If you’re reading this you will more than likely have an idea about the difference between Residential Security and Close Protection Teams. Residential teams will manage the security of the Client’s place of residence. The Close Protection teams will travel with the Client at all times ensuring that all travel arrangements are met and routes, venues and itineraries are workable and secure.
Many budding security professionals look towards Residential Security to get a foot in the door and importantly gain some real time hands on experience, before trying to secure a more attractive Close Protection position. Some will do it because it suits their lifestyle and gives them the freedom they need to continue with other projects in their spare time, and some because the Close Protective positions are often high stress with little structure in the hours and time you need to work (sometimes these are long and intense). Whatever route you decide to go down, the chances are at some point you’ll find yourself doing a mixture of both RST and CP duties. This is becoming more and more common as the demands clients place on their trusted security personnel increases. From my own personal experience this is not such bad thing at all, in fact, this will give you a more rounded understanding of the security systems in place around your clients’ residences and enable you to advise where necessary on residential security improvements as well as having that important understanding of how a Close Protection team operates outside of the gates.
In an industry that has more and more ready and available operators, most of whom are ex-servicemen and women (some of which hailing from Special Forces backgrounds), security organisations are now in a position where they can be more selective with their recruitment policies. After all, securing what we would class as a desirable Close Protection job is hard enough to do for some of the more seasoned professionals amongst us, let alone those starting out. The aim of this blog is to talk about the basic key principles of joining the security industry as a Residential Security Team member or Close Protection Operative, I’ll cover some of the job description prerequisites that professional organisations will expect you to have and offer some useful hints and tips on how to stand out from the crowd.
TREAT YOUR JOB AND THE COMPANY YOU WORK FOR AS IF IT WERE YOUR OWN
Over the last few years what’s surprised me the most about the security industry is how the levels of both professionalism and standards differ across the board. Having been lucky enough to now work for one of the best in the business and unlucky enough to previously work for one of the worst. I have seen both sides of the spectrum. What I will say, regardless of how poor the management is, or how mundane the task is, good professional operators who work to the same high standards regardless of who they work for or where they work will always stand out! Security managers will keep the phone number of every good operator they ever work with and will not for those who were in any way unprofessional at any point. These security professionals are known as go-to operators for future security related tasks. Another aim for this blog is to shed some light to those looking to get into the industry or to those newcomers who are maybe struggling with their management team on some of the less glamorous RST/ Asset Protection tasks. This will hopefully give you some much needed guidance on what you can do to make yourself more employable to the premier Specialist Private Security organisations.
So you’ve got your resettlement money to spend or you’ve saved up your hard earned money from working the door on a weekend, you’ve spent hours upon hours researching the Security Industry, not only that, but you’ve also talked to half a dozen old regimental friends who all promise that they can get you a job once you get your “ CP badge”. So, what next…. The Security Industry is awash with training organisations who will train you to SIA standards in Close Protection, First Aid (FPOS1) and Surveillance. So which one do you go for?? Personally I can only comment on my own experience with this, however, I have worked with guys who have had both good and bad experiences. My overarching opinion and advice is to go with a training provider who not only trains to a high standard, but also gives you a platform on completion of the training course to share and apply for jobs in one group. The training provider I personally used was Argus Europe located in the North East. Not only did I find the Training professionally run, informative and intense, the main positive for me has been the level of aftercare that these guys give me. In a nutshell it is nothing short of fantastic! Out of the 450+ secret Argus group Facebook members, the amount of knowledge sharing and job opportunities have made it completely worthwhile for me and have secured all of my RST and CP positions since course completion. I’m sure other providers do the same so be sure to research what happens after they get your hard earned money!
Competition for jobs is fierce, what you’ll find is following your shiny new SIA Close Protection badge coming through the post, all of the six ex-regiment friends who told you that they could get you a job have dropped off the face of the earth. So you’re pretty much on your own, well, not, however, if you made the correct selection on your training course….
