Last month we summarized an approach to career planning that identified three key milestones and their related processes.  The first phase is “Planning,” and the first step in a successful strategy is self-introspection in order to understand what skills and competencies you bring to your current and future organizations.

We previously touched on this topic in a July 2015 article in Security, “Finding Career Success through Self-Assessment.” HR departments use a number of models in order to evaluate potential employees, and the July piece highlighted some of the soft skills organizations measure when recruiting security executives. In this issue we’ll give you direction on how to assess and present your competencies.

Start with a candid assessment of your soft skills before you consider your operational and tactical skills. They are the underpinnings of fitting into an organization and operating successfully within them. The Lominger* 67Competencies model provides an excellent outline of what to take into consideration when doing this.  Once you have identified those skills and competencies that best reflect your capabilities and experience, you can most effectively present them by grouping them into like categories.

For example, below is a small excerpt from a study we undertook a year ago, which polled CSOs in leading global organizations as to what skills they felt were critical for security executives.  Note how the skills are related but grouped under one competency:

Strategic –Dealing with Ambiguity: Comfortable with handling risk and uncertainty. Can effectively cope with change and shift direction.

Operating –Getting Work Done through Others:  A people-builder who is aware of individuals’ career goals. Builds and executes development plans. Mentors and teams well with others.

Personal and Interpersonal –Being Open and Receptive: Interacts with senior-level management with ease and on their level. Creates approaches likely to be regarded as appropriate and positive.

Organizational Positioning –Organizational Agility: Understands the cultures of organizations and the origins of/reasoning behind key policies. Achieves results through both protocol and informal networks.

Courage – Managerial Courage: Pro-vides current, complete and “actionable” positive and corrective feedback to others.

Candid observation of your soft skills is a substantial first step to take in planning your security career. Clear organization of your self-view will help you to better package and deliver your message as you advance in the industry.