LinkedIn Profile Optimization for Security Professionals

Security professionals can benefit from optimizing their LinkedIn profiles. If you have been job hunting for the last two years, you are aware of how many hiring companies are including your LinkedIn profile link in the application process. Have you ever wondered why?

LinkedIn has changed and evolved in the last few years. Today, it’s not only a professional networking platform but also a place where someone can find educational and valuable information (articles and posts), they can exchange opinions, and learn from other professionals so they can stay current with the latest industry trends.

According to Statista, LinkedIn is the seventh fastest growing brand across the globe in 2022.

Here are some interesting statistics from the Influencer Marketing Hub

-LinkedIn is a great place to find decision makers, As of late 2021, the platform claims to reach more than 65 million business decision-makers and making it easier to find customers by searching either their name, position, or company.

-20% of investors say that it’s the best platform when you want to learn about a topic.

-55% of decision-makers use thought leadership to determine which organization to work with.

-Your employees are 60% more likely to engage with posts from coworkers and 14 times more likely to share your organization’s page content and news.

-LinkedIn received a total of 4.4 billion visits from April 2022 to June 2022. This works out to an average of just below 1.5 billion views per month.

-It is a great recruitment tool, as of December 2021, there are more than 180 million US workers with profiles on LinkedIn. What’s more, over 97,000 companies use it for recruitment purposes.

-According to Pew Research Center’s Social Media Use in 2021, almost a third (28%) of adults in the United States use LinkedIn.

-The platform has listed over 58 million companies and 120,000 schools.

Most importantly, your LinkedIn profile can be the foundation for your personal branding as a security professional. Less than 10 minutes a day on LinkedIn can bring more leads to you than spending hours on other social media platforms (that are not designed for professional networking) or spending thousands of dollars on social media marketing companies who do not know your industry, therefore, your target group and what they want to hear.

When I started my career in 2002, I was a female in a highly male-dominated industry, living in a country where security was at it’s inception and, more specifically, women in the industry were something entirely new. Through this specific platform, I managed to network and reach out to colleagues and companies in other countries where, previously, I wouldn’t have been able to make my presence known. Through the content I began putting out, I managed to brand myself and my services. Almost 25% of my work and contracts are the result of using this platform.

Many underestimate the use of LinkedIn, however, If used as it’s intended, the platform can help you take your career to the next level. Personal Branding can be a very powerful tool to make you stand out and differentiate yourself from your other colleagues. People should see the value of being connected with you, and LinkedIn can help you achieve that.

Here are some simple steps that you may find helpful:

• Use a professional profile picture by following your industry’s standards (what can be accepted as a profile attire and pictures for someone who is in the fitness or show biz industry may not be acceptable for someone in the legal, finance, or security industry). Profiles with photos are considered more genuine. Don’t forget your background photo, it works as the second visual element of your profile.

• Use the headline to describe you in few words, what do you do and what are the primary attributes or skills that you want people to remember you having?

• Pay attention to your profile’s summary, it is very important you have one. This is your chance to put your words to work and describe how your skills can set you apart from others.

• Be creative with your profile summary and use words such as open-minded, problem solver, accountable, task-oriented, flexible, etc.

• List your skills, your education, and your professional experience (Please remember confidentiality and do not mention clients’ names).

• Grow your network. A major mistake I see security professionals do is they limit their network to only professionals who are within their industry. However, your network should be ANYONE who can be in contact with potential clients. Think outside of the normal. Family Offices, Household Agencies, Wealth Management companies, Legal and Financial institutions, nanny providers, etc.

• Be informed on the latest news about upcoming leaders and founders in the FinTech arena, and add them to your network. While they may not need your services today, they may tomorrow.

• List what services you offer that can boost your visibility in search results.

• Take a LinkedIn skill assessment. This usually presents as an online test, and statistic shows that profiles with verified skills are 30% more likely to be hired.

• Request and give recommendations for your colleagues. A solid support structure is the building block of your “community.”

• Share relevant industry content, news, and research surrounding studies you are involved with and also other fellow professionals’ articles as well.

• Post articles, stories, and relevant threads, that appear in publications and blogs that mention you or your company by name. By using this feature, you can draw attention as a subject matter expert.

