With so much of our personal and business data stored in the digital world, security is not only important, it is paramount.

Those who specialize in cyber security are the gatekeepers who keep our sensitive information from being exposed and exploited.

Given the importance of your position, you can expect the hiring process to be a rigorous one.

But if you have the skills and expertise, you will overcome the obstacles and begin or continue a great career in cyber security.

The trick is to encapsulate your knowledge in a well-written and well-organized resume.

We can help you with all the tips you need to know to make this happen.

Let’s get started!

Good resume writing begins with knowing the ingredients for success.

Summary

  1. Resume Template
  2. Formatting
  3. Writing Your Resume Summary
  4. Areas of Expertise
  5. Writing Your Work Experience
  6. Writing Your Education Section
  7. Additional Sections
  8. Resume Points to Remember
  9. Resume “Don’ts” to Remember
  10. Some Helpful Tools

Let’s begin with a sample cyber security resume to demonstrate how all the resume pieces fit together. Then we will break each section down to really drill into how to write the best cyber security resume you possibly can.

Find Resume Advice in Your Industry

Browse our categories of resume samples to get industry-specific advice on writing your next resume.

Cyber Security Resume (Text Version)

Contact Info:

Ben Milliam
benmilliam@email.com
1 (540) 937-0090
Roanoke, VA 24009

Summary Statement:

Cyber Security Specialist: Highly experienced Cyber Security Specialist with meticulous work standards. Skilled at maintaining top-tier security within both government and private networks. Very analytical and detail-oriented, specializing in firewall remediation, deploying infrastructure hardware/software, and cloud management.

Key Accomplishments/Areas of Expertise

  • Operating Systems (Mac, Linux, UNIEX, Windows)
  • Information Security
  • Network Security
  • Palo Alto Firewall
  • SaaS Software
  • Consistency
  • Communication
  • Organization

Professional Experience:

U.S. Army | Roanoke, VA
Cyber Security Specialist | June 2015 – Present

  • Test, implement, and deploy infrastructure hardware
  • Manage threats to network security via immediate response
  • Implement defensive measures to identify and track potential threats
  • Assess threats and vulnerabilities within network and make adjustments when required

Rieger Technologies | Roanoke, VA
Cyber Security Engineer | January 2013 – April 2015

  • Supported development and production environments
  • Monitored and upgraded security measures for data/network protection
  • Held security clearance during tenure
  • Functioned within a team of security personnel
  • Planned and implemented cyber security best practices

Cybernet, Inc | Roanoke, VA
Cyber Security Consultant | June 2009 – December 2012

  • Audited firewall rule base and identified remediation actions
  • Executed modifications to firewall rule base in a production environment
  • Met with internal teams to discuss planned security changes and coordinate testing
  • Configured firewall rules and adjusted as needed

Education/Certifications

Bachelor of Science in Information Technology

The University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Class of 2009

Resume Formatting

Every great resume utilizes the proper format.

It’s more than just putting your skills and work experience down on the page.

You need to properly organize your content so that it reads well and has the impact you want it to have.

In today’s world, the hiring process has more roadblocks to surmount than ever before.

Many companies are now using scanning bots as part of the process.

Bots scan resumes for relevant language and keywords.

When your cyber security resume makes it to the desk of a hiring manager, he or she has a limited amount of time to read it before it’s on to the next one – an average of 6 seconds is the most you can expect!

So you see why formatting and communicating your expertise in a specific way are so important.

Employ a reverse chronological order layout for your cyber security resume.

This will place your top skills first in reading order, allowing a hiring manager to quickly gain an idea of what you’ve been doing recently.

As you get ready to draft your cyber security resume, be sure to select a font that has a clean aesthetic, nothing outlandish or fancy.

Keep an eye on the balance between your text and white spaces. Make sure all your columns and lists are aligned correctly.

Your Resume Summary

So what content do you write first?

We’ve found that the best way to kick off a resume is to introduce the reader to your best skills.

You’ll do this in the form of a short summary paragraph.

Using 2-3 sentences, break down those qualities that make you good at cyber security.

Highlight your areas of expertise.

Use power words and keywords to elevate your language.

A specific, well-crafted resume summary is the best way to make a great first impression.

PRO TIP: A resume summary is not the same as a resume objective. Objectives are no longer common in the world of resume writing. In today’s fast-paced jobs market, skills are prioritized. Personal goals/ambitions not so much. So keep your summary focused on the skills!

Time to review some summary examples:

Yes!

