How to Start Your Privacy Job Search
Start Your Privacy Job Search Here
You just updated your resume with your latest IAPP certification, honed your particular set of privacy skills, and are ready to start your privacy job search.
Where do you start, and how do you ensure your job search is productive?
Before reading this article, you may have just launched LinkedIn and searched for "privacy". After all, privacy is an in-demand field with substantial demand, right?
Unfortunately, finding the right privacy job this way can be difficult.
Reading this post equips you with the knowledge to navigate privacy-specific job boards, like Ethyca's and the IAPP's, and more general job boards like LinkedIn Jobs. You may even consider alternative job search tools like recruitment firms. We close this post out with some tips for avoiding the job application black hole!
However, before discussing all this, let's talk about job titles and responsibilities.
Understanding Titles and Responsibilities
Job titles and responsibilities can be extremely inconsistent across companies—while this is certainly true for other disciplines, it is very relevant to privacy.
As an old, yet new discipline in many respects, every company has a different idea of what privacy practitioners should be called, what their responsibilities should be, how much to pay them, and more.
Before jumping into your privacy job search, it's important to keep this in mind. To showcase this, let's compare two job descriptions from Twitter and Meta.
Twitter currently has an open Privacy Engineer position that requires "experience leading, engaging, and operating within the goals of partner teams, and effectively working with them to integrate privacy into their designs." In contrast, Meta's Privacy Engineer description requires "2+ years of work experience in a role coding in Python, PHP, Java, C/C++ including code maintenance and review."
Twitter is looking for someone to design and implement privacy programs. In contrast, Meta is looking for someone with hands-on software engineering skills.
Despite similar job titles, the expectations for privacy roles may vary drastically. During your job search, ensure the job you apply for matches your interests.
With this in mind, start your search on a job board or via a recruitment firm!
Finding a Privacy Job on Job Boards
One of the best places to start your job search is on a job board—no surprise here!
However, while your first inclination may be to jump on LinkedIn and search for privacy jobs, we have a few suggestions to make the best use of your time.
First, consider privacy-specific job boards like Ethyca's Privacy Engineer Job Board for engineering-focused roles, or IAPP's Career Central if you're a privacy attorney or privacy program manager.
We recommend starting with privacy-specific job boards to get an idea of the privacy roles available, without worrying about navigating thousands of opportunities on general job boards.
However, privacy-specific job boards won't have all the roles you're interested in. So next, consider more general job boards like LinkedIn Jobs. The following sections provide a few recommended job boards, their strengths and weaknesses, and our tips to make your privacy search effective.
If you're a seasoned privacy practitioner or are having problems finding the right role on a job board, consider engaging a recruitment firm to help your search!
Ethyca's Privacy Engineering Job Board
Our first privacy-specific job board comes from Ethyca, a privacy startup focused on automating data subjects' rights.
Ethyca's Privacy Engineering Job Board includes a range of engineering-focused privacy roles for privacy engineers, researchers, and analysts, as well as software engineers, engineering managers, and more.
Despite the name, Ethyca's job board includes more than just privacy engineering jobs. However, it emphasizes primarily engineering-focused jobs.
We found Ethyca's job board to be well-curated and updated regularly—it is a fantastic starting point for engineering-based privacy jobs.
IAPP's Career Central
Our second privacy-specific job board is Career Central from the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).
While there are many benefits to becoming an IAPP member, this job board is available to the public. In contrast to Ethyca's job board, which highlights more engineering-focused roles, IAPP's Career Central covers everything else including:
- Privacy Attorney, Privacy Counsel, and General Counsel
- Privacy Specialist
- Privacy Consultant
- Privacy Manager and Privacy Program Manager
- Chief Privacy Officer, and more.
While nothing prevents more technical privacy positions from being posted on Career Central, we found more privacy consulting, program management, privacy attorney, and leadership jobs here.
LinkedIn Jobs has the most privacy roles, but how do you find the right one?
If you haven't already, review understanding titles and responsibilities and get familiar with the different privacy roles on privacy-specific job boards like Ethyca's Privacy Engineering Job Board and the IAPP's Career Central.
To start, you can search LinkedIn for the specific job titles that you're interested in, e.g., privacy engineer, privacy attorney, or privacy program manager, but remember that not all jobs with the same title have the same expectations.
Searching LinkedIn this way will yield a page or two of excellent results. However, this will soon be followed by a myriad of security and compliance jobs—not ideal.
Next, consider searching LinkedIn for relevant privacy terms and frames, laws and regulations, and even privacy certifications. Your ideal privacy job may not have the exact title you expect, e.g., privacy system engineer, but it may be a great fit!
Searching for privacy certifications like the CIPP/US, CIPP/E, CIPM, CIPT, or CDSPE can show you other privacy jobs as well. Hiring managers frequently include these certifications as preferred or required qualifications for privacy roles.
Cast a wide net and get creative with your search terms! Don't miss out on great opportunities, because the job title may differ from your expectations.
When starting your privacy job search, consider engaging a recruitment firm!
Companies will often have an ongoing agreement with recruitment firms to identify and source high-quality candidates on their behalf. Recruitment firms may also receive a commission when successfully placing candidates.
It's in the recruitment firm's best interest to match the best candidates with the right opportunities—that's how they get paid.
While there are countless recruitment firms, we recommend choosing one that has departments specialized in filling privacy roles. These include, in no particular order, firms like Stott and May, Lawrence Harvey, and TRU Staffing Partners.
Choosing a recruitment firm that specializes in privacy means you won't have to explain the difference between security and privacy during your job search, or the difference between different roles, e.g., privacy engineer vs. privacy program manager, etc.
Considering engaging a recruitment firm? We have some recommendations.
We have both worked with George Ratcliffe (Stott and May), as well as Tessa Saxe (Lawrence Harvey), and easily recommend them both. George and Tessa are extremely professional and actively contribute to the wider privacy community.
Avoiding the Job Application Black Hole
Finally, we have some general tips for starting your privacy job search.
We recently talked with a recruiter at an in-demand, remote-first, technology company, let's call it DreamTech. The recruiter shared that 700+ people had already applied for a recent privacy job opportunity. In this example, applying for this job via a job board or the company's website is probably insufficient.
When applying for a job, you can often see that hundreds or thousands of people have applied for that same job—this may have even deterred you from applying. While you can apply this advice to any job search, it's especially impactful because of where privacy is at as a discipline and the overall supportive privacy community.
So how do you stand out and avoid the job application black hole? First, we recommend turning to your trusty professional network—LinkedIn.
Do you know anyone currently working at DreamTech, in a privacy role or otherwise? If so, consider asking them for a referral. While referrals don't guarantee an interview, they often ensure that an actual person considers your resume vs. being ruled out by an automated screening system.
If you're a strong fit for the role, a referral definitely helps to get an interview.
What happens if you don't have any connections at DreamTech? Don't give up! Consider searching on LinkedIn for any posts that specifically mention the roles that interest you. Hiring managers will frequently post "I'm hiring. Know anyone who might be interested?"
If you find a role that interests you, send the hiring manager a note. Try this:
Hi DreamTech Hiring Manager,
I plan to apply for the role you posted on LinkedIn through official channels. However, I wanted to reach out and express my strong interest in the role.
DreamTech is a company that I admire. I particularly appreciate its developing privacy program and its commitment to users' privacy.
I'd love to chat with you more about the role and learn more about the challenges and opportunities you're facing!
I've also attached a current resume for your consideration.
Although you may not receive a response or an interview with this method, it substantially increases the likelihood that a hiring manager reviews your resume. These personal connections can help you land an interview in a crowded applicant pool and help you stand out amongst the 700+ applicants at DreamTech.
If this method does not land you an interview for this role, it may be a great introduction to future opportunities at DreamTech. We have countless connections that have started like this and turned into long-term friendships and future job opportunities.
Most privacy practitioners are great people and want to help more people find a career in privacy. Don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help, advice, or even an interview.
Starting your privacy job search and finding the right role takes a lot of work. Remember that you are entering a field with strong demand and fantastic growth opportunities.
If this post was useful to you or you have other tips and tricks for succeeding on a privacy job search, we'd love to hear from you! Cheers.