• Follow relevant professionals in the industry. Be more active if you like their posts by liking, commenting, and sharing their content.

• Create your OWN CONTENT. We can never address how important this is and how helpful it can be to your personal branding. Being someone who adds his/her own thoughts, expertise, and questions will help you to be seen as a valuable connection. The more interesting and educational the content you share, the more you establish yourself and your expertise among others in the industry. And while you do that, do not forget the importance of engaging with your audience. Pay attention to their feedback and comments. Respond to them, have a professional debate regarding subjects but never allow yourself to be drawn into an argument that is nothing more than a troll-hunting expedition. A wise person once told me, “Never engage in a mud-slinging competion…NO matter who wins or loses, you’re both covered in mud, and no one comes out looking pretty.”

If you want to distinguish yourself as a thought leader in your niche and create your brand name as a Security provider, LinkedIn should definitely be a part of your marketing strategy.

Denida Grow

Protective & Intelligence Services

LeMareschal LLC

Athena Worldwide

Nannyguards

www.athenaworldwide.com

www.nannyguards.com

After the training what? Gaining Employment in the Security Industry

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: afghanfighter@gmail.com…….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. 

Denida Zinxhiria

Athena Academy Founder

http://www.athenaacademy.com

femalebodyguards.info

Maintain good communication and cooperation within your work area

During our career in security industry we will have to work along with people who don’t share the same work beliefs, qualifications, training and experience background with us. So even when we ‘like or dislike’ someone we shouldn’t never allow it to affect our professionalism and make us loose our target, which is client’s safety. If the client is safe then we and our team are safe too.

As we all know Close Protection is a profession that doesn’t have unfortunately until today, professional standards requirements. Each country, even each state has its own licensing requirements and in many times no training is required at all. So with this said, you can realize that you have to work and lock as a team with people who bring with them different experience, skills, training disciplines, standards, professionalism, culture, and ethics.

It is very important each one in the team to promote and maintain good communication and work cooperation with each other, the client, and of course other people who we may be in contact with (house personnel, office staff etc).

Some of the people you are working with may have more skills than you or less, may be younger or elder, so in each situation you must address your inquires to them with respect. Never offend anyone no matter the reason, never correct someone while there is anyone else in present. If you believe he did a mistake because of lack of experience or training you can ask if he/she will like you to give them some tips or advices. Not many people are open to get advices by others. If they refuse, respect it and leave it as it is.

In our work it is very important when an issue occurs instead of loosing time to find out why and how happened or whose fault is, to take immediate action and fix it. Later you can do your research within the team members and find out what happened, why and who is holding the responsibility for it. Finding who did the mistake is not for the reason to be put in the light spot and be blamed, but, inform, correct it and prevent any other similar issues in the future.

Have in mind if you are not the team leader or the supervisor then it is not your responsibility to call and talk with the person who acted unprofessionally or did a mistake. You can inform your supervisor or team leader about the fact of the incident, make sure you leave out ANY PERSONAL CHARACTERIZATIONS for your colleague who did wrong.

The main focus should be how you can operate as an individual within a team but also as a team member who its main target is clients and teams safety.

It is sad but very true and we see it almost every day in online networks or forums, people who hide behind a pc screen and a ‘’nickname’’ accuse colleagues or talk bad about them. First not professional at all, second it is not fair to accuse someone whose identity you have make sure is open and yours remain hidden and most important not able to be verified (your skills, experience, professional stand).

Personally I consider security industry forums, mostly as places for people who like to behave like crying babies, have plenty of free time (cause they are not working) and fill their lives with blaming others. Yes, definitely there are un-professionals and there are professionals as well, but a forum is not the right place to show who is who.

Be careful when you come to juxtaposition with others online, no matter the information or names they are using in networking places still you don’t know with whom you are talking with. Try to avoid those kinds of situations, and if not always try to be polite and not lose your temper. When someone is attacking you online have only one motivation, to break your inner self. Either is an ex colleague, a competitor or someone who want to fill his empty life with causing harm to those who are successful, always try not to feed them by reacting or responding to defend yourself. You, your colleagues and your clients knows who you are.

 

Closing one of my favorite sayings: IF YOU CANT CREATE IT, RESPECT IT

 

Denida Zinxhiria

Athena Academy Founder

CPS