So you got retired from military, had your time serving overseas, got your experience within a hostile environment, paid a thousand of dollars to training courses in order to gain the skills and knowledge to operate in security industry and now you are wondering what will be the next step that will give you a job.
Looking for a job can be a challenging procedure and it can be probably considered as a ‘full time job’ by itself. You have to be ready to spend many hours online finding the right job posts and apply to each one of them, some companies will require you submit your resume and some will require your fill their online questionnaire and fill the resume (in this case be ready to spend more than 30 min online per company). Statistically we can say that you have to send out 100 e-mails with your resume to companies in order to get an answer from 5 of them, and the answer doesn’t always mean it will be positive. So that by saying, you have to understand applying for a job it will take a lot of time and you mustn’t give up quickly.
Security Industry it is still considered a well paying industry and that’s why it is a ‘’cut throat’’ industry to operate within. There are many people with great qualifications that you will have to let’s say compete.
We will try to address to you some points in order to help you understand how the procedure chasing a job can work.
-How the job market currently look for security contractors, would you get any job after your PSD/CPO/Maritime Security Training?
In order to answer this, you have to think that attending PSD/CPO/Maritime Security Training etc what you are getting is, professional skills and education like attending a College degree. Before you spend your time and your money, make sure this is the profession suit you and also study well the current professional market. No training course or training provider can guaranty you will find a job after the training is over (if some do so consider it as a red flag), can anyone guaranty you a job after your College Bachelor degree or Master degree achievement? No…it is up to you to do your homework and market yourself and your skills accordingly.
As we already stated, security industry it is still considered as a well paying industry, a thousand of dollars are spend yearly to contracts in USA and overseas. However, until you make it up there and get those well paying contracts you have to be willing to start from lower and work your steps up every time.
-Present yourself professionally
If you want to be considered a professional then you have to start looking and behaving like one. Just because you don’t own a company that doesn’t mean you can’t print some business cards. You never know who you can meet, people that can be potential clients for you or can forward your contact details to other people. So why not be prepared and have printed simple-professional looking business cards that you can handle to people? I have heard many stories of colleagues that ended talking with important people and when they had to give their contact details they had to find a pen and a paper….and I have done the same mistake by myself when I started working in security industry and I still remember the embarrassing situation when I met in a event an ambassador (female) who looked thrilled about the female close protection services and when she asked my contact details I ended writing those on a napkin…..(I am not more experienced on those issues than my colleagues. I am just consulting on using my own past mistakes and my experience in chasing a work in security industry). It is also very important to keep your business card appearance simple and professional, avoid light colors or strong words. Use an email address that you use it only for business matter and keep it with your name and last name (avoid an e-mail address that looks like: firstname.lastname@example.org…….etc. Remember keep it professional.
When it comes to your appearance, try to have a clean cut look, if someone is going to hire you to be close to important clients and dignitaries then he/she must be sure you can blend with the environment well. If you use to have a beard or mustache its ok as long as you takes care of it. Be aware of personal hygiene, yes no matter we are saying goodbye to 2012, it is sad how some people thinks it’s acceptable to have a specific scent or dirty shoes. If you are operating overseas it will be logical and acceptable but not if you are operating in Corporate Security or EP in the western world. And in this case make sure you invest some money to buy yourself some professional and comfort suit and shoes. Those will be your work tools along with your firearm.
Something to pay attention as well is your network appearance and activities. It is sad but people in security industry are also affected by personal issues and sometimes can act unprofessionally and like crying babies. Try not to take part in forums ‘’fights’’ or talking bad about other colleagues or companies, nowadays hiring companies and clients are monitoring network places and if they see you talking bad or unprofessionally for other people or companies what makes you think they would trust you and accept you to join their team? No matter how unfair you were treated by a colleague, a client or a company you must always act and talk professionally about them even after your resignation or dismissal. Your personal opinion can be left for your friends or family, in other cases you have to offer it as a professional opinion, so make sure you stick to that.
-Networking, Continuum Education and Attending Conferences
When you get into security industry what you will see is that also very important is the connections you make with other professionals, people that could refer you to other people and maybe clients. Make your contact area as wide as you can, there are a lot of jobs out there for everybody. It is very important to have a corporative, respectful and team spirit when dealing with other professionals. Just because you are already into an assignment and you get a job offer that doesn’t mean you can’t suggest someone else that is currently unemployed and have the skills for the job. Or if you know a company or a client is looking to hire someone with specific background and qualifications which you don’t have, you can always pass it to a colleague who can be suitable for the job. Bottom line, if you want to be helped by others colleagues you must be willing as well to help and not have a single player attitude.
