The close of 2020 is fast approaching, and many security professionals have experienced a wide swing in career highs and lows during this challenging year. Many shifts were obviously pandemic-related. Organizations were either forced to consider business realignment or utilized the upheaval to move in a direction that may have been already under consideration. Regardless of the circumstance, the result was a reduction in opportunities in the security profession for some, and career advancement for others.
This puts extra emphasis on what may be on your career horizon for the New Year. Now is an excellent time to evaluate, analyze and reflect on the way forward despite these most challenging circumstances.
As with less stressful years, success does not mean chasing bright shiny objects or catchphrases pertaining to the latest security-related theme of the month. Just as if you were designing a product or building a plant or business, there is a need to invest considerable time to identify objectives, assess the market, evaluate materials and resources, and then move forward on a strategy. In short: planning, research and execution.
Following are some of the key processes within each phase:
- Identify and understand your values, skills, competencies and interests.
- Identify all the elements and roles that make up your desired career aspirations.
- Determine your financial requirements compared to the roles you seek.
- Focus on mapping the above to the elements within your target professional role(s).
- Set clear goals based on your strengths, personal characteristics and circumstances.
- Always know your next steps and have backup plans.
- Obtain new learning and skills you will need (a continuous life-long process).
- Establish a diverse communication network (not just social media contacts).
- Survey the professional environment.
- Gather relevant market information.
- Define your target market industry, size, organizational culture, geography.
- Determine professional objectives (both vertically and horizontally within organizations).
- Create a strategy.
- Develop your message, written materials and needed resumes or CVs.
- Develop a plan and get your message out.
- Talk with colleagues, peers and hiring managers.
- Identify and use a variety of search methods.
- Interview, then cultivate offers and negotiate (both internally and externally).
- Transition into new role.
This is only a starting point. In the coming months, you should explore and expand on many of these topics to better focus inwardly as to what elements of this past year you found personally fulfilling, albeit challenging. Develop your thoughts and reflect on ideas to better navigate the difficult and highly personal aspects of planning and managing your career in the security profession. Opportunities within your current organization that have become available because of your role in your company’s management of various aspects of this year’s challenges may just be your best career option.