Careers Week 2023: How I got into Cybersecurity PR

Flicking through a university prospectus and being asked the question of ‘what do you want to do with your life?’ is slightly daunting and, let’s be honest, nauseating when you’re still figuring it all out. How do you pick and make a decision that is going to influence the job and career you have in the future?

Firstly, figure out what you are interested in and what makes you tick. For me, I always had three key criteria in my head for what I wanted my future to look like:

  1. I wanted to write.
  2. I wanted to communicate with as many people as possible.
  3. I didn’t want a regular 9-to-5 job that became predictable.

This opened up a few different doors, and I initially decided to step through the one that said ‘Journalism’. Three years, and lots of writing and work placements later, I decided to take the skills I’d learnt and honed and repurpose them for use in the world of cybersecurity PR. It’s safe to say cybersecurity has never been predictable, as you’ll know if you read our weekly insights blogs, so that’s a big tick against criteria number three.

Similar to when picking a degree, selecting your first job can seem overwhelming. What should you be looking for? How do you know when you’ve found the right fit for you? Is there growth potential? Will I like the people I’m working with?

While priorities will be different for everyone, what I found encouraging about Code Red was the commitment to training and development. From the outset, a structure was in place that enabled me to have a go at anything I wanted to try, safe in the knowledge that there was support and guidance at hand. And that support has continued for almost 15 years, from starting as a fresh-faced graduate through to being the agency’s (slightly less fresh-faced) Client Services Director today. So many of our team have started their careers here and worked their way up.

I’m often asked why Code Red and why I’ve been here for so long. I could do PR anywhere else, but the specialism is cybersecurity and the exciting clients we get to work with keeps every day interesting. But at the heart of it is the team of incredible people that I get to work with daily. The support we give each other, coupled with our compassion and how we constantly challenge and encourage one another to achieve greater things each day, means we are all invested in one another. Not just as colleagues, but as friends.

Whether it is spurring each other on during a charity walk or being all-hands on deck for a breaking news story and hitting the phones, we are each other’s champions. We could be celebrating another piece of coverage in the BBC, a birthday, an industry award win or the fact that someone baked an amazing batch of cupcakes that added a couple of inches to all our waistlines, we have each other’s backs and we grow stronger together. As people and as a business.

When thinking of a career, it can be easy to get caught up purely in the skillset and whether you tick certain boxes on a list of criteria they have. And that may be important, but it isn’t always everything. Always look as well for those ‘softer’ elements and whether it is a business and team that you want to be a part of and that you can grow within. If you find that, then you’re likely onto a winner.

 

Kim Smith, Client Services Director at Code Red

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