Highly experienced Cyber Security Specialist with meticulous work standards. Skilled at maintaining top-tier security within both government and private networks. Very analytical and detail-oriented, specializing in firewall remediation, deploying infrastructure hardware/software, and cloud management.

No!

Cyber Security guy with a varied history. Governments and private networks come to me for all their security needs. I’ll cover the basics and more, leaving no digital stone unturned as I protect your special data.

Which candidate would you hire and trust with your securing your information?

The first summary example displays aptitude and ability. The language is specific and pointed, demonstrating the candidate’s top skill points and areas of specialty.

Power words like “maintaining” and “deploying” strengthen the language with a feeling of action and confidence.

The second summary seems to indicate a lack of professionalism and expertise.

From its language, there is no way to gain insight into the actual skills and abilities of the candidate.

When the reader is left to guess, it is never a good thing!

Your summary should answer the basic question of “are you qualified?”

Areas of Expertise/Key Accomplishments

To support your summary, write down a list of your Key Accomplishments, or Areas of Expertise.

Since your skills represent your value and viability as a candidate, you’ll want to highlight them as much as possible.

Your list should use bullet points and represent a balance of both your hard skills and soft skills.

Example:

  • Operating Systems (Mac, Linux, UNIEX, Windows)
  • Information Security
  • Network Security
  • Palo Alto Firewall
  • SaaS Software
  • Consistency
  • Communication
  • Organization

Hard skills represent what you’ve learned about cyber security both on the job and during your education.

Soft skills are reflective of personal attributes and mental abilities.

Critical thinking, interpersonal communication, creative thinking, and problem solving – these are all soft skills.

Your list should strike a balance between the two skill types.

PRO TIP: It’s a good rule of thumb as you write to keep referring back to the job description. This will help keep your resume on point. In terms of the skills you list, you want to make sure you are touching on the key areas mentioned in the description.

(See below for a helpful table of some suggested hard and soft skill ideas to inspire you in writing your skills section.)

Your Work Experience

Now it’s time to really impress the reader with your work experience. This means listing all the jobs you’ve held in the field of cyber security work.

Hopefully, you’ve been advancing over time, climbing the ladder so to speak. Your work history should demonstrate this.

You should have more responsibilities in your most recent position versus your first position.

An exception to all of this would be if you’re just starting out and have no experience, but we’ll discuss that later.

Right now let’s get down to the business of drafting your work experience section.

Remember to use reverse chronological order.

List your most recent job first.

Be sure to include:

  • The company name
  • Where the company is located
  • What job you performed there

Typically employers are going to want to know how long you were at a position.

So include dates on your cyber security resume.

If you were only employed at a particular position for a short time, or took time off between jobs, you may consider leaving dates off your resume.

Keep in mind though that this will not prevent a hiring manager from asking about dates during an interview. They most certainly will ask and you’ll have to be ready with answers!

After writing the name of the company, location, job title, and dates you were employed there, list your day to day responsibilities on the job.

Use 3-5 bullet points to do this.

Examples:

Yes!

U.S. Army | Roanoke, VA | Cyber Security Specialist | June 2015 – Present

  • Test, implement, and deploy infrastructure hardware
  • Manage threats to network security via immediate response
  • Implement defensive measures to identify and track potential threats
  • Assess threats and vulnerabilities within network and make adjustments when required

No!

U.S. Army | Roanoke, VA

  • Infrastructure hardware
  • Take down threats
  • Help networks be safer overall

The first is a good example of an effective entry for a work history. The heading contains all the important information, including dates.

The four bulleted points are specific and well-organized.

Power words are used to good effect.

The second example is too brief and contains little information of value.

How can the reader determine the candidate’s effectiveness in the position if no details are given?

It makes it appear that the candidate has something to hide, which is never a good impression to make!

PRO TIP: Perhaps you’re experiencing difficulty remembering some of the day to day roles at a former position. In order to remind yourself, consult any documents or work schedules you may still have. Also contact your former employer for details.

More About Bots

We’ve mentioned scanning bots briefly so let’s take some time to learn more about the systems they function within.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) have become part of the hiring procedures for many companies, particularly companies that see a large volume of resume submissions.

In some cases, it can be a real challenge to get your cyber security resume past an ATS and under the eyes of a hiring manager.

If you’re concerned about a particular ATS, it might be a good idea to use an alternative format for your work history.

Think about using paragraphs instead of bullet points for your descriptions.

So instead of bullet points:

U.S. Army | Roanoke, VA | Cyber Security Specialist | June 2015 – Present

  • Test, implement, and deploy infrastructure hardware
  • Manage threats to network security via immediate response
  • Implement defensive measures to identify and track potential threats
  • Assess threats and vulnerabilities within network and make adjustments when required

Do something like this:

Test, implement, and deploy infrastructure hardware when required. Manage threats to network security via immediate response initiatives. Implement defensive measures to identify and track potential threats.

