Do’s and don’ts for writing a standout cybersecurity resume

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Seeking to apply to cybersecurity jobs? Competitors is fierce, so you will want an edge. Cybersecurity is a rapidly-growing discipline — the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics studies that info safety analysts can anticipate 33% employment development from 2020-30.

The excellent news is you could enhance your competitiveness with an efficient cybersecurity resume. However do not simply take our phrase for it. We additionally spoke to Zoë Morris and John Boyle, two consultants in recruiting and staffing, to carry you much more useful recommendation.

Learn on to learn to craft a succinct, quantitative, and thorough cybersecurity resume that can aid you stand out amongst 1000’s of candidates.

Essential: Tailor your resume to every cybersecurity job

One massive a part of making ready your job software is tailoring your resume to every position to which you apply.

Spotlight recurring key phrases and necessary abilities and obligations talked about within the job itemizing. Then, contact on them in your resume. Together with the key phrases can assist your resume rank higher when it goes by way of the applicant monitoring system.

As an example, if a list mentions penetration testing abilities, point out your expertise performing these assessments in your abilities part.

Keep in mind that many tech corporations obtain 1000’s of purposes weekly. Touchdown a job interview depends upon together with scan-able info a hiring supervisor will instantly see. Make it simple for them to see, inside seconds, that you’ve the wanted abilities.

ZDNet: What are the highest stuff you search for when studying by way of a candidate’s resume for a cybersecurity position?

John Boyle

John Boyle: As a recruiter, I typically search for a stage of customization between the candidate’s resume and the place that they are making use of to. Resumes that “converse” to the place will stand other than extra generic “as soon as measurement matches all” resumes. Because of the sheer quantity of resumes that we see each day, those which are matched in line with the necessities of the job alternative will likely be prioritized.

This may be as simple as shifting the perfect job-related bullets able abstract to the highest of the stack for quicker recognition,or including new bullets that precisely & particularly handle the wants outlined within the job description. The purpose is to have the reader rapidly perceive that this particular candidate is tailored for the position.

Additionally, I want when related certifications and clearances are close to the highest of the resume, corresponding to TS/SCI, CISSP, Public Belief, Non-public Belief, and so on. They need to be present. If the candidate’s schooling is security-related, that must be listed close to the highest as effectively.

ZDNet: When studying by way of a candidate’s resume for a cybersecurity position, what could make you immediately need to arrange an interview with them?

Zoë Morris: With tech being much more aggressive than ever, and cybersecurity particularly evolving so quickly and boasting so many alternatives, naming any particular programming or scripting languages you are conversant in, or information analytic packages you’ve got labored with can impress an employer — significantly when you’ve got expertise working with one thing they have not or are hoping to usher in.

Equally, certifications can usually be the decision-maker for whether or not many employers supply a candidate an interview or not. They present dedication and a willingness to be taught, in addition to an industry-standard stage of information, so that they’re actually price doing and documenting in your resume.

The best way to format your cybersecurity resume

Format your resume in line with {industry} expectations. Although you’ll be able to actually use just a little shade, do not get flashy with uncommon colours, graphics, and fonts.

Maintain the general aesthetic clear {and professional}. To extend readability, guarantee spacing is constant between traces and sections. Depart loads of white area — massive blocks of textual content are onerous to learn.

Restrict your resume to at least one web page. You probably have a few years of expertise, max out at two pages.

Current your employment/expertise historical past in reverse-chronological order. This retains the give attention to the place you’ve got arrived moderately than on the whole lot resulting in that time. Keep on with a easy, intuitive structure, corresponding to a one- or two-column format.

You may want to incorporate the next elements on any cybersecurity resume:



Employment expertise





The header is the place you place your identify, skilled e mail, and residential telephone quantity for employers. Optionally available info contains your:

Dwelling handle

LinkedIn profile hyperlink

GitHub profile hyperlink

On-line coding portfolio/private web site hyperlink

Hyperlinking related web sites can assist you by rapidly directing employers to materials showcasing your abilities {and professional} connections.

Resume abstract/goal

A resume abstract or goal supplies an summary of your skilled {qualifications}. A abstract usually focuses on how your experiences align with the job description, whereas an goal lays out your profession objectives and expectations.

This part shouldn’t exceed three sentences or two bullet factors/paragraphs.

You’ll be able to maximize this part’s effectiveness by discussing abilities and experiences talked about within the job itemizing or related to the {industry} you will be working in.

If you do not have prior cybersecurity expertise:

In case you’re making use of to an entry-level job and lack cybersecurity work expertise, by no means worry. You’ll be able to fill out this part by speaking about previous schooling and private traits that you just assume qualify you for the job in two to a few sentences.

Some constructive traits you could point out embrace:





Employment expertise

You may make an even bigger affect on the employment historical past part of your resume through the use of a “present, do not inform” philosophy.

Briefly summarize your skilled accomplishments and contributions to totally different workplaces.

When potential, use the STAR methodology to speak about the way you handled totally different office issues and conditions. (For an in depth rationalization of the strategy, during which you summarize the scenario, your process, the motion you took, and the outcome, see our article on easy methods to reply behavioral interview questions.)

