May 15, 2017

Author: Jerry Brennan

Colorful windows in an office building. Diversify Your Background to Advance Your Security Career.

Most successful security managers do not choose a single path in furtherance of their career. Intentionally choosing something different can move you forward and achieve your goals in rewarding ways.

SMR has seen a steady increase in client companies seeking security managers who can relate to their corporations on many levels. Just being a solid security practitioner is not the way to advance a career in security anymore. Rather, those with more diverse backgrounds are increasingly seen as front runners.

There is no substitution for education and experience relevant to the security functions of a position. However, hiring companies now want to put someone in place who has worked in additional areas. They believe diversity of experience brings greater depth and perception to management, and people with a broader background tend to progress in their career at a faster pace than those on a solely linear path. Security practitioners who succeed seize opportunities to take on responsibility outside their normal portfolio.

International experience is also often seen as a differentiator between candidates with similar credentials and qualities. Global companies require security management who can relate to peers in other countries and who have the skill sets to transition to positions internationally across their careers. Empathy for and understanding of other cultures are important qualities, and language skills have never been more critical. SMR has placed candidates in over 60 countries, and lack of fluency in multiple languages is often an exclusionary factor for candidates who might otherwise have been considered.

The ability to evolve as requirements change is central to survival, and this holds true for the progression of a career in security. In addition to seeking roles that encompass more responsibility, plan to diversify through other avenues. You will differentiate yourself from the competition and progress your career to higher levels.

Contact us if you’re planning to make a career move and be sure to sign up to receive SMR’s monthly newsletter. The upcoming May 2017 issue analyses the structure of good – and bad – job descriptions.