Preparing Your LinkedIn for a Cybersecurity Career
What we’ll be learning
When used properly, LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for job seekers. The trick is knowing how to make the most out of the resources and tools that LinkedIn offers so that your profile can stand out and showcase your brand.
Your LinkedIn profile consists of many different sections — some more important than others. That being said, there are ways to make each section stand out. We will explore how to build your brand by focusing on the must-haves, the should-haves, and the nice-to-haves parts of your profile. Then, we will discuss the best ways to grow your professional network through LinkedIn.
To start, include a professional picture of yourself. Aim to have your face filling up most of the space, and crop the picture from your shoulders to just above the top of your head.
The About section is a good place for you to talk about your experience, skills, and interests.
Tip: Do NOT turn this section into a long, rambling summary of everything you have ever done.
Instead, be clear and concise! You might want to start by describing who you are as a professional before delving into your actual experience. For example:
“A proactive cybersecurity professional with a focus and background in threat intelligence and incident response.”
From there, you can talk about your current experience, key skills, and accomplishments. Keep this section between 3-5 sentences total. No one wants to read a dissertation on your LinkedIn page!
The next essential part of your profile is the Experience section. You will want to list all your experiences in chronological order (starting from the most recent). Be sure to include:
- Company name
- Dates of employment
The description section, though optional, is something you should definitely fill out. Keep it brief (2 to 3 sentences for each job will suffice), and describe your main responsibilities and key accomplishments.
Above is an example showing what a job experience entry should look like. Again, try to provide some details about your role but don’t be overly wordy.
Finally, Education is also a must-have part of your profile. Here, the most important fields to include are:
- Field of study
- Start and end dates
Tip: If you have completed any non-degree, professional graduate certification programs (especially those related to cybersecurity), you should include them here!
These are the parts of your LinkedIn profile that may not be essential but are nonetheless good to have.
Licenses and certifications can be a differentiator, so be sure to include any that are relevant to the role that you are applying for. Below are a few example certifications:
- CISSP (Certified Information Security Systems Professional)
- GCIH (GIAC Certified Incident Handler)
- GCFE (GIAC Certified Forensic Examiner)
- GCFA (GIAC Forensic Analyst)
Above is an example of a relevant certification listed under the Licenses & certifications section.
Keep in mind that this section doesn’t have to be reserved strictly for certifications. You can also include any relevant credentials you may have obtained through work or another agency.
Lastly, we come to the parts of the LinkedIn profile that, while certainly not essential, can perhaps give you a leg up on the competition if you have them completed.
Professional recommendations are always valuable — the key here is professional. If you can obtain a recommendation from a current or former manager or supervisor who will speak highly of you, then by all means you should include that. You don’t need multiple recommendations — even one can serve as a powerful differentiator by having another person validate your competency.
The Skills field is another area that can validate your abilities by getting endorsements from colleagues. You can add key cybersecurity skills and then have colleagues endorse you for that skill. Something as little as this can help you stand out and even catch the eyes of recruiters.
Above is an example of a skills section. This should be customized to fit your particular skills, and whenever possible, always try to get endorsements!
Grow your network/build your brand
Now that you’ve got your profile in good working order, it’s time to start unlocking the power of LinkedIn. Whether it’s seeking new connections in the industry or showcasing your profile to recruiters, LinkedIn can be a powerful tool in this regard.
Obviously, one of the best and fastest ways to grow your network is by connecting with past and present colleagues. Even if you are short on work experience, there are still ways to connect with other like-minded professionals. Explore all the different filters and search for cybersecurity-related events, groups, posts, courses, and schools. Industry events and groups are often great starting points to network with others in the field. Having certain commonalities such as school, courses and events attended is often a great way to break the ice with someone you might not have known previously on LinkedIn. And remember, the more you network, the more you are building your brand, which in turn, will lead to more connections and more opportunities!!
In this article, we have explored some of the essential components to include in your LinkedIn profile, as well as some of the other fields that can help make your profile stand out. It’s important to remember that your LinkedIn profile should not be static. Rather, it should constantly grow and evolve as you progress in your cybersecurity career. Continue to look for new ways to spruce up and add value to your profile through skills endorsements, recommendations, a catchy summary, certifications, interests, and so much more!