Communicate concerning the quantitative outcomes of your actions, corresponding to increased quarterly earnings. Use particular numbers each time potential.

Bear in mind additionally to make use of motion verbs when penning this part.

Spotlight accomplishments that align with onerous and mushy abilities talked about within the job itemizing. If the job entails cybersecurity engineering, discuss utilizing programming in previous jobs. If the job emphasizes solo work, discuss job experiences the place you largely labored independently.

Lastly, this part ought to embrace experiences related to the job in query. Focus totally on roles which are associated to cybersecurity, software program engineering, and knowledge expertise.

Skilled abilities

The talents part must be curated for its relevance to the job you are making use of for. As an example, if the job place closely emphasizes IT abilities, point out community structure experience as considered one of your onerous abilities.

Use a bulleted checklist of one- to two-word abilities, moderately than phrases. Decrease mentions of individuals (“mushy”) abilities — a bulleted checklist would not give sufficient context to persuade a supervisor that your self-assessments are correct. Talk about individuals abilities in your cowl letter as an alternative.

Tori Rubloff/ZDNet

ZDNet: What are the most typical errors you see on individuals’s resumes that price them shifting to the interview stage, and what can they do in another way?

Zoë Morris: Loads of candidates are inclined to fully neglect how necessary mushy abilities are. However with the tech sector going through an enormous abilities hole in the meanwhile, employers need to know {that a} candidate has each the technical data and the mushy abilities wanted for the fashionable office, so embrace these in your resume.

Moreover, naming shoppers or by chance disclosing personal info when speaking about previous experiences and challenges is a large mistake I see all too usually. Candidates must anonymize any case research to guard this information or danger instantly being rejected from nice alternatives — and in some circumstances, even face authorized motion if that is reported.


The schooling part of your resume ought to point out each faculty, diploma, and certificates underneath your belt.

As soon as you’ve got graduated school and have a few years {of professional} expertise underneath your belt, you needn’t point out your GPA. The identical goes for educational accomplishments of be aware corresponding to membership memberships, honor roll, and so on. These are actually solely related for current graduates.

Make sure that to say cybersecurity coaching you’ve got had, corresponding to coding bootcamps and persevering with schooling.

Different related sections you’ll be able to embrace


Take into account together with a piece detailing tech certifications you’ve got earned. These can impress employers who need to see your abilities in particular areas of experience, corresponding to penetration testing or info safety.

Awards and accomplishments

Convey up awards and accomplishments in the event that they relate to the job you are making use of for. Present employers that you’ve gone above and past necessities within the positions you’ve got held. Make sure that to clarify what every award acknowledges individuals for, moderately than merely naming them — particularly in the event that they’re company-specific.


Volunteer experiences may be related to your cybersecurity resume for those who’re making use of to a nonprofit tech job. Nonprofits will admire your willingness to leverage your abilities with out revenue in thoughts.

Safety clearances

Your cybersecurity resume can profit from mentioning any safety clearances you maintain, particularly if you’re making use of for a authorities job which may require typical candidates to acquire clearances.

Languages you converse

In case you’re making use of to a place at a global firm, point out your overseas language abilities. This exhibits your capability to speak with ESL crew members inother languages, which is usually useful.

Skilled organizations you take part with

If there’s room, point out any skilled organizations you belong to in your cybersecurity resume. Employers need to see your dedication to a higher neighborhood and your career.

Programs you’ve got taken

You can too point out any programs you’ve got taken, corresponding to on-line programs or persevering with schooling programs. An instance is likely to be MOOCs that present your dedication to studying however do not award credit score or certification.

About John Boyle

John Boyle is senior expertise director at nationwide cybersecurity and knowledge expertise staffing agency, CIBR Warriors. John has been within the staffing {industry} for 27 years, having held manufacturing and management roles all through his profession.

His ardour revolves round growing superior relationships and coupling these with best-of-breed practices to make sure world-class service. He really enjoys serving to individuals to take advantage of their profession endeavors.

About Zoë Morris

Zoë Morris is president of Frank Recruitment Group and oversees its ongoing enterprise and gross sales operations, worker coaching, and hiring initiatives. Zoë studied psychology on the College of London and has practically 20 years’ expertise within the recruitment {industry}.

Beneath Zoë’s management, Frank Recruitment Group has persistently achieved substantial year-on-year development in addition to successful many {industry} awards.

This text was reviewed by Monali Mirel Chuatico

In 2019, Monali Mirel Chuatico graduated along with her bachelor’s in laptop science, which gave her the inspiration that she wanted to excel in roles corresponding to a knowledge engineer, front-end developer, UX designer, and laptop science teacher.

Monali is presently a knowledge engineer at Mission Lane. As a knowledge analytics captain at a nonprofit referred to as COOP Careers, Monali helps new grads and younger professionals overcome underemployment by educating them information analytics instruments and mentoring them on their skilled growth journey.

Monali is enthusiastic about implementing artistic options, constructing neighborhood, advocating for psychological well being, empowering girls, and educating youth. Monali’s purpose is to achieve extra expertise in her discipline, broaden her talent set, and do significant work that can positively affect the world.

Monali Mirel Chuatico is a paid member of the Pink Ventures Training Integrity Community.

Final reviewed April 28, 2022.