Jerry Brennan is CEO of the Security Management Resources Group of Companies (www.smrgroup.com), the leading global executive search practice focused exclusively on corporate and information security positions.
We have heard from a number of security executives about a very disturbing trend taking place when contracting out various services to support security programs. These reports indicate that a decline may be occurring in the integrity and ethical standards of a number of security services providers.
Your resume is a marketing document. Too much information presented as a career biography may not achieve the results you are hoping for. A recruiter or hiring manager, who has never met you, will judge you by its content and appearance alone, and decide whether you deserve further consideration for the role in which you have expressed interest. A brief, clear, attractive resume will recommend you more highly to a recruiter than a long-winded, poorly designed one will – even if the content is the same. The time investment is significant, even if produced with the assistance of a professional writer.
Have a clear understanding your values, skills and interests; focus on your future profession; set clear goals based on your strengths; know your next step; obtain new learning and skills you will need; and establish a diverse communication network – these steps will increase your chances of career success and job satisfaction.
You can let events impact your life and shape your career, or you can take control. If you are either looking to make a career change from your current role, or leaving government for the private sector, consider taking the following preliminary steps before developing and sending out any resumes.
Does your organization have an active program that conducts reference checking on employees before they are hired? Ownership of the pre-employment vetting process does not often reside with the security function within the organization. Some companies outsource background checks to third party organizations to share the task. Many of these policies are impacted by legislation, and limitations can be imposed on the use of various vetting methods.
Over the last several years, it has become commonplace for the media to publish information based on electronic materials that have been removed or copied either by organizational insiders and/or external people or groups. The publication of this type of material has impacted individuals, public and private organizations and various government agencies. While it is important for a free society to have the benefits of a free press serving as one of the checks and balances to protect citizens from abusive practices, we may have reached a point where we should re-examine how this is practiced. Are our criminal and civil statues effective on these issues?
You have been with your current organization for more than 10 years leading the corporate security function, having conceived and built the program, hired staff around the world and integrated the department to being a trusted advisor to senior management. Since this is your second career, you are now reaching a point that you would like to retire and pursue other passions and personal interests. After sitting down and discussing this with your boss, you realize that he or she and the management team are concerned about the lack of a succession plan for your replacement. Their position is: While your second level staff is very good operationally, they are not under serious consideration for your role, and HR will be looking outside the company for your replacement.
At some point during your working life, you will find yourself looking for a new job. There are a wide range of circumstances that may bring you to that point, ranging from retiring from public or military service; corporate reorganizations and/or leadership changes; you’re terminated; you resign; the location at which you work is destroyed; your company collapses financially; or you just want to advance your career in a new environment. While each of these circumstances may influence how you will position yourself during the job search, there are a number of common factors that place immense stress on an already difficult process.
Afew years ago we published an article on security related certifications that were being marketed as a means to advance your career. At that time there were a relatively small number of certifications that we were seeing listed on resumes. Today, we are still routinely asked which certifications are needed for career advancement or which ones are being requested by hiring managers. Frankly, unless the role has a specific requirement that connects to one of the more technical certifications, for the most part, the hiring authorities are not demanding them.