So, here we are: 2010 is here already! Several good thoughts and hopes of a better future flooded our minds during these past couple of days, so now it’s time to kick off and make all our wishes to realize. For many of us, 2010 renovates the perspective of finding a job if unemployed, or a better job in case you strive for different horizons. Regardless of what drives you, finding a new job sounds like a daunting task if you’re not prepared. So what about having a little help to give you the edge and make the hunting a bit easier?
Below I share a bit of my personal experience (and also of my close colleagues) that should help you put together your personal strategy to land a job. So get yourself ready, leave your comfort zone and let’s make our career resolutions come true!
1 – Leave your comfort zone
Economic downturn, unemployment numbers sky-rocketing, and so much other bad news have hit us during 2009. Popular advice is: “If you have a job, stick with it until the crisis is over”. Sure, this is definitely reasonable, but as the old motto says: With crisis comes opportunity”. Take advantage of the opportunity, leave your comfort zone!
Numbers in the past couple of quarters are signaling a recovery of the economy worldwide, and 2010 promises to be the ideal time to find a better job. As any other change in our life, this action might require a lot of effort and compromise, especially if you find yourself in a very “comfortable zone”. The first question to ask yourself: Am I happy with my job? If your answer is anything but a resounding yes, it’s time to open up your eyes and ears for the market. In case you decide it’s time for a change in your life, it’s time to create a plan of action for 2010.
2 – Create a plan, and stick to it
If you are reading this tip, it means that you’ve decided that something needs to be changed in your life, work wise. First thing first, if you you’re not the sole decision maker in your house (meaning you have a family to care for), the first step to be taken is to get their buy in. You won’t get anywhere if your dear ones do not share your enthusiasm for a personal decision such as changing jobs. Once they understand your position and push you forward, discuss with them the possibilities and try to picture where you all want to be by the end of this year.
The plan of choice can mean a simple departmental change, or beginning a whole new life in a foreign country. In case you decide to move to a new position at work, it might involve building a better relationship with your potential new manager, get acquainted with the work to be done, and so on. In case you decide to move abroad, the process can be definitely painstakingly but as we risk managers know, the bigger the risk , the higher the profit (or loss, in case you fail to prepare a plan B).
Moving abroad might require you to capitalize yourself, apply for visas (can be an extremely long process), a previous psychological preparedness, notifying your kid’s school, etc. Hence, the recommendation is to write down what your mission is (in my case in particular, my plan for 2009 was to relocate to Australia). After that, break the plan down in smaller, manageable parts and, where possible, distribute some tasks among your family members so they all feel responsible and also rewarded once the plan turns out as a success!
3 – Maximize your network
How many times have you heard of “It’s not WHAT you know, but WHO you know.”? Believe me, it works (personal experience included!). So why not use the so called media networking to leverage your career?
Taking this blog as an example, everything started when I searched for a group on Infosec Professionals to join at LinkedIn. That was September 2008, when the crisis was at its peak, and reading through the groups I noticed countless talented Infosec Professionals looking for a new position after being retrenched. That’s when I was struck by an idea: creating a group that would bring Infosec Professionals and recruiters together, promoting their interaction and bringing both ends together.
Today, just a year later, the group counts with more than 3000 members, several topics are discussed on a daily basics and my number of connections grew from around 100 to 500+ (I’m not an open networker, by the way).
In my case, 200 of those 500 are RECRUITERS. Needless to say, I usually get to know about a position being opened BEFORE anyone else out there. Luckily for you, most of the positions I come through end up in this blog, so you can also benefit from it.
My modus operandi:
Facebook – friends and leisure, with a page about the blog.
LinkedIn – Business
Twitter – Business
Google Wave – going through the learning curve, I’m still not decided what to do with it
The underlying tip is: be proactive – search for like-minded people – expose your knowledge. Surround yourself with people who share a common interest.
4 – Invest in your career
Before anything else, allow me to open this advice with a very important statement: CISSP IS HARD. CISSP IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE. Before I took the CISSP exam around 4 years ago, I was one of the guys who would bow when meeting a CISSP, until I achieved it myself. The general perception is: everyone that takes the exam comes back home 99.9% sure they FAILED. So did I. And so did every friend of mine after the exam, and ALL OF THEM, MYSELF INCLUDED, PASSED.
That said, my personal recommendation is: Go for CISSP or any other certification/graduation in your area deemed hard. For example, you can go for a Masters degree in Information Technology. Just don’t make the matter bigger than it actually is.
Generally speaking, it’s quite likely that your company has cut the training budget this year, but that doesn’t mean that you should be at home, getting rusty and feeling incapable of improving your knowledge. There are many other forms of investing on your career other than attending a training sponsored by your boss (this certainly falls into the comfort zone we mentioned earlier on). Read a book, talk to your peers and other interesting people or put a small lab together at home, but the word is: DO NOT WAIT. Every step taken forward means a step closer to your objective. Take Action!
PS: For those convinced to write about Infosec/RM/Compliance Jobs/Career, I’m more than open to publish your article here.
5 – Consider becoming an expatriate
I would dare saying that the world nowadays is more accessible than ever if you want to move away from your old life and start from the scratch, perhaps in a paradisiacal country (very subjective concept ) . Infosec professionals are a sought after species, and if you are good at what you do, you’ll certainly find a job abroad. This doesn’t mean that you should start sending out your CV to companies in Tahiti, Bahamas, UK, or Brazil. As mentioned before, PLAN.
In my case, I’m an expat moving from Brazil to the Czech Republic, and once again moving to Australia. But each move required months of planning, so to make my expatriate experience a pleasant one. Australia took me 1 1/2 years for the visa alone, since companies there do not hire if you don’t have the proper papers (in most cases).
But one thing is for sure, becoming an expat is not easy. You have to think about whether you speak the local language or if a drastic change of weather is a big deal for you (Finland is rated the #1 developed country, but since winters last nearly 4 months, would you want to move there?). Think it through and read more about it before making a decision!
Pages: 1 2