companies that I found interesting on Xing (which is manily active in Germany) and later I also used LinkedIn. I got invitations to interviews and found a job.

Further I use twitter, but not as much as I did 2-3 years ago. But you can still get information very quick when you follow the right people. For example when a PoC for an exploit is available it is posted fast here, but be careful and check the information.

On all networks you can use direct mail for contacting people when you have questions, in my experience most people are happy to help.

But how to start? First follow and add people you know. Search for people who might be interesting for you and also add/follow them. When contacting the first time, just say a few words about yourself. Share posts you find interesting and maybe start sending your own post, maybe a link to an interesting blog post you found interesting or a short course review.

You can also be successful without social media accounts, but for me it was a booster. It is also useful to stay in contact with people you meet at…

Conferences & Meet-ups

Another great place for networking is conferences and local meetings. At local meetings (I visited the OWASP meeting Cologne for some time) it is easy to get into touch with people in the area you live, you have presentations and can learn.

At conferences it depends strongly for me what you expect. For networking it might be better to go to smaller conferences, especialy if you don’t know anybody. Bigger conferences are also good, but maybe a bit overwhelming first.

You can get more contacts when participating actively, for example by giving a presentation or as a volunteer.

Or, when you are in the industry for a longer time, just meet with people you know.

And guess what? I got in touch with one of my employers at a conference.