Tie Security Skills to Business Value

Susan Hall

We write a lot here at IT Business Edge about the need for IT pros to explain what their accomplishments are in a language business executives and others can understand-and that's especially important for your resume and in interviews.

 

This CIO.com article on resumes for security pros, however, makes a good point for anyone in IT: Be a business person first, a security pro [or other IT pro] second. The article quotes Jeff Snyder, president of SecurityRecruiter.com, saying:

We see at least 20 unsolicited security resumes a day, and most of them are really lame. We are looking for a real business-focused, value-driven resume. When the resume can show they understand their connection to the business, they are the ones that stand out and the ones that get read from top to bottom.

That advice echoes that of IT resume specialist Jennifer Hay, who advises people to start with a business problem, then talk about the action you took and the result. I wrote more about that in this post, which includes some security-related examples, and in my original post on hard-to-quantify achievements.

 

Another of the resume tips is to set yourself apart in the minds of your interviewers. According to the CIO.com article, that means making the business folks, not other security folks, your peer group. Lee Kushner, founder and CEO of recruiting firm L. J. Kushner and Associates, says a security certificate might mean something to other security pros, but you can set yourself apart by amping up your training in business or by taking on new responsibilities within the company. He says:

People have to work at branding and positioning themselves at the level they want to be seen.

Security threats are only expected to escalate in 2011, so skills in thwarting them will remain in high demand. You can find some interview questions for security pros here as well, so brush up on your storytelling skills.



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