Best Penetration Tester Resume 2024 (Templates & Examples)

Penetration Tester Resume

Are you looking for a guide to help you understand what to include on your penetration tester resume and what to leave out? 

If yes, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll break down the critical sections of a penetration tester’s resume, including certifications, experience, and education. 

We’ll show you what you should and shouldn’t include and provide some great examples for each section so you can create your own.

Additionally, we'll provide tips on effectively showcasing your experience in each section to stand out to potential employers. 

Lastly, we'll give you a penetration tester resume example to demonstrate the appropriate format and presentation.

Let’s begin.

Elements of a Cyber Security Penetration Tester Resume

To create a successful resume, you must ensure it contains certain elements. Although we've covered this in detail in our Cyber Security Resume Guide, we’ll quickly provide you with a breakdown of which sections you should include. 

Your resume should include the following sections:

We’ll discuss these in more detail below. 

Penetration Tester Resume Contact Information

In this section, you include your name, email, phone number, and up to two links to your LinkedIn, Github, or personal site. To ensure privacy, use a dedicated email address for job applications and consider using a virtual phone number service. 

Avoid including your physical address on your resume. Hiring managers can do without it during the initial screening process.

Penetration Tester Resume Summary Section

Your summary should be concise, highlighting relevant qualifications for the role and your essential skills and accomplishments without providing your life story. Try to keep this section to three sentences. 

Here are some varied examples of how you should format the summary. 

The first two are for those moving from one pentester role to another; the next is for someone wanting to pivot from a cyber security analyst role; the last is for someone looking to move to pentesting from a network engineering role. 

If you want to write a summary but need more IT experience, see our cyber security resume article for examples of how to do this effectively. 

Example 1

Specializing in Active Directory penetration testing, I have completed over 100 tests, mastering BloodHound, Kerberoasting, and Mimikatz. I help identify weaknesses and provide solutions to mitigate them, ensuring that your organization's Active Directory environment is secure and protected from potential threats.

Example 2

As a penetration tester specializing in web applications and mobile security, I have a proven track record of conducting tests for high-profile clients. I have experience using advanced tools like Burp Suite for web application penetration tests, ZAP for web and mobile environments, and Frida and MobSF for dynamic and static analysis of mobile apps. I am eager to provide your company with proficiency in translating information from technical to executive/management terminology.

Example 3

I am transitioning from a cyber security analyst role. With over five years of experience understanding cyber threats and practical skills in threat hunting and incident management, I hold a CEH certification and excel at quickly learning and using security tools. I am ready to apply this adaptability to a penetration testing position. I aim to use these skills to help your company identify and mitigate vulnerabilities.

Example 4

I have extensive experience in network engineering, where securing network infrastructure was part of my daily routine for over ten years. My journey has equipped me with a strong foundation in network security, complemented by an OSCP certification and strategic project management skills. I am enthusiastic about utilizing my technical expertise and strategic planning skills to perform penetration tests and bolster your organization's defenses.

Penetration Tester Resume Skills Section

Limit the penetration tester skills section to five skills. Aim to list the top skills you’ll be prepared to discuss in an interview and explain how they’ve helped you succeed in previous roles. 

This will give potential employers a clear understanding of your strengths and how you can contribute to their team.

Here are some soft skills that would be expected of someone wanting to work as a penetration tester. 

  • Attention to detail
  • Multitasking
  • Communication
  • Adaptability
  • Teamwork
  • Patience
  • Leadership and team management
  • Analytical skills and problem-solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity

See Soft Skills for Cyber Security (Employers Want to See) to examine other soft skills needed in cyber security.

Additionally, include any pertinent technical skills, such as experience with Python, Bash scripting, and security tools like Kali Linux, Metasploit, and Burp Suite.

Penetration Tester Resume Experience Section

In your experience section, highlight specific results, practical implementations, and the value you bring. When possible, focus on quantifying your impact through metrics. 

A few powerful bullet points clearly demonstrate how you created value, which is more effective than going through a longer list of generic responsibilities.

When describing your work experience on a resume, it's essential to go beyond simply listing your job responsibilities. Instead, you should provide specific examples demonstrating how your work has added value and highlight your skills' real-world outcomes and applications.

Here's an example of how NOT to present your work experience:

Conducted vulnerability scans
Performed penetration tests 
Wrote reports summarizing findings
Attended team meetings

This approach merely lists tasks and doesn't showcase your accomplishments or the impact of your work.

