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Applying for your next cyber security role: 3 things you need to know

By James Walsh, Business Director for Cyber Security, Hays

Cyber has never been more important than in the modern climate, and it’s a requirement that isn’t going away any time soon. As digital transformation continues to accelerate, cyber security is becoming increasingly essential to the ongoing success of a company.

Our business director for cyber security, James Walsh, connects tech and cyber professionals with career-defining roles across Ireland and the UK every day. He shares what cyber security professionals should be thinking about when applying for their next role.

Start-up vs large company: what are the key differences?

Do you like having a clear focus in your role? Do you enjoy having well-defined processes to follow in your work? If the answers to these questions are yes, then chances are you’ll favour working for a larger company as a cyber security specialist. Due to the greater differentiation between roles in large companies, it’s likely your role will be focused on risk management (risk controls, audits, monitoring, and business advisory services) rather than operations.

Typically, within larger organisations you’ll have a standardised first, second, and third line of defence in place. This means that top-level management, risk management and compliance, and internal audit functions all work together to monitor the effectiveness of cyber security controls.

However, if you work for a start-up, the likelihood is you’ll be responsible for all three lines of defence yourself, meaning you’ll likely have greater autonomy.

What should you include in your CV when applying to cyber roles?

First and foremost, if you’re adding a personal statement at the top of your CV then keep it brief. Give a high-level overview of your expertise in cyber and summarise what sets you apart from other cyber security experts.

Highlight your technical skills near the top of your CV – the programming languages you are fluent in, security tools you are proficient in, and your hands-on experience in areas like vulnerability management, penetration testing, ethical hacking, and network security.

Ensure you include the full details of your academic and professional achievements, not forgetting any relevant certifications. If you are still in the process of completing a qualification you can also add details of certifications that you are actively working towards, for example ‘OSCP – Completion by (date)’.

Don’t overlook the soft skills that you’ve developed throughout your career. As you move up the seniority ladder in the cyber space, communication and interpersonal skills become a crucial element of the role. You’ll need to be able to confidently articulate risk to a board of non-technology specialists using easy-to-understand language, so it’s important to highlight examples of effective communication and leadership in previous roles.

What’s your best piece of advice for a cyber security professional?

Never stop upskilling. Cyber is forever changing and there are always new challenges to tackle. The professionals who stand out from the crowd make sure they seize every opportunity to improve their cyber skills, whether it be self-taught through online research or through formal accreditation.

Look out for which tools and techniques are most popular right now and learn as much as you can about them and how to use them. There are many ways to source this information: from Twitter, tech events, news from associations like OWASP, and advisory boards.

Are you ready to take the next step in advancing your cyber security career? Take a look at our latest cyber security jobs today.

What is European Cyber Security Month?

European Cyber Security Month is marked in October and is an opportunity for government bodies to work together with private organisations across Ireland and the rest of Europe to raise awareness of phishing and ransomware across online and traditional channels.

About this author

James is a CISMP-certified specialist in senior and executive-level technology recruitment across a wealth of industry sectors, with a keen interest in the information and cyber security sphere. His passion for cyber security began over 10 years ago when he started exploring the intricacies and complexities that come hand-in-hand with the mass adoption of technology.

As the Business Director for Cyber Security UK&I at Hays, James helps tech and cyber professionals progress their careers and ensures organisations have access to the very best cyber security talent and consulting solutions to help secure their businesses.

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