Simple ways to get access to current security vacancies are to join some of the many Close Protection groups on Facebook. You will see lots of jobs advertised, each getting large volumes of response. Simply relying on getting a break into the industry this way will get you nowhere. Something that you will see lots of on the various Facebook pages is individuals being negative about other people’s success, or maybe because there was an article in a newspaper highlighting the fact that a security professional had a beard on a red carpet. My advice to you is to be the grey man at all times, do not get involved in adding negative comments about people or companies within the industry. We are all trying to make a living and commenting on situations which you and I know nothing about is just naïve and will absolutely hinder your chances of getting employed. Organisations will now look at social media to gauge their applicants, so if your profile picture is of you being bent over a fence with your pants round your ankles being spanked by a rubber duck by six drunken mates, you may want to have a think about what impression a potential employer might take from this!
Another key area you need to get comfortable with very quickly is having the ability to network, to you and me that’s just another word for talking, and the good news is, you get to do it about the thing you know best in the world, YOU!!! The more people you talk to; the more people know about you (obvious isn’t it). Below, I talk about ways to get people to remember you by thinking outside the box. Keep a record of everyone you speak to or who you send an email to; along with the date of your last communication and contact details. If you don’t hear from them within two weeks give them a call. “This is just a quick courtesy call to ensure that they received your CV” or to remind them about your conversation, showing that you’re organised and hungry enough to do this will never go against you.
Employers want to work with people who want to work, sounds like a fairly obvious thing to say but to put a little more meat on the bones of this I’ll set an example… Two men successfully make it to the interview stage coming fresh from their CP training course, one of which having recently left the army, the other has completed five years working the door at a busy London nightclub. The ex-squaddie walks in suited and booted looking smart as a carrot, freshly shaven with his brag folder having served all over the world in Special Forces detachments, still physically fit but he has let himself enjoy the finer things in life a little too much lately. He comes across well but almost expects the job to be offered to him. The ex-door supervisor walks in, again very smart, has his brag folder covering his work experience, physically; he’s very fit and he ensures the interviewer understands how hard he works on this. Once he found out he had the interview he spent 3 days in London walking and learning the streets, familiarising himself with Michelin star restaurants and local celebrity hang outs. He wanted to make sure that he had left no stone unturned in order to get the job. So, who gets the job? Giving yourself every opportunity to shine in an interview will determine if the interviewer can see hunger, drive, passion and potential, over sometimes previous experience. Obviously the latter is still a huge draw for any prospective employer but giving yourself an edge because you went that extra mile will always be seen in a good light. The question that you need to ask yourself is, what have you done differently to show that your desire and commitment to get this job is different to everybody else?
Prerequisites for the Security Industry
Security organisations will look for different qualities in their staff depending on the client’s requirements and role available. The premier organisations will look for the following
- Non-smokers- shit or bust, if you smoke, you smell!
- Physically fit and having an athletic build – regular fitness training or Martial Arts experience is an advantage.
- Confident and intelligent – you must be able to hold a conversation with high level officials.
- Driven – no stone can be left unturned when planning routes or managing the security of residences, having a lazy, couldn’t care less attitude will create problems.
- Flexible – an expectation for additional hours will be required on occasions, this has to be done without fuss or complaint.
- Positivity- There is nothing more draining than working with someone who whines on about anything and everything. Stay focused and positive at all times.
- Enhanced Background Checks – if you’re working for some of the world’s premier organisations they will want to find out everything about your past. Be honest!
- Ex-Forces – depending on the company this can differ in terms of what experience a potential employer will expect you to have. Not having an Armed Forces background often doesn’t mean you’re any less competent than the next man, However, on occasions specialist skills are required which may only be obtained from time spent in the Forces. This shouldn’t put you off, after all, having the ability to influence is an integral part in any security position!
Security Services International (Hereford) LTD
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Our next blog will cover questions you may want to ask when you land your first job in the security Industry, running through some of the critical activities you will be tasked to complete on a daily basis.