December 22, 2010, 1:49 PM — The current challenges in today's job market didn't stop Phillip Mahan from bouncing back quickly after a setback. Mahan was laid off from his position as manager of information security and risk management at Unisource Worldwide in February. By April he was working again as the business information security officer with ING. There is a reason why he wasn't on the job hunt for very long: He is fanatical about his resume and his career.
"I'm a little unusual in that I update my resume weekly—even when I'm happy," said Mahan. "I use my resume as a measuring stick as to how my career is going. I look at it and say 'Is there anything interesting I have done this week that is more interesting than what I have on my current resume?'"
See a sample security leader resume annotated by a CSO and a recruiter: Sharpen up your security resume
And apparently, his strategy works. Mahan says he is often asked by friends and colleagues to review their resumes and suggest changes so he has seen what works, and what ends up in the trash. He and two security recruiters share their thoughts on what to include on your resume for the best shot at getting to the top of the pile of potential candidates.
1. Be a business person first, a security pro second
The most important thing for a job-seeking security professional to recognize today is that security needs to be seen as an enabler, not the department of 'no.' So it's crucial that your resume reflect that mindset. Mahan, for example, was responsible for the security awareness program at a previous organization, a major corporation, according to him. After an awareness campaign was rolled out under his leadership, the company saw a 60% decrease in security incidents. It is one of several accomplishments highlighted on his resume.
"I can't claim that success all to myself because we don't work in a vacuum," he said "But the point is I can quantify items I have done with business value. A resume really has to say: These are the things I'm good at and these are the ways I've impacted past employers in a positive way."
Jeff Snyder, a security recruiter and president of SecurityRecruiter.com and J.A. Snyder & Associates, says resumes like Mahan's are the ones that get attention in a sea of security job seekers.