Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Should I Apply for this Job, Part II

Last week a security resume writing client from Europe sent a question about applying for security jobs.   Here is the question he shared last week. 
Do you think a job offer requiring 7+ years or experience or 15+ years of experience should be understood literally? Do you think I can apply to a 7+ year job requirement although I'm only a 4-year security professional?

If you wish to read last week’s entire blog article, you’ll find it here:  Cyber Security Job Candidate Question: Should I Apply For This Job?

Part II to last week’s blog comes from a situation that crossed my desk last week.  I recruited an Application Security Architect for a position I’m working on in Phoenix, AZ.  The candidate sent the resume he had prepared long before I made his phone ring. 
The Application Security Resume that was presented to me was okay.  However, my client requires 8+ years of overall work experience following a college degree in order to qualify for the Security Architect salary level.  The candidate’s resume displayed somewhere between 6 and 7 years of professional work experience and that wasn’t go to be enough experience.

I went ahead and scheduled an interview to get to know the candidate because it isn’t every day that I’m able to locate an application security professional who has an extensive Java or .NET development background sitting underneath their OWASP application security experience. 
At some point in the interview, after I’d gained a strong understanding of the candidate’s background, I had a gut feeling that he might have IT experience above and beyond the 6+ years of experience displayed following his Master’s degree program. 

Sure enough, the candidate possessed another 5 years of Java development experience that occurred before he chose to go back to graduate school.  Now, his overall experience added up to 13 years in IT and 5+ years in application security, just what my client asked me to deliver.
The Lesson

As a SecurityRecruiter, I see every kind of resume you can imagine.  Some formats are more effective than others.  On many occasions, after receiving a resume, I’ve gotten on the phone with the resume owner and discovered that they possess more professional work experience than what I see on a resume.

In many cases, resume owners have been advised to leave off older experience.  I strongly suggest that you include older experience on your resume to show your overall years of professional contribution  Sometimes, an HR person will be counting the years of experience they see on a resume in order to check a box before either passing a resume on to a hiring manager or moving the resume on to the rejection pile.
The Moral of This Story

If I had approached the application security candidate’s resume with a checkbox mindset (which I don’t) that many resume recipients do possess, I would have counted the number of years of experience the candidate displayed in their resume and moved on to the next person.

By doing a little extra work, I convinced the candidate to add his older Java development experience to his resume and the end result is an interview process beginning later this week with my client.

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