Improve your job search prospects and find work in close protection

9 Ways To Improve Your Job Search In Close Protection?

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    The only reason you cannot find work is that you have not spent enough time looking, or you don’t know how to!


    Understanding why you’re not finding work

    The phone does not start ringing just because you have spent all your savings on a training course! Furthermore, you can have the best product in the world, but it is ineffective if no-one knows about it.

    This might seem blunt and to the point, but you really must ask yourself these vital questions during the job search process if you ever hope to become a protection officer.

    With more than 14,000 CP licences in the UK, why should any employer pick you from a large and growing pile? This is the question we’re going to help you to answer to improve your job search prospects.


    1. Direct your job search

    One of the most important things you can do is to decide very early in your career which environment and in which speciality you wish to work? Until you make these fundamental decisions, your job search will be more opportunist than directed.

    Do you want to work abroad or in the UK? If abroad, where? Define specific areas or countries and don’t just say you can work anywhere, because quite simply; you cannot. So, be specific; do you want to go to Iraq, Afghanistan, Liberia, Congo, Russia, Mexico, Eastern Europe, Asia? If you’re going to stay in the UK, or western Europe, are you interested in corporate or celebrity protection? What about events, concerts, galas, opening nights, conferences, witness protection, residential security, corporate security, child protection, stalking consultancy, etc.?

    Search the BBA Job board to see global employment opportunities.


    2. Be realistic and know your strengths and weaknesses.

    Next, look at yourself and be realistic about in which sector of CP you’re best suited for. For instance, if you are 6’5″, shaven-headed and 250lbs, it’s less likely you will find instant success applying for a position looking after children or the aristocracy, or even within much of the corporate sector; celebrity protection is a much more realistic option. And likewise, if you have a slight and unimposing frame, you probably won’t get celebrity work, even if you are a combat specialist, but in the corporate world, you’d blend in.

    So, by considering all these factors, you are more analytic and more strategic in your decision making. Searching for work is now becoming a little easier!


    3. Create a daily habit

    Use the Internet extensively as a job-search resource. Set aside at least an hour a day, every day. Research who the employers are, in what sectors they operate, and note those that are actively recruiting. Make this a daily ritual and approach it with a positive mindset. The story you tell yourself is the one you’re most likely to realise.

    Remember, you will only ever get out what you put in!


    4. Gather data on employers and industry sectors

    Make a list of employers and contractors operating within your specified locations, areas of speciality and expertise.

    Do not try to target all of the thousands of security companies out there, narrow it down and concentrate on a small selection. Make your daily target to find just five security companies worldwide (within your target market), do that six days a week, you will have found 30 credible, potential employers, 120 after a month! The Security Providers Directory on the BBA website is a great place to start with your list building.

    From your list of companies, check for those that are advertising vacancies, and if they’re aligned to your skills and experience, then apply! However, and this is important if their website says they are not accepting CVs, then don’t just send them your CV anyway. Not only will it not get looked at, but you may even find yourself blacklisted simply because you could not follow the basic instructions on their website. Instead, keep a note of the company and the website for future reference and check back with them regularly.


    5. Reach out, connect, make a good impression

    Notwithstanding the above, many security companies choose not to advertise their positions. So, sending your CV cold might be the only option, though where possible, call ahead first and ask for the name and contact details of recruitment and if it’s okay to send a copy of your CV.

    If employers are not recruiting, be polite, establish a rapport, and arrange to call them back at a later date. Obviously, if their website says that phone enquiries are not welcome, then don’t call them either! Remember, wasting the time of a recruitment officer or the HR department does not bode well for your future employment prospects.


    6. Keep a detailed record of your job search.

    Keep detailed notes on who you’ve reached out to; it’s important to record where you’ve sent your CV, who replied, along with follow-up instructions to yourself.

    Get names and direct telephone numbers if possible, and once you have agreed to send your CV to a recruitment officer, always follow it up with a telephone call a week or so later.

    Ask them if they received your CV? Did they manage to read it? And if not, ask when a good time would be to call them back?

    If you are told you are not suitable, try to find out why. This is important because, if you keep getting knocked back for the same reason, you will want to do something about it. Don’t be overbearing and don’t harass them, but if you can, try to develop an ongoing rapport with HR.


    7. Your most important asset in the job search

    Naturally, you’ll want to make sure your CV and covering letter are perfect – no spelling or grammar issues but also tailored to the job/sector for which you’re applying. 

    We provide lots of templates and advice for our members inside the Association.


    8. Professional networking – still a viable method of finding work?

    In close protection, because of the nature of the job and close dependence on the team unit, CPOs naturally tend to work with people they know and trust. Therefore, effective networking is imperative. You’ll have heard the saying, ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know,’ and nowhere is this more relevant than in the protection industry. Many positions are filled not by a formal recruitment process but from referrals and recommendations. And so, it is vitally important to make contact with as many people in the industry as you possibly can, as one of them might just one day give you that vital’ heads up’ on a great position.

    Through our BBA Connect app, in-person events, and online seminars, the Association is one of the easiest ways for newcomers to the industry to become part of a network of respected and experienced security professionals.

    As a group, you can achieve much more than you could as an individual; however, not all industry groups and forums are built equally. It is crucial to find a network where you feel comfortable asking questions and that the help is genuine and accurate. The BBA maintains a strict no BS policy.


    9. Other sources of information

    As well as joining the forums, allocate a budget for joining good security and protection related associations and subscribing to security magazines, as well as attending as many network events as you can. These are not only really great ways of developing your knowledge base but can also give you some great information on contracting, company take-overs, tendering, etc., which could help in your search for work.



    As you can see, the path to a successful career in protection may be a long and winding one, but by establishing some good practices early on it, you will have a roadmap and avoid getting lost in the job search wilderness.


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