How should you write a Network Security Engineer resume that lands jobs
There is a staggering amount of technologies working together to ensure a network and the data it transmits are protected.
Your networking skills stand at the top of the list - setting up servers, managing routers and switches, implementing TCP/IP protocols, etc.
Include any of the following network security proficiencies in your resume:
Antivirus and antimalware software
Data loss prevention
SIEM - Security information and event management
Web, Wireless and Mobile security
Each is important, but what does the job description say?
If the employer is using predominantly Cisco networking hardware and software, that must be the most prominent section in your Security Engineer resume.
Make sure you list your proficiency with Cisco security technology like:
That said, your experience with Palo Alto Cortex or FireEye solutions is also important. More often than not you will need to mix and match different technologies and vendors when managing the security of a given network.
Focus on how you used these security products to improve the efficiency and reliability of the entire network.
Did you reduce network delays from security systems by 13%?
Cut down security monitoring time by automating parts of the system?
How did you solve vulnerabilities in 3rd party software used by the company?
Your technical skills are indispensable. However, you will frequently collaborate with other departments. Soft skills like communication, organization and teamwork are sought for.
That’s a lot of information to squeeze into your Network Security Engineer resume. It’s essential that you start with an effective resume layout.
What’s the proper Network Security Engineer resume format?
There are three common layouts found in every resume out there:
The second resume example includes way more information about the applicant.
The job title is very descriptive and gives a sense of the applicant’s skills early on.
There is a GitHub portfolio linked in the second example. GitHub is the go-to community for all IT professionals, regardless if they are programmers or not.
A recruiter will scan your resume for keywords related to the job. Adding the required networking technologies, as found in the specific job offer, at the top of your resume will keep them reading.
The best way to make your Network Security Engineer summary (examples included)
So far, so good, they are reading your Network Security Engineer professional summary.
This is the make or break section in your entire resume. If you don’t make an impact now, you’re headed for the bin.
Construct your resume summary around your experience with the technologies and responsibilities listed in the job description.
Which networking systems are they working with - Cisco, Azure, Aruba?
Is the position calling for an all-around cybersecurity expert or, say, a specialist in email security to join a team of Network Security Engineers?
Your cyber security resume objective should be specific and portrait you as the perfect candidate for the job.
2 Network Security Resume summary examples
I’m a network security engineer. On my last job, I designed and configured network security architecture at the company. I monitored and maintained a network of 100 computers at the company office.
The summary above is far too vague. The only piece of information provided if the size of the network.
There is no mention of the security system installed, the networking technology used or the type of threats and vulnerabilities which the engineer had to resolve on a daily basis.
Network Security Engineer for 3 years. Professional knowledge of networking and network security technologies, as well as data management and security. Worked for a medium-sized company where I was in charge of securing a network of 100 computers using predominantly Cisco hardware and software solutions.
This summary is a bit better. It mentions the years of experience and the technology this candidate is proficient in, as well as the scale of the network he was working on.
It could still be made better by eliminating the use of “ I “ and including more specific information about skills and certifications.
Cisco Certified Network Professional with 5 years of experience designing, launching and maintaining network security systems for FinTech businesses and startups. Highly proficient in Cisco networking hardware and software (ASA, Firepower), data security and integrity, firewall management and penetration testing (Metasploit). Has managed various network sizes and maintained access control using RADIUS.
Now, this is a great Network Security Engineer summary. It lists the applicant’s experience, their CCNP certification, knowledge of various security technologies and networking hardware.
Last but not least, it mentions the industry they worked with. Financial companies are magnets for hackers. If you’re able to successfully defend a cryptocurrency startup’s servers, you have something to brag about.
What should your Network Security resume experience section look like?
If a recruiter is reading the experience section on your Network Security Engineer resume, you’ve likely passed at least one round of sorting.
The worst thing you can do now is type out a generic job description and bore them to death.
Yes, you are expected to have managed computer networks and implemented antivirus software, firewalls, encryption protocols etc.
But which ones? At what scale?
What challenges you’ve encountered?
What unique solutions you have created?
What results do you have to show for yourself?
You must be specific!
Look at the job description and extract network security technologies and skills the employer is looking for. Tailor your work experience around them to make yourself more relevant to the recruiter.
Add more skills and proficiencies to fill in the gaps.
Don’t forget about the soft skills. You will be communicating and collaborating with other departments, so you must be a problem solver, team player and good organizer.
Let’s analyze some real-world work experience samples.
Developed new network security roadmap for a branch of a world-leading financial services company
Performed pentesting Nmapper, Wireshark and the Metasploit Framework. Created a full threat and vulnerabilities report for all assets of the company network
Collaborated with the network engineers to optimize and simplify the network, removing redundant hardware and streamlining flow of information.
Overall work resulted in 9% improvement in network efficiency, while nearly doubling the effective security measures active throughout the network.
Now this is a well-crafted experience section. The applicant mentions several software products they used for penetration testing, giving a hint of what that vulnerabilities report looked like.
They state what improvements they implemented and how they improved the performance of the network - something which the employer will certainly want to know.
How to position skills on Network Security Engineer resume
“In a relatively short time we've taken a system built to resist destruction by nuclear weapons and made it vulnerable to toasters.”
- Jeff Jarmoc
Your technical skills are the alpha and omega when it comes to network security.
A Cybersecurity Engineer resume must prominently feature skills and proficiency related to networking, network security, data protection, access control and general IT / CS.
Most wanted network security engineer skills
Networking hardware - routers, switches, hubs, bridges, etc.
Networking product vendors - Cisco, Aruba, Azure, Juniper, etc.
Networking technologies - VPN, VLAN, VoIP
Network and internet related protocols - TCP/IP, UDP, IPSEC, HTTP, HTTPS
Antivirus and anti-malware software
Intrusion detection and protection protocols
Penetration and vulnerability testing - IDS / ISP
Databases - MySQL / MSSQL
Authentication and access control
As a Network Security Engineer, you’re not expected to code and program all the time.
However, as with any IT profession, programming skills will make you much better at your job and more valuable for your organization.
Top programing languages for network security engineers
HTML / CSS
Soft skills are important for network security engineers. You will have to demonstrate:
Analytical and critical thinking
Working under pressure
The space on your resume is already limited. You can integrate your soft skills into other descriptions like the summary and work experience.
How to include an education section to my resume?
Network security is a high-level IT profession. Recruiters are looking for balanced candidates with plenty of skills and experience.
A relevant university degree in Computer Science and Information Technology guarantees the candidate has a solid foundation for both their hard and soft skills.
Include your CS or IT education in the standard format.
Level of degree - Bachelors, Masters, PhD
Year of graduation
The higher your level of education, the higher you can grow in your career.
In the academic world, Network Security Engineers can become researchers and scientists and develop advanced technologies like AI or quantum computing.
In the corporate world, Network Security Engineers can grow up to a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), which is a C-level executive role.
Of course, formal education is not be all end all. With the correct certificate, you can still land a job.
These 10 certificates are must-haves for Network Security Engineer resumes
With jobs in IT branching out wildly certificates provide targeted and focused education in specific niches.
As one of the largest vendors of networking hardware and software products, Cisco has established its own certification program, providing education in computer network engineering and network security.
Volen Vulkov is a resume expert and the co-founder of Enhancv. He applies his deep knowledge and experience to write about career change, development, and how to stand out in the job application process.