Strategic Purpose, Valuable During Job Prospecting

By Francisco Mateo

I have to run like a fugitive to save the life I live

I’m gonna be Iron like a Lion in Zion – Bob Marley


While searching for security job opportunities I started thinking about how I as a security practitioner have set up security master plans and have been responsible for carrying out a strategic security vision in the past. Now I’m sitting on the sidelines waiting my chance to jump back into the labor pool. Well the more I think about both experiences the more I see similarities between the way I should strategically think/act.

There is no denying that we’re living through epochal times. The barren job landscape is not a gross spike resulting from the prevalent economic turmoil, but the new normal.

Where as creating a security master plan required that I conduct assessment of threat vulnerabilities and set priorities for implementing countermeasures; now that I’m security job prospecting I must acquire knowledge of market conditions and prioritize which leads I dedicate valuable time to. During my stay within a Security department I spent a great deal of time monitoring situations all over the world that might develop into risks for my client. I had the dual role of developing strategies to prevent and responding to security threats (fraud, theft, hijackings, labor disputes, workplace violence, extortion, counterfeit, demonstrations, political unrest, crisis). I gathered, collated, analyzed and disseminated information, for the aforementioned purpose. Well, searching for good job opportunities during these times is no different.  I know I’m preaching to the choir, but indulge my eccentricities here (in the hope they don’t disappoint), for the competition has gotten so fierce that not only must I deploy speed and agility in gathering information about a potential employers but my output must be delivered in a timely, relevant and concise manner. And that is only if I don’t get crowded out by the resume inbox stuffing threat. Beating the odds requires real focus, dexterity and having the right network of contacts to tap for information.

Sometimes you’re engaged by your client to fine solutions to mission critical problems for which you don’t have much experience. In my case it was a critical investigation that required data forensics on a suspected compromised company laptop. I knew enough not to jeopardize potential evidence with haphazard attempts to deliver results, so I hired a security consultant with the right expertise to deliver the goods. The same dynamics are play during the job hunt. I sometimes kid myself by thinking that I can research the job opportunities around the world, but logically unconventional times call for unconventional wisdom. Opportunities are few and time is of the essence; to gain favorable odds I tapped security recruiters to whip my candidacy into shape and do my bidding with organizations all over the world.

But there are differences between the two statuses as I’ve identified during the last few months. I’ve been trained to be protective over the amount of information that is shared outside the organization’s matrix.  As an employed practitioner I would not only encourage my internal clients to embrace information protection at all levels of the operation, I’d try to lead by example. The end result is that to the world outside the organization I could appear reclusive and excessively secretive. Now as an independent practitioner seeking opportunities my world is upside down. Unless I gain positive exposure through different mediums my effectiveness and credibility dwindles. Such is the nature of the beast.

One more thing I believe is part of the underlying foundation shaping our current status whether you’re gainfully employed or on the hunt for the next great opportunity. I like to call it creative destruction since most companies, if not all; undermine their best internal defenses by nickel and dimming the very same units that can strategically protect them (shared services) against fraud, asset and reputation loss. They do this in the name of greater financial efficiencies, while being fully conscious that what their doing is simply rolling the dice. In the end what they seek is fool’s gold.

Here is to all the emerging talent out there; a happy job hunting season for all my colleagues.  Stay tough like iron, fierce as a lion and you may, in due time, find Zion.


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