Someone asked me an excellent question yesterday about how to go about framing home lab experience into professional experience. I thought I could explain it best in a blog post with examples, so here it goes…
A decade prior to entering the DFIR field, I was in technical support for about a year. I then moved to a very non-technical Identity & Access Management role for several years (think Excel spreadsheets all day long). Most of my technical experience was from what I did in my home lab. Keep in mind, I am by no means a resume expert, but this is how I have done it.
I have two sections under “Skills”, on my resume: Work Experience, and Training.
Under Work Experience, I list my verifiable work experience. Under Training, I list things I have done in my home lab or taken courses on. If you’re like me and have done a ton of different things in your home lab, the Training list would be pretty long. I suggest tailoring your resume for each job you apply to.
Let’s take this random job posting as an example:
If I see anything in the job description that I practiced in my home lab, I will change the Training section for that particular job like this:
In addition, I typically write a cover letter that includes at least one sentence about my home lab such as: “I have practiced creating disk images of hard drives with FTK Imager and forensically analyzing them using Autopsy in my home lab”.
Now, some hiring managers could care less about a home lab and only want people with verifiable work experience. Others will ask you questions about your setup and how you went about doing what you listed. I hope this helps!
For Sample Resume’s and Cover Letters check out: