Privacy Advisor

Career Corner

May 1, 2007

How Do You Express "Value" as a Privacy Professional?

Adam Stone, CIPP

For organizations large and small, effective privacy and data security management are crucial elements to a healthy business. As all privacy practitioners know, a breakdown in privacy and security controls can damage seriously an organization's reputation with clients, employees and partners. The time and money spent by organizations faced with remediating a privacy breach has amounted to millions of dollars in legal, operational and PR expenses.

Without a doubt, effective privacy management adds value to organizations and so do the privacy professionals employed to guide the organization along the path of sound privacy practices.

Many privacy practitioners say their individual value to an organization is best expressed in money-saving terms. Often, privacy pros see themselves as an "insurance policy" against negative business events. Other privacy leaders indicate that their value also can be traced to revenue generation for firms.

Indeed, every individual in a firm is employed for a specific purpose: either as a money-saver or a money-maker (a few lucky folks get to be both - like the CEO!). Recognizing your purpose in the organization is the first step toward understanding the value that you add.

Despite the recognition of individual value, many privacy practitioners find it difficult to highlight quantitative, as well as qualitative, achievements to their career history. This becomes most apparent on a privacy practitioner's résumé/CV.

Professional achievements are defined by metrics. Without a metric, a so-called "achievement" is simply a task or a duty. True professional achievements can be directly linked to money-savings events and/or money-making events. On a résumé, numbers tell the best story!

Consider the following example:

Jane led the development and implementation of an enterprise-wide privacy awareness program. One element of the program asks each employee to take a 20-question test after viewing a privacy awareness presentation. These results are stored in a database and analyzed as "baseline" scores. As the awareness program continued over the course of a year, Jane again asked each employee to retake the same test to see if scores improved. They did! Scores improved an average of 80 percent overall.

When reviewing Jane's entry, one can easily note the quantitative metrics. A hiring manager could easily understand Jane's achievements. On a résumé/CV, Jane's achievement might read, "Led an enterprise-wide privacy awareness program that increased overall employee awareness by 80 percent over one year." One can infer, by this quantitative metric, that Jane's achievement led to a reduction in exposure (or money-savings) for the firm.

As professional recruiters, experience tells us that the most lucrative offers do not go to the candidates with the best qualifications for a position. Instead, offers are made to the individuals who are prepared to demonstrate how their background, skills, experience and (most important) achievements can bring real value to a potential employer. To insure that you are prepared to distinguish yourself, set aside some time to complete a Facts - Achievements - Value (FAV) Worksheet. The information you develop will enable you to create a résumé that excites and motivates employers to grant you an interview.

The FAV Worksheet is also a valuable tool for preparing for the interview. Having this document available will help ensure that your responses are clear, crisp and express the potential value that you can bring to the table.

To learn more about the FAV Worksheet, visit the Global Recruiters of Woodbury Web site at:

Adam Stone, CIPP, is Managing Director of Global Recruiters of Woodbury, a permanent placement recruitment firm focused on executives and professionals in privacy, data security, IT law and public policy, e-discovery and related disciplines. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .