Friday, February 20, 2015

How Does a Security Consultant Move to a Corporate Role?


"Thanks for today's blog post on the value and pitfalls of time spent in consulting! As a follow-up topic, would you consider writing a blog post on HOW to pivot from consulting to corporate in the most successful manner? That is, what should a consultant be doing before / during / after a move to corporate to help him or her land a great corporate position and succeed in that role?"

Since I know the person who contributed this question, I'll answer the question to address his situation.  Please understand that the answer to this question will depend on who is asking the question and precisely what kind of career background they bring to the table.

If a person's intention is to work in consulting for a few years in order to build up experience to enhance a future move into a corporate environment, here are a few suggestions.

  • Determine where your favorite consulting experience came from and consider targeting companies that operate in a similar industry space.  Employers (not always) frequently prefer to hire candidates who come out of industries that are similar to their industry.  Use this similar industry experience as a leveraging point with a prospective corporate employer.
  • While you are working as a consultant, strategically build your Personal Brand to ensure that the messages you have in the marketplace that represent you are consistent.  This could include your Resume, LinkedIn, Personal Website / Blog, Public Speaking Engagements, etc.
  • Network with people in the corporate environment every chance you get while you are a consultant.  Make time to connect with your local ISSA, ISC2, ISACA, etc. to meet people who work in corporate environments.  Find out from these people when it doesn't matter to you what it is like to work at their company.
  • Build your personal network to include people you might want to with and for in the future.  Make it a point to occasionally keep in touch with these people so your name is fresh on their mind when you're ready to make your move.
  • Be patient when you step into your first corporate role.  Just like when a law enforcement, FBI, Secret Service, CIA, DEA, ATF, EPA, etc. professional steps out of their first career and enters the corporate realm, there will be a learning curve for you if you have never worked in a corporate environment as a full-time employee in the past. You certainly can master this learning curve but know that there is a learning curve.  In other words, you might not step into your new corporate position as a CISO or CSO. You have to invest some amount of time learning your new employer's business, culture, etc.
  • Understand that as information security careers evolve, employers are looking for more than just technical security skills.  Prepare yourself for your corporate career by learning about business. For some, this might mean earning an MBA.  Employers are expecting security leaders of the present and the future to be more than technologists. Your future corporate employer will appreciate you the more you can demonstrate an understanding of business and the ability to build security, risk, compliance and privacy solutions that add value to their business.
  • Do what you have to do in order to improve your Emotional Intelligence.  Become a security leader that others want to work with and for.  Don't suffer from the "Smartest Person in the Room Syndrome".  Listen to others, be approachable, have empathy, be humble and you'll be magnetic to equally intelligent people.  You can't do anything great by yourself. You need a great team.

Jeff Snyder's, Security Career Coach, Security Leadership Coach, Security Recruiter Blog, 719.686.880's Security Recruiter Blog