How To Write a Good Cybersecurity Resume

September 16, 2021
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3 min read

A lot of cybersecurity jobs await out there for the qualified job seeker. According to Cyberseek, the United States had 464,200 cybersecurity job openings as of July 30, 2021. And with the skills gap, there are even more openings every day. But that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a job offer. So, how do you make a good cybersecurity resume that gets you the job?

The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education details seven high-level categories in its Cybersecurity Workforce Framework. The bulk (about 61%) of open jobs fell into Operate & Maintain, which includes administration and other IT and security support. A slightly lower proportion (56%) of the openings involved the Security Provision area, which relates to designing and building secure IT systems.

Advice for Building a Cybersecurity Resume

The ongoing cybersecurity skills gap highlights just how many openings are available to U.S. job seekers in this field. However, job seekers still need to be careful about how they frame themselves in their resume when applying for a position.

Practice Proper Resume Hygiene

First, job applicants need to make sure that their resume is ready to go. Not even the most qualified applicant will impress anyone with typos, missing contact information or poor formatting, for instance. As in other fields, a cybersecurity resume should be one to two pages long at most. The resume is a means of making a first impression with a potential employer. So, applicants would benefit from making sure they’ve polished this impression to the best it can be.

Note that a potential employer is going to look the applicant up online as part of the screening process. That includes LinkedIn and public social media profiles. Applicants can help themselves by making sure they’ve updated all those profiles to reflect their most recent jobs and to align with what they’ve already included on their resumes.

Cybersecurity Resume Tips: Certifications Before Education

Of course, applicants need to include their education history. But certifications can be even more important than traditional schooling in this field. This is because most schools don’t keep proper pace with the rapidly changing threat landscape. If you earned a degree five to ten years ago, what you learned might not be relevant to a potential employer today.

So, list certifications before education in a cybersecurity resume. Certifications do not take as long to complete, so they tend to be more current. Write your resume such that a potential employer can quickly see whether your certifications are current.

Don’t Let a Lack of Experience Deter You

Finally, don’t let your decision to apply for a job hinge on whether or not you already have experience. The employer might say they require certain skills, but it’s worth a shot to apply even if you don’t have all of them. Most candidates won’t be trained on all the tools the employer uses, after all. If and when someone receives a job, they can learn on the fly. Employers might also provide online training and certifications to teach specific tools.

But this overlooks an even larger point: lots of different skills and paths can lead a person into this field. I came to it through political science, for instance. That doesn’t make me an imposter. That’s just the journey I took. We’ve all lived different lives, and none of us knows all there is to know about the field. We’re all still learning, and always will be.

The Beginning of the Journey

By following the tips above, you can make your cybersecurity resume more compelling in the eyes of a potential employer. This will help in the job search and in your efforts to help make the world a safer and more secure place.

David Bisson
Contributing Editor

David Bisson is an infosec news junkie and security journalist. He works as Contributing Editor for Graham Cluley Security News and Associate Editor for Trip...
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