Instead, you should aim to have two to four bullet points under each job that showcase your achievements or skills, like this:

Security Company, Remote – Penetration Tester

June 2017 – Present

  • I conducted penetration testing assessments across web applications, external and internal networks, and wireless networks for Fortune 500 companies, identifying and helping mitigate security vulnerabilities. 
  • I am an expert in using tools such as Metasploit for exploitation, Nmap for network discovery, Burp Suite for web application security testing, and Wireshark for network traffic analysis.
  • I developed custom Python scripts to automate repetitive tasks in penetration testing processes, such as network scanning and log file analysis. This increased operational efficiency by 30%.

ABC Company, Los Angeles – Senior Penetration Tester

April 2019 – March 2022

  • I actively participated in professional development opportunities, including earning the Offsec Experienced Penetration Tester (OSEP) certification and attending the 2022 Black Hat USA conference, where I participated in advanced penetration testing sessions, keeping my skills sharp and up-to-date.
  • I conducted a comprehensive penetration testing assessment against a major e-commerce platform. I identified and remediated critical vulnerabilities that exposed over 10,000 customer records and payment data, preventing substantial financial losses and damage.

Fake Company, Remote – Penetration Tester Team Lead

February 2021 – Present

  • I led a team conducting a penetration test for a multinational corporation, focusing on network, web applications, and mobile security. 
  • We utilized advanced tools, including Impacket for exploiting Active Directory environments, Burp Suite Pro for web application assessments, and Nessus Expert for network scanning. 
  • Our efforts uncovered critical SQL injection vulnerabilities and misconfigured access controls, leading to significant security overhauls and enhancing the corporation’s overall resilience.

XYZ Company, New York – Penetration Tester

April 2023 – Present

  • To enhance the accuracy and quality of our deliverables, I initiated and implemented a comprehensive peer review process for penetration test reports. 
  • This new protocol involved systematic cross-checking among team members, improving our findings, and fostering continuous learning and professional development. 
  • As a result, we saw a 25% improvement in report accuracy and a significant boost in team collaboration and skills enhancement. 

Maple Security Inc, Toronto – Penetration Tester

December 2017 – June 2022

  • Conducted over 50 client debriefs at strategic and technical levels, effectively presenting complex security findings and recommended resolutions. 
  • These interactions ensured clients fully understood the vulnerabilities, leading to the successful implementation of crucial security enhancements across their systems.
  • I spearheaded the adoption of emerging technologies and techniques in penetration testing, focusing on areas like cloud security assessments and IoT device testing. 
  • This initiative involved integrating advanced cyber security tools, such as the OWASP IoT Security Verification Standard, for IoT device evaluations and using cloud-native scanners, like Aqua Security, for cloud vulnerability assessments.

Junior Penetration Tester Resume Experience

If you don’t have direct pentesting experience, you’ll likely be looking to start as a junior penetration tester. 

In this case, include any relevant experience you’ve gained during a career change/sabbatical or other IT-related work. Here are some ways to demonstrate your skills and knowledge in pentesting.

You can highlight any skills you’ve gained from this experience that can be valuable as a penetration tester. Here are some examples you could use for different scenarios.

MSP Company, London – IT Support Technician

April 2022 – Present

  • I acquired network and security knowledge by managing and troubleshooting over 500 end-user computing devices across Windows 10, macOS, Linux operating systems, and Android and iOS mobile platforms. 
  • I improved system security by implementing patch management protocols that reduced vulnerability exposure by 40% and enhanced firewall configurations, which decreased potential unauthorized access by 30%. 

Network Company, Mumbai – Network Security Technician

June 2019 – June 2023

  • I started and led a project to update and secure network endpoints, reducing vulnerability to malware and attacks by 50% and showcasing my ability to manage and secure network environments.
  • On several occasions, I collaborated with the cyber security team to address and mitigate security incidents. 
  • I gained hands-on experience in incident response and the practical application of cyber security principles. 
  • My participation in these situations has given me a deep understanding of real-world cyber security challenges and responses, preparing me for a role in penetration testing.

If you’re making a career change into penetration testing without prior IT experience, highlighting relevant skills and accomplishments can demonstrate knowledge and passion for the field. Examples you can include are:

Career Change/Sabbatical

2024

  • I acquired hands-on experience in penetration testing through online learning, mastering ethical hacking tools like Nmap, Bloodhound, and Burp Suite.
  • I also honed SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and privilege escalation techniques to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities effectively.
  • I gained practical experience by setting up a home lab where I practiced vulnerability assessments, network scanning, and exploitation techniques with industry-standard platforms and tools like Kali Linux and Metasploit
  • I participated in online Capture The Flag (CTF) competitions, including DEF CON's CTF, sharpening my skills in identifying and exploiting vulnerabilities in a controlled, competitive environment. 

If you need more relevant experience, see the experience section of our cyber security resume article, where we discuss how you can leverage non-technical experience as transferable skills. 