Another option is to use limited bullet points for emphasis:

Test, implement, and deploy infrastructure hardware when required. Manage threats to network security via immediate response initiatives. Implement defensive measures to identify and track potential threats.

  • Assess threats and vulnerabilities within network and make adjustments when required
  • Received commendation award for excellence in job performance

The advantage of using a paragraph is that it allows you to include more keywords and relevant language.

An ATS likes keywords and relevant language!

However, a significant downside is that when your cyber security resume comes before a hiring manager, they may in fact take issue with paragraphs.

Why?

Paragraphs take longer to read than bullet points. They’re text dense.

For this reason we advise avoiding using an alternative paragraph formatting unless you feel it is absolutely necessary in order to beat an ATS.

Your Education Section

In order to get to where you’re currently at in your career as a cyber security specialist, you undoubtedly received a thorough education.

This section is the place to talk about it.

Potential employers want to know all about your education and how it prepared you for your chosen field – so start by listing the highest level of education you’ve received.

Example: Master’s Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, High School Diploma, etc.

Include the obvious details, like area of study, institution name, date of graduation, and so on.

But also include information like minor degrees, concentrations, and academic accomplishments (like making the Dean’s List).

Also think about including your GPA. This might help increase your value as a candidate if you’re new to the career game.

Example:

Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
The University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
GPA: 4.0
Class of 2009

It’s also relevant to include details of how you’ve expanded your skills outside of school.

Example:

  • “Security and the Future,” Professional Workshop, Austin, TX
  • “America and Cyber Security,” Online Conference, 2011

Additional Sections

We’re more than our professional lives.

Sometimes we have certain unrelated accomplishments or areas of skill that might help boost our credibility on a resume.

If you have something like this, feel free to list it in an additional section.

Some ideas:

  • Awards and honors
  • Publications
  • Noteworthy Projects
  • Social Media Influence
  • Speaking Engagements
  • Hobbies/Interests
  • Volunteer Work

Little or No Experience

We all have to start somewhere.

If you’re at the bottom rung of the ladder in terms of your career, consider making some alterations to your resume formatting.

Because you still have to demonstrate your potential value even though you have no relevant experience, try placing your education details under your opening resume summary.

At this point in your career, your education is going to be your top asset and selling point.

You’re still going to have to write a work history section, but emphasize those roles that are most closely related to your new vocation.

If you’ve ever held a job that involved data management, computer programs, organization, or oversight, highlight those skills and roles.

Perhaps you’ve managed inventory or have skills in some other field of security.

All such experience could prove valuable to you in your new role as a Cyber Security Specialist.

Resume Tips

First, list your contact information. It’s important!

Using space effectively

This is all about formatting and language. Begin with a summary at the top of the page, then follow it with your work experience, ending with an education section. This will assure that all your relevant skills and experience are included!

Power word usage

Don’t miss the opportunity to add strength to your resume’s language through use of effective power words. A well-placed and relevant power word can elevate a description from mediocre to grand!

Use a trusted proofreader

A proofreader is a must if you want your resume as polished as possible. A second set of eyes will probably catch mistakes that you missed during the writing process.

A Few “Don’ts”

No first person language or expressions

If you’re not used to formal writing, keep in mind that to use “I” or “me” on a resume is considered unprofessional and incorrect.

Don’t exceed one page

A single page is all you should require to effectively present your skills and expertise. Anything more is most likely wasting both your time and your potential employer’s time.

Don’t repeat yourself

Repetition is an easy trap to fall into, particularly for the novice writer. So take enough time to keep your language varied and on point. Don’t ramble or repeat! Use power words to spice things up!

(We’ve put together a handy table of power words below to use for inspiration.)

Don’t use strange fonts or formatting

Remember that a poor font will lead to a poor overall result for your resume. The same is true with poor formatting. Make sensible choices involving both. Strive for a professional and clean look.

Helpful Tools:

Power Words

  • Tested
  • Managed
  • Implemented
  • Assessed
  • Supported
  • Monitored
  • Held
  • Functioned
  • Planned
  • Audited
  • Executed
  • Met
  • Configured
  • Checked

Skills List

Hard Skills Soft Skills
Operating Systems (Mac, Linux, UNIEX, Windows) Consistency
Information Security Communication
Network Security Organization
Palo Alto Firewall Detail Oriented
Saas Software Efficient