How to Write a Winning CV for a Job in Cyber Security?

Whether you’re fresh out of IT schooling or are in search of new employment after a while, the cyber-security sector is a lucrative playground. For better or worse, there is never a shortage of need for cyber-security experts in light of rapid malware and social engineering breach development.

According to Tech Beacon, 80% of organizations have experienced at least one cyber-security incident in the past 12 months, prompting their investment into IT. Additionally, the most common malware file types have included MS Office documents (45%); malicious Windows apps (26%) delivered via email in 94% of cases.

No matter the industry or scale in which a business operates they are bound to look for a cyber-security expert sooner or later. This means that your odds at landing the job you want have already improved drastically due to the sheer need for such an expert onboard. But how do you go about writing a winning CV which will indeed get you the interview and help streamline the employment process? Let’s find out.

Vet the Target Companies

Different companies will expect various things from their employees, from their skillsets to their character traits. In order to find out which companies suit your personality and career profile the most, it’s important to do background research prior to your application.

Go through their company website, history, service portfolio, and try to find out how satisfied their employees are with the overall work conditions. This will not only help you filter out the best candidates for employment but also help prepare you for the interview with company cyber-security information.

Outline your CV

Once you have a good idea of what kind of position you want to land in cyber-security, you can start preparing your CV. Like any formal document, your CV (or resume if you are from the US) should include formatted and organized information for the interviewer’s convenience.

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Create blank categories with titles such as “professional development”, “education”, “professional achievements”, “references”, etc. for further filling. This will help you organize your thoughts and get a good overview of how well-rounded your cyber-security skills are in general.

Balance Soft and Hard Skills

Just because the position you’re interested in is IT related doesn’t mean that you should avoid soft skills in your resume – quite the contrary. In fact, cyber-security experts are often required to work closely with teammates, office floor colleagues and managerial staff to maintain their implemented security measures.

As such, soft skills like “teamwork”, “presentation” or “problem-solving” should find their way into your resume to complement the hard skills. Look for a balance between the skill categories and make sure to only include skills that are truthful – they will be tested sooner or later.

Social and Employer References Matter

Given the nature of cyber-security and IT in general, having a social presence on the web is useful for future employment prospects. Platforms such as LinkedIn can serve as great references for your potential employer to check the validity of your CV claims at a glance.

Likewise, employee references from past projects and companies can be extremely useful as additions to your CV centered on cyber-security. After all, the best way to vet a potential employee is to get in touch with a past employer and ask a few simple questions. Make that option available to your future cyber-security employer and you will undoubtedly gain extra points for effort from the start.

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Hint toward your Career Goals

While cyber-security does revolve around a static set of goals centered on data protection and infrastructure maintenance, career development aspirations still matter. You can hint towards your IT dream goals through the CV or a complementary motivational letter (if it is requested or advised to submit one).

These long-term goals will help the interviewer steer you in the right direction and department within their company to allow for said goals to develop. It will help your productivity and the company if you are upfront about your career from the get-go – don’t be afraid of who you are.

Ask for a Second Opinion

Once you put personal and professional information on paper, you should ask for a second opinion before submitting your CV. Interviewers often receive dozens of CVs for an open position and it is difficult to devote more than a minute or two to each candidate.

Ask several people to look at your resume for a few seconds and then comment on what they found out, how legible it is, etc. You can revise, reformat, and proofread your resume as much as you want before submission – don’t pass on the opportunity to maximize your employment chances.

Cyber Security CV Mistakes to Avoid

Just as it is important to tick all the right boxes when writing your CV, it’s also important to avoid common pitfalls and mistakes. Keep these elements in mind when working on your CV for cyber-security and your odds of landing a position you want will grow exponentially.

Don’t Neglect Non-Professional Experiences

Cyber-security is a field that is ripe for non-formal education, online certification, and other experiences unrelated to corporate work or academia. As such, you should absolutely take advantage of any experiences you’ve had while unemployed, volunteering, or otherwise developing your skills in free time. Adding these elements to your CV will showcase how proactive and motivated you are to stay in touch with cyber-security, adding to your employment chances.

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Don’t Treat the Follow-Up Lightly

Once your interview is over, you will be contacted by a company representative with some good or bad news. Interviewers are often known to bluff and tell hired candidates that they didn’t pass the interview just to gauge their reaction and assess their personalities. Whether good news or bad, make sure to treat your interviewer with respect and ask for constructive feedback on what you can improve going forward.

Avoid CV Clichés

It’s worth avoiding typical fluff words, generic CV templates, and other obvious tells of a “low effort” job application. Take time to really develop a representative CV which will speak volumes of your attention to detail and hopes of employment in cyber-security. The last thing you want is for your cyber-security CV to look generic and blend in with others – the right employers will appreciate your efforts.

In Summary

Adapt your CV to the company and position you want to work in, double-check your info and spelling, and then submit the document for review. While it is inevitable that some interviews won’t go as well as planning, writing a winning CV for a job in cyber-security will minimize them. Before long, an interviewer will call you with positive news and your career in cyber-security will take off thanks to carefully planned CV writing efforts.

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