Conferences, seminars and workshops can be the perfect place for you to network with other professionals or hiring companies, always try to save some time to attend in some and deal it as a very constructive opportunity for you to attend. Another important part is for you to understand the importance of continuum education. As there are many skilled and well trained professionals out there you have to train yourself up to date and add more skills in your resume. Have a better knowledge will add to your skills and ability to perform no matter the job position you currently have. Make sure you invest on your education and find time every year to attend a short training.
-The very important LICENSE and Certificate issue.
This is one of my favorite part from an article written by Athena Academy ex CEO, Mrs Rainey Shane.
There seems to be some confusion around the topics of Executive Protection certifications and licenses. I think this is a result of prospective students trying to break into the industry and trying to sift through the multitude of training schools, associations and the “puffery” being perpetuated by misleading marketing language.
There are multiple ASSOCIATIONS for Executive Protection Professionals, most of which charge a fee to be a member. Some are better than others as far as what benefits they offer their members. An Association is nothing more than a business created by someone who thinks they can provide a service and tries to make the security industry better. They usually have experience in the field and would like to further the industry as a whole. Some do a good job of that and some doesn’t. Either way, there is nothing special needed to create an Association other than the desire, willingness and a business license. They are not usually “sanctioned” by an overarching authority. They intend to BE the authority. For the moment we can say they are a couple of associations that are truly doing a great job.
-The Certificate Issue
Most Associations are trying to “standardize” the industry by offering their own CERTIFICATION. Their Certification is a set of knowledge, skills and abilities that they think a bodyguard should have to be successful. There again, the association chooses what to include in the Certification, there is not one set of standards. They are trying to create that set of standards. There are many differing opinions in this industry so you have to weigh how much credibility each one has. A Certification is NOTHING MORE than a piece of paper proving you attended a course that you can put on your CV to show to a prospective employer. Some Certifications will make you look better than others because of the school’s credibility. Depending the country those schools are operating, their Certificate may offer you much more cause the training providers, instructors and training manual is monitored by governmental bodies, such as Australia or UK. The fact there are standards that a training provider must met in order to teach you can add a value on your certificate and resume.
A LICENSE is what the governmental unit of your area grants to individuals that allow them to work as a bodyguard legally within their jurisdiction (area). Certifications are not Licenses. Every governmental unit has different requirements to get a license. Some may not even require you to have a Certification because it doesn’t mean anything to them. Depending the State you are looking to operate within you must do all the necessary actions to receive the licence. For example for the State of California someone must apply for a Guard Card in order to work as an Executive Protection Agent, in some States it will be required to attend a two days class and give a test (Now you are going to ask me why attend a 2 days classroom when you spend weeks attending a EP or PSD class?, well the law is the law and you have to fulfil the minimum required qualifications set by the State. Some States recognizes and accept a license that has been issued from another State, so that by its own give you a wider area to operate within. From the moment you decided to join this industry then I would suggest you do things properly and apply for licenses in those States you are interested to operate and willing to relocate and work there. For that, be ready to spend some money in fees, criminal records and fingerprints checks.
Another very important thing someone should be aware of is the CCW permit. Although I’m not a big supporter of firearms use, there is a difference between I know how to operate a firearm and I have the license to carry one and use one, from the part I just know how to operate a firearm. Yes you did your firearms training during your PSD/CPO/Maritime Security Training but that doesn’t mean you got the license to carry one. As 90% of people entering security industry are from military or law enforcement, the common sense says they already know how to operate a firearm, however what hiring companies are asking to see is that certificate specifically from firearms training organization (just to mention one here NRA) that prove you can use one, then you can go to the license part of carrying one.
When companies thinks you have a good enough resume to fill one of their positions but you are missing a license and a CCW permit, don’t think they will give you the time to apply and go through all that process. So think in advance and make sure you have those required qualifications.
-Resume writing and Applying for a job position
Many security operators will spend thousands of dollars on a close protection training course and education in technical qualifications to enable themselves to work in the protective services industry. However, many fall short when it comes to gaining employment because they have a poorly written CV which doesn’t highlight their key experiences, skills and attributes.
In order to be successful in gaining employment it is important that an employer when reading a CV gains an accurate picture of the person they are reading about. The CV should highlight operator’s key skills, if ex Forces then maybe operational experience or if not then transferable skills from the workplace such as leadership and management.
The work history should detail tasks conducted within each job. It should be easy for the person viewing the CV to read, for example not having to look up technical terms or abbreviations. It is really important to make sure that all the information on the CV is relevant to gaining a role in protection as information that isn’t relevant makes it harder for the reader to pick out the key information in the CV. The CV once written in general must then be tailored to fit the job description for which you are applying for.
The job search and application process can be a challenging, long and tedious one, consisting of many phases of recruitment, civil and criminal background checks, physical and psychological testing, and meeting each specific companies standards as a prerequisite of employment. Make sure you do all the necessary steps from your side and the most important, the best time to look for a job is when you currently have a job.
Athena Academy Founder