How to Write a Resume for a Role in Cybersecurity by@lizhogan

How to Write a Resume for a Role in Cybersecurity

Employment in the cybersecurity field still needs to grow by approximately 89% worldwide and 41% in the US to fill the talent gap. How can you write a cybersecurity resume that helps the hiring managers feel confident that you are the one who can defend their tech infrastructure far better than the experts at IBM, Cisco, and McAfee put together? This article will show you how to use the right resume format for your cybersecurity resume to showcase your skills, qualifications, and accomplishments in the field related to the job you're applying for.
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Although the pandemic saw an influx of new cybersecurity talent in the industry space, it’s still nowhere enough. 

Employment in the cybersecurity field still needs to grow by approximately 89% worldwide and 41% in the US to fill the talent gap.

In this kind of playing field, all that’s barring you from getting that job in cybersecurity might just be your resume. 

How can you write a cybersecurity resume that helps the hiring managers feel confident that you are the one who can defend their tech infrastructure far better than the experts at IBM, Cisco, and McAfee put together?

This article will show you! 

Choose the Right Resume Format For You

The resume format you go with like choosing the right modeling methodology to use to access and prioritize threats to your IT assets (depending on the security needs and nature of potential threats). 

In other words, you want to select a resume format that best suits your career situation. 

If you have significant experience in cybersecurity and accomplishments in the field related to the job you're applying for, go for a chronological resume format.

This format puts the most emphasis on your previous experience.

Jobs in IT are naturally skills-intensive, so it can also make sense to go with a functional resume format.

This way, your skills will get the most visibility, especially in cases where you lack relevant experience to showcase on your resume. 

On the other hand, if you want to get the best of both worlds, go for a combination resume.

A combination resume, just as the name implies, allows you the flexibility to allocate space and prominence to both skills and experience as needed. 

Choose the resume format after thoroughly analyzing the job description and determining which aspects of your career should be leveraged the most to make you the best candidate for the position. 

Create an Impactful Cybersecurity Resume Summary

Regardless of the format, you will need a resume summary to spearhead the rest of the content on your resume. 

A resume summary is a brief overview of your career history. It contains the most important skills, qualifications, and accomplishments from your career. 

Try to keep it short and simple, using four to five sentences at most. 

Include only the skills, qualifications, and information most relevant for the position. 

As it is the element that will determine whether the hiring manager reads the rest of your resume, your resume summary should be precisely targeted to the job you are applying for.

Include the Skills That They Are Seeking

Your skills (a.k.a. core competencies) are as important as your professional summary on your cybersecurity security resume. 

While listing and describing your skills, be mindful of the required skills mentioned in the job post. 

You might have skills and expertise in all the latest tools, software, and strategies in the world of technology, but include only the ones that the company is looking for. 

Also, be mindful to utilize keywords on your resume. Use the exact words and phrases from the job description to write out your main skills and competencies. 

Without these keywords, your resume might not make it through the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).  

It might also help to be on the lookout for any soft skills mentioned in the job description and include those on your resume, as applicable.

Make Your Accomplishments Quantifiable 

Another very effective trick to make your cybersecurity resume stand out among the others is to use quantifiable accomplishments in your resume experience section and summary section. 

Maybe all of your accomplishments can’t be broken down into numbers and statistics. However, give it a shot and try to include as many quantifiable accomplishments as possible. 

Here’s an example from a cybersecurity resume sample:

Provided cyber threat management support to a large business with numerous financial centers and thousands of employees. 

Now, compare the above accomplishment statement with this one: 

Provided cyber threat management support to a $14 billion client company with 50+ financial centers and 4000+ employees.

The use of data and numbers on your resume makes your accomplishments easy to visualize for the reader. They are also easily noticed on the page. 

Add Targeted Experience 

Use of quantifiable accomplishments brings us to your resume experience section.

Here, as with the other sections on your cybersecurity resume, take notes from the job description to find out what job experience would be most suitable and relevant for the job. 

Include all of your previous roles in a reverse-chronological manner, starting with the most recent.  

However, allot more space for the specific job experience that has more relevance. 

For instance, if the job description wants a Cyber Cloud Security Manager/Architect and you held a similar position in cloud security, make this section more detailed and prominent. 

Even if the role doesn’t exactly match the target job title, find the parts of your duties and responsibilities at previous roles that included cloud services and cloud security monitoring. Make the most out of those details.  

Show Your Professional Certifications and Education 

The learning and professional development practices in the field of IT are a bit unorthodox. 

A significant portion of IT and cybersecurity professionals do not come from traditional educational backgrounds in IT. Many of them are self-taught. 

That’s why you have enough scope to showcase your online courses and other certifications in the technology space. 

There are many reputed industry certifications for cybersecurity specialists including Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). In some cases, these certifications are even seen in a better light than traditional college degrees. 

You can add the details about your certifications and online education credentials in the education section or professional development section of your resume.  

Add Additional Information That Will Make You Stand Out

In most cases, your cybersecurity resume would be a single-page document. 

If you have enough relevant information to add, you can go for up to a two-page resume. However, if you're applying for a federal cybersecurity job, you can afford to create a lengthier resume. 

Making the most out of the limited space on your resume is of utmost importance. 

If you do have enough space on your resume, adding additional information sections – such as volunteer experience, extracurricular activities, linguistic skills, and others – might be helpful.  

However, try to keep additional sections as closely related to the specific job requirements as possible. 

In the case of government jobs and federal jobs, you might also want to mention any security clearances you have. 

In conclusion, we acknowledge that creating a resume for a specialized technical field like cybersecurity is a challenge. Hopefully, the tips shared above will help you create a resume that makes the cut.  

It's also okay to reach out for professional help if you feel the need. 

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