The current demand for cybersecurity experts is high, more than ever before. Besides, this doesn’t seem to level up, with the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting that the field will grow by 32% over the next few years. Platforms focusing on cybersecurity talent gaps also estimate more than 500,000 open cybersecurity-related positions globally.
With these figures, you should ace your cybersecurity resume writing to start your career. Your resume should capture all the essential details that hiring managers and recruiters need. Below is a guide to help you create an excellent cybersecurity resume.
1. Write a Summary Instead of an Objective
Cybersecurity enthusiasts from other careers can quickly learn cybersecurity and switch careers. However, to get employed, they should create an objective resume covering all sectors in their employment history. On the other hand, if you are not new to cybersecurity, you should create a resume based on your professional summary and areas of expertise.
Start by describing your experience using titles close to the advertised job description as much as possible. When doing this, most people describe their experience excessively, in a way that they appear more qualified for the position. Therefore, highlight your job experience in a way that closely aligns with the vacant job description.
2. Bulk Up on Measurable Achievements
Next on your resume should be a bullet list of your previous career achievements, especially measurable undertakings. This section is important as it provides an opportunity to expand on your skills. Besides, you should highlight any previous volunteer engagements and independent projects previously undertaken.
3. Brag on Skills and Certifications
Like any other application, your resume should focus on cybersecurity-related skills, accomplishments, and certifications. Highlight your career achievements with measurable accomplishments just after the professional summary section in your resume. To show your previous experiences, outline any technical proficiencies, languages, networks, and cybersecurity tools you have used or know how to use.
If the job description requires that you provide security clearance, include them as part of the certifications. For clarity, it is best if you use bullet points in this section.
4. Show a Love of Learning through Continuing Education
Cybersecurity is generally a dynamic field. Coupled with the continuously evolving technology, you should demonstrate your love for continuous learning in your resume. You can pass across this message to hiring managers by including your previous participation in career achievements and conferences.
Showing that you are ready to learn is important, especially if you need to learn additional skills and responsibilities crucial to the job. Besides conferences and career achievements, demonstrate situations that you acquired new skills on short notice or pursued your education when writing your work experience. Your resume should generally tell a story of your growth in the face of changing workplace environment.
5. Build a Cover Letter
An excellently written cover letter should accompany your resume all the time. Even when not required by the hiring managers, you should craft a cover letter with specific keywords that suit the job description. Most recruiters currently use an Applicant Tracking System, which filters through thousands of resumes to pick the most suitable resumes. The most suitable resumes are those that use relevant keywords on the job listing. This is why using these keywords in your resume is overly important.
6. Ditch Redundant Mentions of Responsibilities and Skills
Most people think that their previous positions can help them land new opportunities with ease. While this might be true, you should avoid emphasizing previous job skills and responsibilities when crafting your cybersecurity resume. Writing about these skills and responsibilities in excess might give hiring managers the notion that you didn’t progress from your initial position. Therefore, while it is good to indicate that you have these skills, don’t go overboard.
7. Don’t Assume the Resume Reader Understands Cybersecurity Like You Do
As mentioned, most hiring managers or recruiters currently use applicant tracking systems to filter all received resumes. Once applications pass through the system, humans then review those that filter through. That said, most applicant tracking systems don’t understand cybersecurity-related jargon and acronyms. Therefore, to increase the chances of your resume filtering through, minimize the use of technical jargon and spell out any used acronyms.
You shouldn’t assume that the person reading your resume understands cybersecurity terms as you do. Explain all technical details to ensure that even recruiters without cybersecurity backgrounds can understand. This makes it easy for members of the hiring team to understand your value.
8. Low on Experience? Highlight Soft Skills
If you are a recent graduate with minimal experience, desist from writing your resume in chronological order. Chronologically structured resumes make it easy to show your inexperience. Therefore, use an alternative approach that prioritizes your education. This should be followed by a skills section combining classroom-acquired skills and knowledge.
Similarly, if you want to leverage skills from another field as you enter the cybersecurity world, craft your resume with a professional objective. This provides an opportunity to highlight how you will use the already gained skills in your new role. Rather than focusing on your work history, prioritize parallel professional competencies.
Cybersecurity is a skills-driven sector. Therefore, a functional resume has high regard than a chronological resume. However, if you have inadequacies in your experience, level it up by highlighting your soft skills. Apart from the technical aspects and certifications, highlight your soft skills, such as good communication, problem-solving, teamwork, customer service, and leadership skills, to differentiate you from entry-level applicants.
9. High on Experience? Lead with Your Technical Skills
Experience is an important factor if you need to bag a senior role in cybersecurity. Unlike other sectors, cybersecurity is a field that requires technical accomplishments. Therefore, while it is tempting to focus on management and business expertise when applying for senior roles, you should highlight technical skills and certifications in your cybersecurity resume.
You can list hard technical skills gained from your previous position in the job descriptions category or create a new category. This should include knowledge in software platforms, cybersecurity network, programming, data and security systems, and cryptography. Try to figure out the most important details that your potential employer is looking for when doing this. You should then highlight specific elements in your work experience aligning with these requirements.
10. Use Bullet Points, Not Paragraphs
Most people often ask if they should use paragraphs or bullet points on their resume. It is good to present your cybersecurity resume in an easily readable format. Hiring managers spend very few seconds skimming through your resume. Therefore, avoid using lengthy paragraphs but instead opt for bullet lists that highlight skills and work experience concisely to make it easy to read and digest.
Resumes written in paragraphs are text-heavy. Therefore, it becomes difficult to capture the attention of recruiters. Most hiring managers will also be quick to dismiss resumes that are difficult to read. Note that if you have bulk relevant and useful information, you can combine both bullets and paragraphs. You can use a small three-sentence paragraph then bullet points.
Your cybersecurity resume should represent your best version and updated work experience. It should capture in detail a summary of your work experience, accomplishments, and qualifications that make you a perfect candidate for the vacant cybersecurity position.
Apart from the tips above, it is worth noting that you shouldn’t necessarily indicate your salary expectations. However, if required, especially for online applications with a salary section, you might address it. Lastly, don’t forget to proofread your resume. Obvious grammatical errors might communicate to hiring managers that you lack attention to detail.
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