May 23, 2016

Author: Joanne Pollock

Solitary businessman holding an umbrella

Security professionals often have contingency planning as part of their portfolios. They’re experienced in planning for worst case scenarios on behalf of their employers, but what about for themselves?

SMR's recruitment staff speak to thousands of candidates every year, many of whom find themselves in the unenviable position of suddenly having to look for a new job. The catalyst for this can be any number of things. Perhaps their company was acquired and the resulting combined security function has no room in it for them. Companies regularly downsize, right size, re-engineer and realign internally, all of which have the potential to disrupt the career paths of their employees.

Fortunately unforeseen circumstances are what most security practitioners specialize in for the organizations that employ them. But for some reason we see this key planning exercise is very often omitted when addressing their own career plan. Everyone should have a contingency plan for their own personal brand and career, just as corporations do.

A good first step in this process would be to leverage your professional skills and competencies to develop your own plan. Security and risk management professionals are intelligence gatherers by trade and correlating that information can give insight on potential changes to consider.

Another easy thing to do is to keep your resume or CV current at all times so you have a polished, well-thought out document at the ready instead of something thrown together in crisis mode. Hire a professional resume writer to put the base document together for you when you have the luxury of time in which to do it. Revisit and update it as your competencies, skills and experience evolve. It's easier to tailor a resume that's already written vs. one that you're writing from scratch.

Form a relationship with a security recruitment specialist even if you’re not currently in the market for change. We regularly speak with people who aren’t looking for their next job. They’re simply keeping their hand in the game and are often our most interesting passive candidates. 

Selecting a recruiter who is just as happy speaking to you when you’re not interested in one of their open positions is key. A recruiter who only has time for you if they can potentially place you won’t be a good long-term sounding board.

For many people the worst case scenario won’t happen, but the sense of security provided by having already thought things through at a non-stressful point in time is a very valuable asset. Sometimes being a passive candidate who’s prepared for the worst can pay off in unexpected ways!