Entry-level must-haves for a cyber security role

Rebekah Valero-Lee Cyber Security


Despite a fresh wave of budding cyber security professionals flooding into the job market each year, many chief information security officers (CISOs) are struggling to hire entry-level candidates. So, what’s the problem?

According to ISACA’s 2015 Global Cybersecurity Status Report, 86% of global business and IT professionals believe there is a shortage of skilled cyber security professionals. However, where many newcomers are falling short isn’t to do with their credentials or experience, it’s down to the assumption that those factors alone will get them through the door.

So, what are CISOs really looking for when they read your CV? To indicate where you may be missing the mark, here are a few entry-level must-haves for a cyber security role.

A slick CV and interview basics

It may sound like a no-brainer, but having a refined CV can be the difference between snagging an interview and losing out to another candidate. Scour your CV for spelling mistakes, typos and poor punctuation, because even though you’re not being hired based on your writing skills, a sloppy CV will reflect badly on you as an individual. Scrap the waffle and make sure what’s on there is relevant for the role you’re applying for.

Need help putting together your CV? Take a look at our CV writing top tips.

Good interview skills are also essential. Don’t walk in there thinking you’ve got the job because there’s a shortage of skilled cyber security professionals. Prepare answers, ensure you can go into depth about your experience and think about questions you can ask your interviewer at the end of the session.

Be able to show you’re a team player

In a large company, it’s highly likely you’re going to have to work with people who don’t have the same level of specialist knowledge as you do. Charlie Benway, executive director of the Advanced Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), highlights:

“Executive management and boards of directors are now recognising that cybersecurity is not just a tech problem, it’s a business problem.”

Hence, being able to communicate issues to the rest of the business is vital. Don’t underestimate the importance of being likeable and articulate.

Comprehensive practical skills

At entry-level, most employers won’t be expecting a wealth of experience. However, being able to draw upon times when you’ve used technology tools and have put your knowledge into practice is a good way of demonstrating your abilities. For instance, did you have to use any tools relevant to cyber security for your dissertation? Did you have to have to perform an audit and suggest improvements to current IT procedures?

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your degree or qualifications will be enough to land you the job.

A knowledge of your industry

Cyber security is broken down into a number of different jobs, so it’s important to be aware of which skills are actually applicable to the role you’re applying for. Simply claiming you’re interested in cyber security without having an awareness of all the different sectors can leave you appearing naïve.

It’s also important to know where cyber security fits within the business you’re applying to. Ask yourself, how does cyber security fit within the finance industry, or how does it influence the military? Make sure you can show that your skill set lends itself to the job you’re applying for, rather than keeping it vague.

Are you struggling to find a job in cyber security? Take a look at our wide range of IT jobs on offer to see we can help land you your dream role.

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