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How do you write a CISO resume?

Many people will consider themselves ‘lucky’ if they land a position within an IT recruitment firm, whereas in reality, luck rarely has anything to do with it.

Often, a formula is used within the interview process that lets an IT recruiter quickly sort out the qualified chief information security officer candidates from the rest.

Given the nature of the recruitment process, from risk management and from the recruiting firm’s perspective, the fewer interviewees that know about the specifics of these information security processes, the better.

Luckily for you, we are here to offer some rarely-found insight sourced directly from one of the top IT recruiting firms in the US.

Below we will delve deep into the secretive world of the IT recruiter job interview process and provide some actionable tips that you can use to get your information security officer CISO resume straight to the top of the pile.

Thinking of going down the Chief Information Security Officer career path?

When writing your resume, it is important to remember that the chief information security officer (CISO) is an executive-level position. Your resume should reflect this by highlighting specific leadership and management experience.

An ideal CISO resume will demonstrate the following:

– Experience in developing and implementing security strategy

– Proven experience in managing teams and projects

– In-depth knowledge of information security principles and practices

– Strong communication, problem-solving, and decision-making skills

The IT recruiter’s perspective

As an IT recruiter, I have reviewed many resumes for the CISO position. In my experience, the most qualified candidates are those who have a blend of technical skills and business experience.

It is important to highlight your technical skills, but don’t forget to also focus on your business experience.

When writing your resume, remember that the IT recruiter is looking for a candidate who can not only manage and protect the company’s information resources, but also has the business acumen to make sound decisions that protect the company’s bottom line.

The interview process

From my experience, the interview process for a CISO position typically follows this pattern:

– Phone screen with HR to discuss the role and qualifications

– Phone screen with the hiring manager to discuss the role in more detail

– In-person interview with the HR representative and the hiring manager

Tips for standing out from the crowd

There are a few key things that you can do to make your CISO resume stand out from the rest:

– Tailor your resume to match the requirements of the role

– Highlight your leadership and management experience

– Focus on your technical skills and business experience

– Demonstrate your knowledge of information security principles and practices

– Prepare for the interview by studying the company’s website and by researching the latest trends in information security

The takeaway

In order to land a job as a CISO, you need to- first and foremost- have a resume that is tailored to the role and showcases your skills and experience.

Secondly, you need to be prepared for the interview by studying the company’s website and researching the latest trends in information security.

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Demonstrating you are the right candidate to an IT recruiter requires that your chief information security officer resume stands out from the pile, and by following the following tips, you can hopefully put yourself in good stead for doing exactly that.

The candidate should be able to initiate conversations regarding the evolution of security practices while keeping the executive team updated on current and future security framework risks.

Your resume should highlight your achievements or successes in creating action plans, and business processes for the future. Your achievement bullets should be realistic, presentable, and executable.

Your achievements should also indicate how you are able to effectively communicate the security risk assessments and risk-taking ability of the organization with other leaders of the organization through security audits.

Not presenting your ability to strategize, your executive-level skills, and your experience is a huge mistake on your CISO Resume.

Show potential employers that you can lead a Cybersecurity Team using information security risk assessment methodology as well as collaborate with the Board of Directors or Corporate Executives’ project management processes.

You need to think about the skills required for the job, not just what skills you have. The best CISO resumes clearly demonstrate the candidate’s ability to lead and their executive experience.

Chief Information Security Officer Job Description Example

Governing all county security policies, procedures, and design networks, applications and installations. Establishing policies and implementing standards for 40+ departments and 900 offices. Collaboration of engineers and developers to resolve security issues in network and application projects. Present information security topics to executives, department heads and supervisories.

Not using the right Keywords

Use the job description to find the right keywords!

In the current era of LinkedIn and advanced social media tools, recruiters use ATS (applicant tracking tool) systems to shortlist the candidates they are considering hiring, so it is crucial to make sure your cybersecurity resume has the right keywords.

It is also important to “tweak” your CISO resume for each position you apply to, as each recruiter will use different keywords.

Each hiring manager or recruiter will decide which keywords are the most relevant for their business. You may have the right skills but if they are not presented properly it could be a huge mistake.

Not having the right keywords could mean your resume ends up on the rejected pile without ever being seen by a human, let alone be interviewed for the position.

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Getting too much into the technicalities

While it is important that a CISO candidate’s technical information security knowledge and enterprise risk management skills are up to date, that does not mean filling up their CISO resume and cover letter with extra information about information security so that it becomes impossible to understand. 

The people who are reviewing a candidate’s career documents, and CISO resume, may not be experts in Cybersecurity or security systems. 

Candidates forget that they are not giving their CISO resume to an IT security expert but to the CEO or the Board of Directors, who are looking for leadership skills and expertise, and project management of business units.

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Appropriate formatting and avoiding mistakes  

And the final and fatal resume mistake that a chief information security officer can make on resumes and cover letters is to have errors. 

An organization is not going to trust its information security to someone who is not attentive and meticulous. Obvious spelling mistakes and poor grammar do not present the candidate in the best light. 

Bulleted achievement statements with bolded results draw a recruiter’s eye and allow them to determine they want more information about the candidate quickly.

The Best CISO Resumes are either one or two pages.

They should be well organized, with executive qualities and recent positions at the top. It is also imperative that the information on a candidate’s CISO Resume matches their CISO LinkedIn and other online profiles.

Your job dates and job titles must match. Inconsistencies between your CISO Resume, Cover Letter, and your LinkedIn Profile are red flags for recruiters and other HR professionals.

To summarize

If you are on the search for a new CISO position, please avoid these five resume mistakes! The worse mistakes CISOs make on their resumes are not presenting their achievement or leadership qualities. The other three resume mistakes are using too much technical jargon or having the wrong keywords, typos, or formatting errors. 

If you are making these resume mistakes, maybe it is time to look at your resume. Remember, having a great resume is the first step to presenting yourself as the right fit for your next job.

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iCareerSolutions, America’s #1 Reverse Recruitment, Executive and Professional Resume Writing Services, and LinkedIn Profile Development Company. 28X award-winning resume writers deliver professional resumes that get interviews. We have successfully landed our executive clients senior-level leadership positions at companies like Apple, Amazon, EA, Oracle, GM, Google, Facebook, DoJ, Gap, and 2U just to name a few. iCareerSolutions has 200+ 5-star reviews and offers a 60-day interview guarantee. Every resume template created is Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) compatible and highly customized to meet your unique needs.8

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