What is the Best Format For My Resume For a Job in Cybersecurity?

When getting ready to apply for a job, professionals need to know what is the best format for my resume for a job in cybersecurity. There are a few different resume formats and choosing the best one, especially for a particular field, can be challenging. Use this guide to understand the different resume formats and ultimately pick the best one to help land a cybersecurity job.

Chronological/Reverse-Chronological Resume

This tends to be the resume format preferred by employers and is the most common type. In this resume format, job history is simply listed in reverse-chronological order with the most recent job at the top. A section detailing additional skills, particularly hard tech skills and certifications, should be showcased under that. Finally, this resume format often closes with a brief description of a job seeker’s educational background. If volunteer experience was relevant, such as if a candidate volunteered in tech or cybersecurity-related role, it can be included somewhere between the work experience section and the education section. The goal of this type of resume is to highlight a relevant career path that has led to this cybersecurity job. Job seekers can use it to point out how their current and most recent jobs make them good candidates for a position.

Functional Resume

Where a chronological resume focuses on work experience, a functional resume instead focuses on skills and providing an outline of the candidate’s qualifications, according to The Balance. In a functional resume, the candidate outlines their qualifications for the job first. Then they may discuss education background and employment history. Functional resumes are especially used by candidates who are trying to draw attention away from their employment history to focus on what they can do. This is useful for candidates looking to make a career change or who have unusual gaps in employment. A well-written functional resume is more specific to the qualifications and skills a candidate is bringing to this job rather than just outlining their accomplishments in past jobs. However, it is often more difficult to create a functional resume that truly draws attention to specific qualifications for this job rather than appears to be hiding something.

A Hybrid of Both

A hybrid, or combined, resume format is just what it sounds like – a mixture of both the chronological and functional variants. It usually includes both a chronological work history and a separate list of qualifications. As one might expect, there is significant flexibility in organizing a resume done in the hybrid format. Candidates may choose to put their qualifications first or their work history first. The Muse notes, this type of resume format is designed to give both work experience and qualifications equal attention. Like with all resumes, everything listed should be relevant to the cybersecurity job the candidate is trying to obtain. It is usually best to list the most relevant items to the job first and then go from there in each section.

Other Common Parts To Include

No matter what format a job applicant ultimately chooses to use for his or her resume, there are other parts to include too. Starting at the top, a job seeker should put their name and contact information such as their phone number and e-mail address. Monster no longer recommends putting home addresses on a resume because of privacy concerns, but job seekers can list city and state to demonstrate that they are local candidates. Most candidates should consider adding a professional summary after their contact information. These two to three sentences act as a kind of sales pitch to interest employers in the remainder of the resume. Candidates should not include information that was not asked for, such as a list of references, a photograph or any gimmicks that could appear unprofessional.

What to Focus on in a Cybersecurity Resume

Creating a resume for a tech field job is often more straightforward than drafting one for jobs that mostly require soft skills. This is because employers of cybersecurity professionals are more interested in hard tech skills, which are simpler to compile and list. Be sure to include all hardware, software and proficiency on the resume, particularly any knowledge requested by a specific job ad. Soft skills are important to indicate as well because cybersecurity professionals do need to have good interpersonal communication skills, problem-solving skills and critical thinking skills. Soft skills are more difficult to list on a resume and need to be demonstrated in past experiences rather than just stated. Most importantly, focus on experience and skills that are specifically requested in the job description.

Which Format is Best?

The answer to this question is that it depends. Cybersecurity professionals who do not have extensive past professional experience in the field, have gaps in their employment history or otherwise wish to not draw attention to factors that can make them undesirable candidates, are usually better off choosing the functional or hybrid format. But because skills are heavily focused on in a functional resume compared to the chronological format, choosing to go with a functional resume can be advantageous to draw attention to specific qualifications. The functional format is a good choice for this field because cybersecurity requires substantial skill requirements. Functional and hybrid formats are not as common either, so using one can help an application stand out. The answer to the question of what is the best format for my resume for a job in cybersecurity is not always straightforward.

Related Resource: What Can I Do With a Computer Science Degree?

Choosing the best resume format usually is determined more by a job seeker’s experience and past professional circumstances rather than the type of job he or she is trying to get. Both formats have their advantages and disadvantages and it is up to individual candidates to choose the one that will best match their professional background and skills. However, if a job seeker has been using one to no avail, he or she might want to consider switching to a different format.