Penetration Tester Resume Education/Certification Section

In this section, demonstrate your value to an employer by highlighting any school projects you completed and relate the skills you learned to real-world situations. 

Highlight industry-recognized penetration testing certifications—such as CEH or OSCP—and relate them to tangible tasks. Provide specific examples of how you applied your knowledge rather than describing the certification or providing the exam code.

We’ll show you three examples of how to best present penetration testing certifications.

CompTIA Security+

  • I developed and deployed SSL certificates for my personal website, enhancing data security by implementing encryption practices learned through the certification.

Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

  • I conducted a vulnerability assessment for a local non-profit, identifying security flaws in their network, which were remediated.

Offsec Certified Professional (OSCP)

  • I led a penetration test on a corporate network, using pivoting techniques to perform lateral movements and password-cracking strategies to breach outdated encryption methods. 
  • This assessment strengthened internal access controls and updated password policies, reducing the risk of unauthorized access by 70%.

Penetration Tester Resume Projects and Achievements Section

In the projects section, you want to spotlight your hands-on experience. This section is your chance to showcase how you apply your skills in real-world scenarios, making it an essential component for employers to assess your capabilities and fit their needs.

Valuable projects and achievements can include blog writing focused on pentesting tools and techniques and participating in Capture the Flag (CTF) competitions, which showcase pentesting skills in a competitive setting. 

Building a home lab environment for practicing pentesting skills is another great way to showcase your skills. 

Creating mock reports detailing the process of compromising vulnerable machines, such as those from Vulnhub, can further demonstrate your abilities. 

You can also include presentations or talks on pen-testing-related topics. 

We’ll now show you three examples of how you can showcase some of these on your resume. 

Writing for StationX

  • I regularly contribute to the StationX blog, which focuses on many topics related to cyber security education, including penetration testing tools and techniques. This demonstrates my commitment to advancing cyber security awareness and education.
  • I am responsible for researching, analyzing, and writing detailed articles that break down the application of tools like Metasploit and Nmap into easy-to-follow guides for our readers. I aim to provide valuable insights and knowledge to help individuals enhance their understanding of penetration testing principles.

Building a Home Lab

  • I designed and maintained a home-based hacking lab replicating IT infrastructure to test and practice penetration testing skills. I utilized virtual machines to simulate network attacks, gaining hands-on experience with techniques such as the pass-the-hash attack using CrackMapExec.
  • The hands-on experience enhanced my technical skills with penetration testing tools and techniques and honed my analytical skills in discovering and exploiting vulnerabilities. This experience has equipped me for the demands of a penetration tester role within your company.

CTF’s

  • I participated and won first place in Google CTF, facing challenges across web exploitation, cryptography, and network security. I applied advanced penetration testing techniques under competitive conditions.
  • This experience has equipped me for the challenging role of a penetration tester within your company, ensuring my readiness to perform quality penetration tests and provide valuable insights to improve the security of your systems.

Penetration Tester Resume Example

Now that you’ve seen all the sections that should be included on your resume, we’ll show you a junior penetration tester resume example.  

When drafting these sections for your resume, link the skills and experiences directly to the needs of the job you’re applying for. 

Explain what you did and how it prepared you to contribute to these potential employers. This way, you demonstrate your capability and strategic thinking, which are highly valued qualities in penetration testing. 

You can find many resume templates in LaTeX format here. See how to combine these with AI in the video below. It's an easy way to complete and export a professional-looking penetration tester resume pdf.

When applying for jobs, remember to include a cover letter tailored to the position. For guidance on crafting an effective cover letter, refer to our cyber security resume article. 

Additionally, with the increasing popularity of AI chatbots like ChatGPT, you can leverage these tools to refine your resume. 

Our cyber security resume article discusses the dos and don'ts of AI assistance, ensuring you strike the right balance and maintain authenticity.

Conclusion

With all the information we’ve provided, you should now understand what sections are important for a penetration tester resume and how to tailor your experience to highlight relevant skills and qualifications.

If you seek additional guidance on becoming a successful penetration tester, consider joining our StationX Accelerator program today. 

Our comprehensive program offers a wide range of courses, mentorship opportunities, career roadmaps, and other resources to help you elevate your career to new heights.

Level Up in Cyber Security: Join Our Membership Today!

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  • Richard Dezso

    Richard is a cyber security enthusiast, eJPT, and ICCA who loves discovering new topics and never stops learning. In his home lab, he's always working on sharpening his offensive cyber security skills. He shares helpful advice through easy-to-understand blog posts that offer practical support for everyone. Additionally, Richard is dedicated to raising awareness for mental health. You can find Richard on LinkedIn, or to see his other projects, visit his Linktree.

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