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Writing a compelling cybersecurity resume

Writing a compelling cybersecurity resume

There are more than 400,000 open positions in cybersecurity right now, according to Cyberseek. Even though employers are actively seeking people with cybersecurity skills, you'll still need a resume that stands out to land a job — and we'll show you how to create one.

Types of resumes

Most resumes are chronological, meaning you'd list your work history in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent position and working your way backward. It's a good option if you have a strong work history that relates to the cybersecurity position you're applying for.

But what if you're new to the field or a career changer? You could try a functional resume, which highlights your skills rather than your work history. In a functional resume, you'd list your skills and abilities, followed by specific examples.

For example, you might have the heading of "Leadership," and then follow it with examples of how you've shown leadership in your academic and work history, even if it's not directly related to cybersecurity. Here's an example:

Leadership
Led the team at XYZ retail to the highest sales in the district for three consecutive quarters
Increased donations by 11% while serving on the board of directors for the ABC organization
Founded an organization to serve the homeless in Los Angeles

Another option is a combination resume. With this option, you'd include a section highlighting your skills, followed by a condensed version of your work history. Many recruiters prefer to see your work history, so a combination resume might be the best option for career changers and those new to cybersecurity.

What to include on your resume

All resume types start with your contact information, including your name, address, phone number, and email address. Here's what you'll include on the rest of your resume.

Summary or objective

This is a short statement that sums up who you are and what you're looking for. You'll want to tailor your summary statement (and the rest of your resume) to target the specific position you're applying for. For example:

Motivated Cybersecurity Analyst with a track record of leadership seeks to improve the security stance of Acme Systems.

If you have experience in the field, note that in your summary.

Education and certifications

Include your education, including courses you've taken independently (like ours). Include any formal education you have beyond high school. If you have cybersecurity certifications, be sure to include those as well.

Experience and skills section

With all types of resumes, you should include a section that highlights your technical skills. If you're using a chronological resume, you can just list them. With a functional or combination resume, you'll want to include examples of what you accomplished with those skills.

Technical skills

Also known as hard skills, technical skills are quantifiable, specific, and teachable. Technical skills to include on a cybersecurity resume vary depending on your specific skill set and the position you're applying for but generally include:

  • Endpoint security
  • Data security
  • Network security
  • Identity management
  • Application security
  • Cloud security
  • Penetration testing
  • Data analysis
  • Threat knowledge
  • Incident handling and response
  • Compliance and auditing
  • Cryptography
  • Automation

You should also include the programming languages you know, such as:

These are also skills to consider learning or brushing up on if you don't already have a background in them.

Soft skills

Soft skills are harder to teach, but they're just as important as technical skills. They're harder to quantify, and if you're new to cybersecurity, they're skills you want to emphasize because they're transferable.

Consider including skills like:

  • Problem-solving
  • Persistence
  • Attention to detail
  • Adaptability
  • Desire to learn
  • Agility
  • Written communication skills
  • Collaboration
  • Determination

If you're using a chronological resume, you'll want to emphasize these skills when you explain your work experience. For example, if you worked in retail management, you could discuss a problem that you solved and how you used attention to detail to solve it.

If you're using a functional or combination resume, you'll want to provide examples of how you used these skills in your "Skills" section.

Keywords

It's essential to match your technical and soft skills to those listed in the job posting. In most cases, resumes are screened by automated systems before they reach hiring managers. These programs are looking for specific keywords. You'll need to update and adjust your resume for each position, so it includes them.

Projects and awards

In the last section, discuss any relevant projects you've completed or awards you've won. This will help illustrate both your proficiency with your skills and knowledge of the field.

Getting your cybersecurity resume ready

Cybersecurity is a complex industry with many career paths you can take. We can help you start on the path, learn or brush up on specific skills, and prepare you to succeed in your interviews.

If you're just starting out, consider our beginner-friendly Introduction to Cybersecurity course. It covers:

  • The history of cybersecurity
  • Cyberthreats
  • Cryptography, authentication, and authorization
  • Network security
  • Device security

If you're looking for something more advanced, consider intermediate courses like User Authentication & Authorization in Express. In this course, you'll learn the differences between authentication, authorization, and encryption and when to use each option. You'll also have the chance to complete a password authentication project (which you can include on your resume). The prerequisites for this course are Learn Node.js and Learn Express.

One of the more daunting aspects of finding a cybersecurity position is the technical interview. We can help you get ready with Skill Paths like Pass the Technical Interview with Python and Data Analyst Interview Preparation.

Cybersecurity is a rewarding career that's constantly evolving, and we're ready to help you find the perfect job.

Get more practice, more projects, and more guidance.

Writing a compelling cybersecurity resume
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