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[Sticky] Tips for writing the killer CV  

Mark Cutting
Trusted Member Admin

I was approached by a new LinkedIn contact, and was asked to review his CV. Whilst doing so, I realised that this would make a great template for others to benefit from. Clearly, you'll need to adapt it to suit your needs. If you have any questions around how to improve your CV, post them here.

Having reviewed your CV, there are a couple of points that immediately spring to mind. The layout and content is exceptional - for one page, it does sell you well, but not quite enough. Here's my thoughts
 
1. There is no "mission statement". This is the first block of text that any potential recruiter will see, and you have around 10 seconds to sustain their interests, and make them want to keep reading. The mission statement should be around 3-5 lines of text (paragraph) and should be like a self assessment in terms of the wording. It's your chance to really stand out, and you'll be surprised how well this works if executed properly. Think about the career you're looking to get into. The statement is all about impact, which is why it needs to be at the top.
 
2. There isn't any mention of the day to day in terms is exposure for the 2016-2017 role. This is the most relevant, and needs to be present to give the employer an indication of what you've been working on, and how your experience will fit into any role they are looking to fill. Avoid keyword stuffing though, as this is a common technique I see all the time. Talking the talk is one thing, but walking the walk is another. Don't write war and peace as the CV needs to be a maximum of 3 pages (2 is better). Think of it as a reference document containing bullet points with enough information to ignite interest without running the risk of the reader losing interest. On the flip side, keywords are clearly important as they are frequently used by recruiters and HR departments when looking for a suitable match - use the words wisely.
 
3. As you have exposure to the medical profession, you should consider showing a keenness to learn about HIPAA and it's associated controls. From the cyber security perspective, an understanding of policies and procedures is paramount - not just the technical aspect. Being in the medical profession provides a huge advantage as you understand already how data moves around such organisations, placing you in an ideal position to get to grips with the regulatory side.
 
4. Getting into the cyber security industry isn't easy - but it's not difficult either provided you are willing to accept entry level roles with a view to progressing quickly. However, your rate of progression is likely to put off potential employers if it's aggressive - they may feel that you will get bored and move on quickly. They only need to know the positives, not the negatives. 
 
5. Changing your career is a bold move, but not to be taken lightly. Any employer is likely to ask challenging questions around why you are changing careers, and you need to be ready with the response. You've shown commitment, but you also need to show desire. Your CV is a sales document.
 
Overall, the CV is of exceptional quality in terms of grammar and language - but it needs a bit more work is it's going to get you past the front door. These days, it's all about paper certificates over experience - you have both - but the experience is limited.  This can easily be bolstered by applying for internships, although your financial situation may make this prohibitive - it's your call. It's also refreshing to receive a covering email that uses the right approach, is exceptionally well written, and makes the requirement clear. 
 
You mention word of mouth - this is exceptionally powerful if it can be converted to written statements. I'm alluding to written references here that can be used to back up experience. Also consider milestones and achievements when developing a CV. Keep them powerful, but bullet pointed and not too long. Remember. It's all about impact if you want to get to the second round where you've managed to attract enough attention. Recruiters often trawl LinkedIn, so it's important to get as much information into here that is going to sell you.
 
One last nugget - you mentioned voting machines that you've built. Given the recent news around them being susceptible to compromise in order to affect the voting results, how would you then go about securing them ? 
 
Let me know if this has been helpful - You know where I am in you need anything else. 
Edited: 1 week  ago
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Posted : 13/09/2017 08:15
Tassos Arampatzis
New Member Registered

That is very helpful Mark, but still I have one question: I have read in many fora that a CV should be one page long. How can you shrink 25 years of experience in one page? Is the "one page" requirement mandatory or is it nice to have?

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Posted : 15/09/2017 12:48 Mark Cutting liked
Mark Cutting
Trusted Member Admin

Good question. I've always worked on the basis of 3 pages maximum. My current CV is 2 pages. You really can't cram 25 years on two pages which is why I only list the last two employers

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Posted : 15/09/2017 12:59
  
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