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


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Trying 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 experiences that data safety analysts can anticipate 33% employment development from 2020-30.

The excellent news is that you would be able to improve 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 convey you much more useful recommendation.

Learn on to learn to craft a succinct, quantitative, and thorough cybersecurity resume that may show you how to stand out amongst hundreds of candidates. 

Vital: Tailor your resume to every cybersecurity job

One large a part of getting ready your job utility is tailoring your resume to every position to which you apply.

Spotlight recurring key phrases and vital abilities and obligations talked about within the job itemizing. Then, contact on them in your resume. Together with the key phrases may also help your resume rank higher when it goes by means of the applicant monitoring system.

For example, if an inventory mentions penetration testing abilities, point out your expertise performing these assessments in your abilities part.

Keep in mind that many tech corporations obtain hundreds of purposes weekly. Touchdown a job interview is determined by together with scan-able data a hiring supervisor will instantly see. Make it straightforward for them to see, inside seconds, that you’ve the wanted abilities.

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

John Boyle, a white man wearing a suit, poses for a professional headshot.

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

This may be as straightforward as shifting the best job-related bullets able abstract to the highest of the stack for sooner 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 choose when related certifications and clearances are close to the highest of the resume, corresponding to TS/SCI, CISSP, Public Belief, Personal 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 means of a candidate’s resume for a cybersecurity position, what could make you immediately wish to arrange an interview with them?

Zoe Morris, a woman with long, straight dark hair wearing a professional blouse, smiles in a headshot

Zoë Morris: With tech being much more aggressive than ever, and cybersecurity specifically evolving so quickly and boasting so many alternatives, naming any particular programming or scripting languages you are acquainted with, or knowledge analytic packages you have labored with can impress an employer — significantly you probably have 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 study, in addition to an industry-standard degree of information, so that they’re actually price doing and documenting in your resume. 

Methods to format your cybersecurity resume

Format your resume in line with {industry} expectations. Although you may actually use a bit of shade, do not get flashy with uncommon colours, graphics, and fonts. 

Preserve the general aesthetic clear {and professional}. To extend readability, guarantee spacing is constant between strains and sections. Go away loads of white house — large blocks of textual content are onerous to learn.

Restrict your resume to 1 web page. When you’ve got a few years of expertise, max out at two pages.

Current your employment/expertise historical past in reverse-chronological order. This retains the concentrate on the place you will have arrived quite than on all the pieces resulting in that time. Stick to a easy, intuitive format, corresponding to a one- or two-column format.

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

  • Header
  • Abstract/goal
  • Employment expertise
  • Abilities
  • Tasks
  • Training


The header is the place you set your identify, skilled e-mail, and residential cellphone quantity for employers. Non-compulsory data consists of your:

  • House handle
  • LinkedIn profile hyperlink
  • GitHub profile hyperlink
  • On-line coding portfolio/private web site hyperlink

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

Resume abstract/goal

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

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

You possibly can 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 the event you’re making use of to an entry-level job and lack cybersecurity work expertise, by no means concern. You possibly can fill out this part by speaking about previous schooling and private traits that you simply suppose qualify you for the job in two to a few sentences. 

Some constructive traits that you would be able to point out embody:

  • Curiosity
  • Conscientiousness
  • Empathy
  • Professionalism

Employment expertise

You can also make an even bigger impression on the employment historical past part of your resume by utilizing a “present, do not inform” philosophy. 

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

When attainable, 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 activity, the motion you took, and the end result, see our article on the way to reply behavioral interview questions.)

Communicate concerning the quantitative outcomes of your actions, corresponding to greater quarterly earnings. Use particular numbers at any time when attainable. 

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

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

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

Skilled abilities

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

Use a bulleted listing of one- to two-word abilities, quite than phrases. Reduce mentions of individuals (“smooth”) abilities — a bulleted listing would not give sufficient context to persuade a supervisor that your self-assessments are correct. Focus on 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 value them shifting to the interview stage, and what can they do in a different way?

Zoë Morris: Plenty of candidates are inclined to fully neglect how vital smooth abilities are. However with the tech sector going through an enormous abilities hole in the mean time, employers wish to know {that a} candidate has each the technical data and the smooth abilities wanted for the trendy office, so embody these in your resume. 

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


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

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

Ensure that to say cybersecurity coaching you have had, corresponding to coding bootcamps and persevering with schooling.

Different related sections you may embody


Contemplate together with a bit detailing tech certifications you have earned. These can impress employers who wish to see your abilities in particular areas of experience, corresponding to penetration testing or data safety.

Awards and accomplishments

Deliver 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 have held. Ensure that to elucidate what every award acknowledges individuals for, quite than merely naming them — particularly in the event that they’re company-specific.


Volunteer experiences may be related to your cybersecurity resume if you happen to’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 communicate

In the event you’re making use of to a place at a global firm, point out your overseas language abilities. This reveals your capability to speak with ESL staff members in different 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 wish to see your dedication to a higher neighborhood and your occupation.

Programs you have taken

It’s also possible to point out any programs you have taken, corresponding to on-line programs or persevering with schooling programs. An instance may 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 data 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}. 

Underneath 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

Monali Mirel Chuatico, a woman with long dark hair, smiles in a headshot.

In 2019, Monali Mirel Chuatico graduated together with her bachelor’s in pc science, which gave her the muse that she wanted to excel in roles corresponding to an information engineer, front-end developer, UX designer, and pc science teacher.

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

Monali is enthusiastic about implementing artistic options, constructing neighborhood, advocating for psychological well being, empowering ladies, and educating youth. Monali’s purpose is to realize extra expertise in her discipline, broaden her ability set, and do significant work that may positively impression the world.

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

Final reviewed April 28, 2022.


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