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I remember simpler times. One was the very early days of the resume aggregator and publisher LinkedIn. When I first set up my page, I thought it a clever option of making your resume and CV available to anyone who may be interested. Just think, you could just send someone over there instead of emailing resumes you had to constantly update. You could also explore career news from your friends and colleagues as well as seek out potential new employers and employees. It was truly a win-win for all involved. Courtesy of BigStock.com — Copyright: nopparat.k
When I was getting started, the rules were pretty clear: it was a place to post your standard resume/CV. You were defined by your current employer and job title. That was followed by a list of previous jobs you held followed by a list of your academic achievements which usually meant the one or two degrees you held. But things have changed dramatically. Take my friend Chuck.
The Story of Chuck
Back when Chuck Jones (in case you need to be told, it’s a fictitious moniker) set up his profile, he was listed thus:
Blappo Corporation (also a fictitious name).
Then he listed previous security jobs followed by citations for both bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Simple. Straightforward. Traditional. Yesterday, I checked Chuck’s LinkedIn profile to see this:
Chuck Jones, BS, MS, CISM, PMP, Sec+, CDPSE, CCSK, CEH, ISOs…
Security Thought Leader, Keynote Speaker, Author, Global Evangelist, and Security Advocate
Chuck is a global thought leader providing strategic guidance and security insights to Fortune 1000 companies across multiple disciplines. Chuck is an award-winning serial entrepreneur and technology visionary. He is a sought-after keynote speaker at international conferences and symposia.
I reached out to see what amazing changes had launched his career into the stratosphere. He must be making a major bank!
“Morning, Chuck,” I said as I rang him up, “I was stunned by all the exciting changes in your career. You are undoubtedly proud of these achievements. Are you consulting nowadays? Have you bought a yacht?”
“Not really,” he replied, “I am still the security manager for Blappo Corporation, and we are listed on the Fortune 1000 with offices in the U.S. and Canada. They have promoted me to a senior manager and I have a new cubicle two floors higher than the last one. It even faces a window.”
“And you’re now an international keynote speaker,” I said, “that’s pretty impressive. You must enjoy at that first-class air travel and seeing exotic places.”
“Yes, I was the kickoff speaker at our sales conference in Ottawa last year talking about the importance of security at Blappo. They thanked me with a fleece vest with our corporate logo on it.”
“One can always use a good fleece vest. Do you have a side gig at a start-up? I saw you were now an entrepreneur.” I enquired.
“Yeah, my wife and I make knit scarves and gloves on a 19th-century loom that we sell on Etsy. Our town recognized us as an important local craft industry with a plaque at one of our town meetings.”
“Well, that visionary thing….”
“Yup – I just bought a 3-D printer to make Star Wars figures….”
“What do you do as an evangelist? I didn’t think you were overtly religious.”
“Well, about that, I talk up our profession whenever I am asked what I do,” said Chuck.
After a few more minutes of catching up, we rang off. I was left to muse about Simpler Times. The new world of work and the importance of self-branding have created a market for creative writing. Other changes are impacting traditional educational processes.
Just a couple of decades ago, career aspirants pursued college degrees seeking career advancement. However, these diplomas have been rapidly eclipsed if not replaced by technical certifications as documented proof of academic achievement. Certifications make sense in many career environments and the cabal of colleges and universities have taken notice.
In one interesting example with which I am quite familiar, an online college advertises that it prepares students for a professional certification and even requires successful completion of the certification exam to provide a final grade for their students. It’s an odd mix where the academic institution functions as a conduit for technical career certification. If the degree doesn’t line you up for a job, the cert will.
If you are looking to beef up your LinkedIn profile the way Chuck did, look for those documented certifications and tone down the creative writing. Many academic advancements have been a boon to the security industry, but many have created distractions. Hopefully, we can sort the wheat from the chaff and look forward to simpler times.
About the author: John McCumber is a security and risk professional, and author of “Assessing and Managing Security Risk in IT Systems: A Structured Methodology,” from Auerbach Publications. If you have a comment or question for him, e-mail Cool_as_McCumber@cygnusb2b.com.