Employer-Ready Criteria for Cybersecurity Career Switchers

Resume Criteria

Content

Heading

Include name, phone number, professional email address , city and state or region, and written out  hyperlinks to LinkedIn and Portfolio.

Summary

  • Title of role pursuing (do not identify as a student).
  • Background experience that connects to the role you are pursuing.
  • Avoid pronouns.
  • 2-3 transferable skills (ex. adaptable; time management; communication; innovative; collaborative; conflict resolution).
  • Years of related experience (keep below 10 years).
  • Accomplishments, recognitions, and/or awards. 
  • Training or certifications

Skills

  • Include skills / concepts / methodologies (etc.) acquired in the program.
  • Ensure programming languages and technologies conform to standard spelling and style for the industry.

Projects

  • Include up to three of your strongest projects 
  • Include a brief description for each project (1-2 lines) 
  • Include skills / concepts / methodologies (etc.) used
  • Include a written URL to GitHub and/or project description (if applicable)

Experience

  • Clearly laid out with accomplishments highlighted rather than job duties.
  • Experience listed in reverse chronological order, with job title, job description, company name, city & state or province, and dates of employment. 
  • Start every bullet with an action verb; don’t use the same verb more than once.
  • Pull out transferable skills from previous roles that will speak to your target role (e.g. attention to detail, thrives under pressure, etc.).

Education

  • List education below Experience.
  • Listed in reverse chronological order 
  • Include city and state
  • Include title (ex. certificate, bachelor’s, master’s, etc.) 
  • Include the current program as the most recent item in education and ensure it is listed as a certificate.

Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

  • Include standard heading titles (Education, Projects, Technical Skills, Summary, Experience).
  • Spell out acronyms and abbreviations (abbreviated months are acceptable).
  • Use bullets instead of asterisks. 
  • Avoid images, icons, or photographs.
  • Avoid colored text.
  • Avoid columns, tables, text boxes, and graphs.
  • Do not write in the header or footer of the document. 
  • Use keywords that match the job description and align with required skills needed for each specific role.

Design and Format

Simplicity

  • No template language or blank areas.
  • Design does not get in the way of necessary text/content.
  • Text fills the page without overcrowding.
  • Balanced margins, between 0.5” – 1.”
  • No more than one page if new to the field, two pages if have relevant experience.
  • Name and headlines stand out.
  • Few (or no) hanging lines (where just a few words take up an entire line).

Consistency

  • Font size of 11 or 12.
  • Consistent and professional font style. It’s okay to use different fonts for the headings and body. Professional font styles include: Arial, Calibri, Cambria, Georgia, Helvetica, Times New Roman.
  • Consistent use of bold, italic, and underline; same bullet point style for all lists.

Accuracy

  • Consistent punctuation throughout.
  • No grammar errors; no spelling errors.
  • No personal pronouns (I, we, he, or she).
  • Abbreviations or acronyms are not used unless necessary.

LinkedIn Profile Criteria

Compelling Introduction

  • Professional profile photo. 
  • Customized background image. 
  • Up-to-date contact information (email). 
  • Catchy headline that incorporates target role. 
  • Clear summary statement that speaks to experience, background, and professional qualifications.

Experience

  • Clearly laid out with accomplishments highlighted rather than job duties.
  • Experience listed in reverse chronological order, with job title, job description, company name, city & state or province, and dates of employment. 
  • Start every bullet with an action verb; don’t use the same verb more than once.
  • Pull out transferable skills from previous roles that will speak to your target role (e.g. attention to detail, thrives under pressure, etc.).

Education

  • List education below Experience.
  • Listed in reverse chronological order 
  • Include city and state with 
  • Include title (ex. certificate, bachelor’s, master’s, etc.) 
  • Include the current program as the most recent item in education and ensure it is listed as a certificate.

Skills, Recommendations, Accomplishments, and Interests

  • These sections give a fuller picture of who you are.
  • At least 20 skills, both technical and transferable. 
  • At least 2-4 recommendations that attest to your skill set and work ethic. 
  • At least 2-3 projects highlighted with working links (if applicable).
  • At least 20 interests displayed, with a mix of personal and professional interests.

Accuracy

  • All spelling is accurate with consistent punctuation. 
  • Tone consistent throughout. 
  • All links work.

Professional Brand Statement Criteria

Concise

Consists of 75-150 words.  Keep it focused and make every line count.

Targets Role

First line presents you in your desired role. Avoid identifying as a student (as you will use this after graduation). Ex: Data Protection Analyst, Security Analyst, Cybersecurity Engineer.

Includes Education

Includes only relevant degrees, certifications, and/or trainings. Make sure you include the boot camp to demonstrate your technical training. Ex: Certificate in cybersecurity from XYZ University.

Includes Skills and Strengths

Includes 3-5 relevant technical skills and professional strengths that align with a desired role.

  • If available, use the job description to determine the best skills to include.
  • Show how you have applied these skills and strengths in previous roles or projects.

Demonstrates Value

Showcases professional or academic achievements, accomplishments, successful projects, and recognitions. Hint: Aim for professional, but if you lack professional experience, pull from academics.

Includes Motivation/Aim

Determine what motivates you professionally. What end results do you hope to achieve in your role? 

Positions Yourself

Sell, don’t summarize! Connect how your past experience, skills, and/or training have prepared you for your desired role. This is where you can provide examples to support your claims. Hint: To demonstrate that you are a team player, give an example of working successfully in a team environment. Show outcomes of your work.

Presentation

No spelling or grammatical errors. No slang. No redundant word choices. Varied sentence structure.


Cybersecurity: Industry Professionals Share Tips and Tidbits

Two industry professionals from the Cybersecurity industry joined us for a webinar on Determining Which Cybersecurity Work Environment is Right for You. Read along as we highlight some key takeaways from that conversation where they discuss their work environments, workflows, and cultural impact.

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