Landing An Internship In The Cybersecurity Industry - Standing Out Amongst The Competitive Crowd
A common misconception about securing an internship in the cybersecurity industry is that you need an extensive cybersecurity background to apply. The reality is, you don’t, and there are two main reasons for this. The first is that companies understand that you are still in school. There isn’t an expectation that you’re already an expert in cybersecurity prior to graduation. Secondly, cybersecurity companies don’t just hire for technical roles. In fact, Palo Alto Networks has opportunities in HR, Legal, Marketing, Finance, Sales, Support and more!
Preparing To Apply
Now that we’ve learned you don’t have to be technical to apply to Palo Alto Networks, let’s talk about next steps.
- Create a strong resume, starting by putting your graduation date towards the top. Your resume is your first impression, and several studies have shown that first impressions are made in under a minute. Keep this in mind while crafting your resume.
- Ensure you have done your research. Know the basics about the company by searching on their website, reading blogs, tracking their mentions in the news, and delving into their products.
- Read job descriptions thoroughly to ensure you’re the right fit, but don’t get overly caught up in them.
- Reach out to any connections you may have at the company (e.g., students that were or are interns, recruiters, friends or family). Ask genuine questions about what it’s like there. Don’t just ask “How do I get a job?” or “Can you send my resume to the main recruiter?”
How To Stand Out
Successfully completing the application process is only step one. You will also need to competitively position yourself.
- Though you don’t need to be a cybersecurity expert, demonstrating a strong interest in the field is key. This can be exhibited through involvement in a student organization, security competitions or school projects.
- Participate in extracurricular activities. Some examples are professional clubs, Hackathons, Capture The Flag events and volunteer work.
- Learn new skills and challenge yourself. This inherently exemplifies your drive and willingness to go above and beyond.
- Polite persistence is key. Stay in touch with recruiters and hiring teams throughout the interview stages. Sending thank you notes and follow up emails goes a long way.
- Last but certainly not least, prepare questions! This shows your genuine interest in the company and program.
Advice From Former Interns
Recent program graduates always love to give their advice to current and prospective interns. A few of their tips are summarized below.
- Don’t be so hard on yourself when you are looking for different companies. Be confident in your abilities and know that you are not losing anything by applying.
- Don’t stop yourself from applying just because you don’t have a certain qualification. Make it known that you are passionate, driven and willing to learn.
- Keep your LinkedIn up to date. It’s also helpful to use the platform to reach out to teams you are interested in working for.
- Don’t let one bad interview get to you. Believe in yourself and know that you are worthy of an internship.
Free Resources To Kickstart Your Cybersecurity Career
- Check out Cybersecurity Career Profiles to get a better understanding of your future career options.
- Palo Alto Networks provides a comprehensive Cybersecurity Career Guide that outlines who works in cybersecurity, how the company got started and why we need YOU.
- Read this Cybersecurity Survival Guide by Palo Alto Networks. It provides a valuable overview of the current threat landscape.
- Get started with FREE cybersecurity courses by signing up on the Palo Alto Networks website.
- Check our Palo Alto Networks’ Cyber A.C.E.S. program for introductory, non-technical information on cybersecurity.
Action Items You Can Take Today
- Watch the full webinar this blog was inspired by: “Securing A Cybersecurity Internship,” hosted by Ashley Savageau, Social Impact Program Manager and Mike Bullock, Early Talent Technical Recruiting Manager.
- Update your resume; remember this is your first impression with the company.
- Check out our Early-In-Career Page for internship openings September through May.
- Join the Palo Alto Networks Talent Community to get new opening alerts that match your skills and interests.