Top 10 tips to showcase your abilities

The profile of a risk manager is inherently complex. It is important to strike the right balance between credentials and qualifications while proving you have the personality to work within a new team. In the current economic climate, many organisations are placing candidates under increasing scrutiny to ensure they invest in the right people. So, it is more important than ever for a risk manager to demonstrate a range of skills tailored to the role they are applying for.

Ultimately, risk managers need to prove they are the right person to take on the considerable responsibility of protecting sensitive data within an organisation that may have been rendered vulnerable by the financial climate. The following top ten tips outline the key areas risk managers should address to raise their profile, and demonstrate why they deserve the job.

1. Prepare the Perfect CV

It is unlikely you will get your foot in the door of a large company without a good CV. As such, it is essential to include information such as targets and achievement data, while demonstrating a broad skill set to showcase a high level of flexibility. Qualifications that allow the company movement when allocating resource for projects are particularly attractive.

2. Showcase your Skill Set

These days, organisations are most interested in dual governance, risk and compliance (GRC) and technical profiles. Give yourself an holistic a profile as possible based on your experience, and demonstrate your involvement in winning and delivering projects. In addition, combinations of commercial and technical skills are very desirable so don’t sell yourself short in terms of what business development work you’ve been involved in. For technical roles, a ‘skills capture box’ listing protocols and products you’ve worked with is invaluable.

3. Promote your Project Work

It is imperative for risk management candidates to illustrate projects they have worked on. Look to address key questions within your CV, such as: ‘What was required?’, ‘How was it delivered?’ and ‘What was the subsequent outcome?’ to give prospective employers insight into your experience and capabilities. Using words like ‘I’, rather than ‘we’ or ‘the team’ will help give a better insight into the areas you specifically owned.

4. Look Beyond your Qualifications

It is increasingly important that employers feel comfortable they are hiring the right person for the job. Candidates’ career aspirations, abilities and drive should be closely matched to a company’s own culture and divisional objectives. While there are some exceptions, such as roles that require specific auditing qualifications, drive, ability to persuade and a clear illustration of career values and aspirations are overriding factors that can help secure a job.

5. Communication is Key

While drive and aspiration are important, these qualities will be overlooked if you can’t communicate effectively. Not all companies want high-flying, highly driven employees, so express yourself by thinking carefully about what you want to do, what you enjoy doing and how you will achieve it. This is also a good opportunity to showcase your ability to communicate with others in the business. Many risk managers focus heavily on the technical detail of security problems, however communicating and tailoring the message to your audience, be that the business or other technical colleagues will ensure your message gets across.

6. Be Ready to Adapt

Companies have different cultures and therefore operate in different ways. With the reduction in business barriers and increased importance of the individual, organisations have become more collaborative with their staff. This will directly impact risk managers and the way they operate. No longer the enforcer of rules to mitigate risk, they now need to be well versed in the art of persuasion to show a softer edge that promotes education, often across language barriers.

7. Fight your Corner

People skills have become important both to convince the business there are serious risks evident that need mitigating, but also to stand the division’s ground on budget negotiation. This is particularly important in a recession: risk managers need to fight to maintain and use what little budget they have been allocated in the most effective way while ensuring other departments remain happy.

8. Differentiate Yourself

People who are successful at achieving their career aspirations can translate their personal values into how they conduct themselves at work, and find companies that share those values. Know your strengths, and have excellent examples of using these skills while demonstrating willing to seek support (such as training or mentoring) if required to improve. The ability to take control will differentiate a risk manager from his or her peers, and is looked upon increasingly favourably.

9. Utilise the Social Web

Never underestimate the value of social media to help you showcase your abilities. Using LinkedIn is a subtle, yet effective way of showing organisations that you are looking for a new role, and that you have the requirements needed to fill a vacancy. Don’t be afraid to update your status to reflect this – recruiters and hiring managers do notice.

10. Extracurricular Activities

Get involved in industry forums and advisory panels. They take up very little time, but look great on a CV and are an excellent talking point at the interview stage. Employers like to see that a candidate has actively worked on and experienced issues outside their own organisation, and to see how other companies deal with similar problems. It’s also a great (and free) experience, and an excellent way of networking and improving soft skills.

In what is a clearly difficult market, risk managers run the risk of projecting themselves from an entirely technical, or personality-driven perspective. Instead, it is essential for candidates to raise their profile by giving a well-rounded snapshot of their abilities in both a CV and interview situation. The key is to show enthusiasm, not desperation – and underline why you have the capability and flexibility to help an organisation tackle the difficulties brought about by a poor economic climate.