Technical skills are often the main focus of Information Security professionals, but what isn’t spoken about often enough are the critical soft skills needed to succeed in these roles. Certifications, accolades, and demonstrated experience are all important, but there’s more to being a successful security professional than hard skills.
Below are five soft skills you may not think of that are key to being successful in Information Security. In addition, we’re including ways you can convey them during the application and interview processes as well as your day-to-day responsibilities.
Whether you’re educating someone outside of your team about an active threat or walking them through the action your team will take to keep a threat from escalating, you need to be able to do so in a way that will make sense and reflect your team’s effort. Not to mention, non-technical individuals you communicate with may be able to help your team or department gain more visibility by the decision-makers in your organization. Because of this, being able to effectively communicate important security information to non-technical individuals is a critical soft skill to have.
You can communicate more effectively by minimizing use of security jargon or acronyms from reports and presentations. Simplifying the language used and breaking down concepts into digestible pieces of information will resonate more with your audience, allowing them to see the full value of your message.
The world of cyber security evolves on a daily basis, and to be able to keep up, it’s important to be able to quickly adapt to the changes you and your organization are facing. From new viruses and phishing schemes to brute force and ransomware attacks, you need to be able to adapt to today’s threat landscape to successfully protect business-critical information.
You can highlight your adaptability during an interview by referring to instances where you had to quickly pivot from one project to another or were faced with a new situation where you responded quickly and efficiently. Another way to showcase these skills on your resume is to note any opportunities you’ve taken to pursue skills outside of what would normally be required for your current role or the role you’re applying to. This not only shows you’re a well-rounded professional, but is also a great indicator of your ability to utilize different skills when needed.
Research & Curiosity
Given the fluid nature of cyber security and technical industries as a whole, it’s vital to keep up on the latest trends, topics, and tactics used by cyber professionals. One of the best ways to stay current in these areas is by conducting research and remaining curious. You can also pursue cyber security training and certifications. By conducting research through education, you can ensure you’re learning about the most current trends, threats, and tactics from industry experts. In addition, you can get hands-on experience and perfect what you’ve learned in a virtual environment to give you real-world exposure before landing your first cyber security job or tackling a similar situation in your current role.
To bring attention to your pursuit of knowledge, you should highlight any recent courses taken or certifications achieved on your resume and professional online profiles. This will demonstrate to a potential employer that you’re committed to your craft and have dedicated time to ensuring you stay ahead of the curve.
Contrary to what many think, cyber security careers don’t always involve working in a dark, secluded environment surrounded by monitors and code. The security of an organization is something that impacts every department, customer, and stakeholder. As a result, you’ll be asked to collaborate frequently with various groups to ensure everyone is on the same page and working together to maintain security.
As with many other cyber security soft skills, you should be able to provide examples of when you collaborated with individuals or teams outside of your own. This could include collaborating with deployment teams to strengthen firewalls, working directly with clients to create custom security plans, or educating employees on regular password changes.
Attention to Detail
Monitoring networks, identifying risks, analyzing logs, and conducting digital forensics requires significant attention to detail. Without painstakingly close examination in all aspects of your role, business-critical information can be compromised due to tiny details slipping through the cracks. Because of this, attention to detail is one of the most important soft skills cyber security professionals should have.
When highlighting attention to detail on a resume, you’ll need to provide more than just a bullet indicating you’re detail-oriented. Future employers are going to be interested in examples where your attention to detail had positive impacts on a situation or tasks you were responsible for completing. Some good examples of this would include “Monitored and secured more than 20 websites with zero successful attacks” or “Managed robust backup system project to secure all company data and reduce data loss”. You can go into more detail on how this may be relevant to the role you’re applying for in a cover letter or interview.
While technical skills are great additions to resumes and job applications in the cyber security world, soft skills are equally as important and often understated by job candidates. By identifying your soft skills ahead of an interview, you can strengthen your position as a candidate and improve your chances of landing your dream job.
Not only do these skills show you’re able to work well with others and grow within a role or organization, but they’re also the backbone of your ability to be successful in the use of your more technical skills. So as you’re getting ready for your next interview or applying to a job, don’t focus solely on your technical expertise. Think big picture. Highlight what you’ve done and learned in addition to everything you are that has helped prepare you to be successful in your next role.
Whether you’re just starting out in your IT career or taking the next steps, INE can help you develop the skills needed to achieve all of your training goals. Get interview-ready. Get hired. Get started today with INE for free.