Chair’s Message | What Amazon whispered in my ear

Nov. 19, 2021 

Dear Cybersecurity and Privacy community, 

Some words of encouragement to SCP students as we are nearing the end of the semester:

Hang in there. Rest is coming soon.

For some of you the end of the Fall 2021 semester means graduation, time to think about life after Georgia Tech. 

As some of you know, we hosted the Amazon Information Security Team this week. They gave us some great feedback after reviewing some of your resumes. The main point they wanted me to share with you was that the skills you are learning in the classroom are highly sought after at Amazon and in the field of cybersecurity and privacy in general. The problem, however, was some of those skills were not prominently displayed in the resumes they reviewed, or they were not there at all. So, I will tell you what Amazon whispered in my ear this week and about a couple of good ideas when it comes to submitting job applications. 

Keep your resumes short, no more than a page. I know as academics we tend to get wordy. We are used to writing pages on pages of dense research, math, and references. Condensing your experiences can be extremely challenging, but recruiters looking at resumes want the highlights. Save the details for your interview or go the route of submitting a CV (which should still be two pages for industry positions). 

Skim job posting for keywords and work them into your experiences. Gone are the days where a person is the first set of eyes on your application. Most companies, Amazon included, use software that automatically scan applications and push the ones with experiences in-line with the job posting to the hiring manager. While this may speed things up for HR, it means qualified applicants can slip through the cracks. 

You are entering the hottest job market in the world, and as we were reminded at last week’s meeting of the SCP Industrial Advisory Board, Georgia Tech graduates are in high demand.  But that doesn’t mean much if you don’t land the interview.  So, write your resume to be noticed by someone who has a stack of impressive resumes to review.  

Georgia Tech has an extensive network of alumni so before I let you go this week; I have an assignment. Think about where you want to go career-wise, industry or academia, and look for alumni in an organization you hope to one day be employed with. Reach out to them, pick their brain, make that connection. Even if you do not end up at that company or university, you still have a contact in your field you can reach out to for advice or just to talk. 

I hope you all have a restful Thanksgiving break. 

Keep up the excellent work and I will talk to you all when we come back.  

Best wishes,  

Richard DeMillo  

Charlotte B. and Roger C. Warren Professor of Computing and Chair, School of Cybersecurity and Privacy.