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5 Key elements in the cybersecurity resume

by Mic Johnson

The advancement of the technological world has made cybersecurity a necessity in the present times. 

While the expansion of cyber-crimes has made it imperative for businesses to have a robust cybersecurity program in place, its becoming a lucrative industry for graduates to opt it as a profession.

Cybersecurity is employed to protect digital assets such as systems, networks, and programs from cyber attacks. The increased cases of cyber attacks such as WannaCry aims to assess, change, and destroy sensitive information and use them in a malicious manner to extort money from the users.

According to a report by McAfee, cybercrime incidents cost the world economy over $1 trillion i.e just over 1 percent of global GDP.

“There are only two types of companies: those that have been hacked, and those that will be.”

– Robert Mueller, Former FBI Director

The above statement makes it very clear that no one can provide foolproof security but can assure that the risks and impacts are mitigated and the business operations get back to normal faster.

These incidents have increased the demand for cybersecurity professionals or information security analysts. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of growth for jobs in information security is projected at 37% from 2012–2022—that’s much faster than the average for all other occupations.

The ever-increasing demand for cybersecurity professionals has led to an increase in the competition in the job market for them. 

Candidates need to have a flawless cybersecurity resume while emphasizing major key skills and ensuring they have selected the right format among various resume templates to grab the recruiter’s attention.

To help you grab a perfect cybersecurity job, here is the list of 5 key elements in the cybersecurity resume.

1. Professional Summary

The professional summary is the first section of a resume. In this paragraph put best skills and most relevant experience forward to captivate the hiring manager. 

A crisp and short professional summary can intrigue the hiring manager to dwell on it for a few seconds more.

Here is an example of the professional summary of a cybersecurity analyst:

A detail-oriented 2+ years experienced cybersecurity analyst, proficient in networking and deploying basic configuration of routers and switches. Gained hands-on experience in DNS, DHCP, and RIP configurations. Adept at ensuring switch port security and port scanners and performed computer repair operations such as replacement of hard drives, RAM, and card expansion.

2. Professional Skills

Before inserting skills in a resume,  have a look at the skills required by the company. This step ensures the compliance of the skills set with that of the company. 

The skills highlight the relevance of a resume.  Irrelevant skills will not add any significant value to your resume, hence one should only write the acquired skills.

Here is an example of the skills of a cybersecurity professional:

  • Malware Analysis
  • Application & Interface Security
  • Risk Analysis
  • Python Scripting
  • Intrusion Detection
  • Change Control & Configuration
  • Data Security & Information Lifecycle Management
  • Cloud Security
  • Infrastructure & Virtualization
  • Secure Software Development
  • Security Incident Management
  • E-Discovery & Cloud Forensics
  • Threat & Vulnerability Management

These are only some of the skills, it may vary depending on the education and experience of a person. 

3. Professional Experience or Internships

The experience section of a resume is used to quantify the skills acquired. Try to put the experience section in reverse chronological order. 

Provide the employer names, locations, and dates. After each position includes a few bullet points on the responsibilities and executed work w while quantifying the same by providing numeric values wherever possible.

3.1 STAR Method

The most effective way of framing work experience is the STAR method, which is an acronym for Situation, Task, Activity, and Result.

In order to achieve this, ask a few questions:

  • What was the situation that was assigned/tackled?
  • What were the tasks or steps taken to deal with it?
  • What skills or actions were required? What software or techniques were used?
  • What was the measurable end result?


4. Education & Certifications

The education section of a resume is an opportunity to show off the Cyber Security course taken and degrees earned. A simple set of bullet points will suffice.

Use this section to list any related certifications after education. Certifications indicate the level of knowledge acquired by a candidate in a particular area. 

If the certifications are of the recent period and are strongly related to the job requirement then putting it before the education section would be a smart thing to do.

Use reverse chronological order to insert the details of education i.e recent certification programs first and work backward.

Here is the list of a few cybersecurity certifications:

  • CompTIA Security+
  • CompTIA Penetration Tester (PenTest+)
  • Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)

In case of no certifications try to enroll in some Often certifications add more value to the resume than a generic educational qualification. 

5. List of References

Offering the list of references to the recruiters beforehand is a better option than waiting for the recruiters to ask for them. 

Add three or four professional references who can provide the credibility of the work done. While framing this section ensure to use the full name, job position, and contact information. Do not forget to inform them about the same.

In case of no references or entry-level cybersecurity professionals, add any professional associations undertaken or any related volunteer activities that are relevant to the position. 

Key takeaways

Let’s sum up the zest of the elements of a cybersecurity resume.

  • Provide a crisp and to-the-point professional summary to captivate the recruiter at the very first section
  • Enlist all the skills acquired during education or professional experience and quantify the same in the professional experience
  • Use the STAR method to describe the professional experience to increase its relativity
  • Provide the list of certifications and education degrees earned 
  • Avail a list of references of the recruiters beforehand

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