The ultimate guide to landing a killer job before graduating

The difference between unemployed and the top 2%.

The ultimate guide to landing a killer job before graduating
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Some students graduate unemployed. Others graduate with fancy cyber jobs putting them in the top 2%, currently $81,300 at 22 years old in 2024. This guide marks the difference between these two outcomes. It's a combination of strategic wisdom and tactical steps to get you hired, whether you've already had three internships or are just starting out with zero experience.

Strategic themes

Perceptions > reality

People hire based on perceived expertise. The idiot from Harvard looks smarter than the genius from community college. Your overarching goal is to ensure your entire professional presentation (resume, interview skills, personal brand, etc) depicts you as knowledgeable in cyber, good at communicating, and eager to grow.

Action > worrying

The #1 stressor for students looking to get into cyber today is not knowing exactly what they want to do. (I know this because I've asked hundreds of students and they all say some variation of the same thing.) The root problem isn't in the not knowing. It's in the exactly. The need for certainty, and the anxiety that comes with it, is perhaps the most dangerous trap for students. Incident response or cyber operations? Cloud or digital forensics? Governance or government? Cyber is ginormous and it's easy to get lost. I see students agonize over these choices. It's not worth it. Remember, your goal is simply to be perceived as professionally knowledgable in cyber. As long as everything roughly points to cyber, you can tinker around the edges to present yourself in any way you need as your interests and skills evolve. You could spend years thinking about the exact right path for you, or you could just try something now. Actually doing something is always better than worrying about doing something. It's the only way to learn, it's the only way to grow. Your goal is to switch from a fear-based mindset to a curiosity-based mindset. Everyone's first few jobs are an experiment. Hypothesize and explore.

Avoid bad sources of guidance

Many professors have never had a "real" job in their life. Your parents learned how to make a resume in the fax machine era. Your guidance counselor probably thinks a SHA256 hash is a drug. Trust their career advice at your own risk. Instead, find mentors in the industry and develop a personal board of directors.

The tactical steps (subscribers only)

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