Overview

Security Guards ensure that something – be it a person, a building or an asset – is kept safe. There are several different career avenues that can be pursued, from personal security (protecting VIPs) to building security (museums, banks, shops…) and to providing on-the-door security at public venues.

Often, Security Guards have previous experience in the armed forces or police force, but it is possible to start at entry level with a good level of general education and physical fitness. You will often receive on the job training, but check the job specification carefully – to work for a contractor or agency (where you could be assigned to different security posts) you may need to be professionally licensed.

Your day to day activities will vary greatly depending on what you are employed to guard but could include regular patrols of a premises, checking alarm systems to ensure they are working correctly, controlling access to a venue to ensure everyone coming in and out has appropriate authorization or driving a VIP to and from functions and maintaining an awareness of their actions throughout the function.

On occasions, you may have to apprehend and detain someone who is violating the rules. This must be done in accordance with the law on restraints and with respect for the person being detained.

In terms of your resume, the employer will be looking for evidence of honesty, common sense, good anger management, the ability to both lead and follow, a dedication to following rules, great communication and the ability to make quick but sound decisions. You must be confident that you can protect the assets in your care whatever the situation and you must always put the safety of yourself and others first.

Pay

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for security guards and surveillance officers in 2016 was  around $25,000 per year. Salary aggregator pay scale, on the other hand, put security guard pay slightly higher, at around $26,000 per year.

Compensation varies, depending on management level, with entry-level app concerning the lease, however supervisors often earn about $30,000 a year, while security managers can make anywhere between $45,000 and $50,000 a year.

This job, however, is now is usually not salary based, and often paid hourly, instead, with the median rate being around $12 dollars an hour. Despite the high motor responsibilities generally tasked to security ,guards, the pay is relatively low because many positions do not require higher education. A high school diploma or security training alone is oftentimes enough to qualify applicants for entry-level positions.

Security Guard Salary Statistics

2016 Median Pay$24,470 per year
$11.76 per hour
Typical Entry-Level EducationHigh school diploma or equivalent
Work Experience in a Related OccupationNot Required
On-the-job Training Short-term on-the-job training common
Number of Jobs, 20161,102,500
Job Outlook, 2014-2024+5%
Employment Change, 2014-2024+55,000
Sources: U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics & Payscale

Job hunters should not be discouraged, however, as this is an industry where experience does pay off and the more qualified applicants are, the higher the rate they can demand.

Industry Forecast

The average industry growth rate projected to 2014 to 2024 it’s around 5%. The total growth rate for all occupations combined  is7%.  Within the security industry, security guards and security guards with gaming surveillance experience are leading the way, both with projected 5% growth rates. Following closely behind are protective service occupations which include things like personal security detail.

One security related job that is actually expected to shrink in coming years is that of gaming surveillance officers who do specialized investigations. Investigative surveillance officers are actually expected to shrink by 7%.

General security guard girlfriends are driven by the continued need in America for people to have both their persons and property protected from crime, vandalism, and increasing, terrorism.

The reason that gaming investigator positions are expected to shrink is because that while casinos in the gaming industry, as a whole, are growing, new technological advances in both video surveillance and anti-cheating software now make the manual job of gaming investigative surveillance redundant.

Overall, the job prospect for quality security guards is relatively robust. Occupation size as a whole is quite large, and the turnover rate is quite high, meaning there are always new openings at different experience levels and always an opportunity for entry-level applicants to get their foot in the door.

With an ever-growing national focus on terrorism detection and prevention, security guards with more law enforcement related training and backgrounds are projected to be in higher demand as the responsibilities for daily surveillance will continue to increase for many large public organizations.

Types of Security Roles

As mentioned above in the salary section, security guard work is generally broken down into security guard roles, security guard and gaming surveillance officer rolls, protective service roles, and gaming investigative roles. You can consider these sub-industries within the umbrella of the “security guard industry”.

Within each of the above sub-industries, however there are further levels of distinction between expected duties and types of employers. These distinctive types are often broken down into the following:

In-House/Proprietary Guards: These security workers are hired directly by the organization they are tasked with patrolling/securing. These are often at least year-long contract deals and pay salaries over hourly pay. Companies can range from small local businesses such as banks, museums, and mines, all the way up to large, multinational organizations that may require international travel.

Contract Security Guards: These professionals work for a “mother” security company that then contracts them out on an individual basis to other companies. An advantage here is that the agency does the hard part of finding the jobs for you as well as providing you with the necessary training to perform the job. The downside is the security company will take a cut of the contract signed with the third party business, which can sometimes result in lower average pay than if the guard was hired directly in-house.

Patrol Officers: These officers can be either proprietary or contract, but are unique in that they are required to operate a vehicle on a daily basis and are generally responsible for much larger areas than other guards. Instead of protecting single buildings, these guards are often tasked with guarding large estates, large geographically diverse businesses like mining, or border patrolling.  Competency and licensure for motorized vehicles is often required and can include motorcycles, ATVs, UTVs, boats and even helicopters, in some instances.

Security Agents: The key differentiator here is “agent”, as this is a security guard tasked with protecting individuals. These roles are often contract based and can be some of the highest paying within the security guard industry depending on the net worth of the individual being protected. Think celebrity/musician detail, politicians and diplomats and extremely high net worth businessmen.

While branding yourself simply a “security guard” is fine if you are an entry-level applicant, you will inevitably become more specialized the longer you work in the industry and it is always worth mentioning the specific role and type of work you performed in the past when applying to topically relevant positions with different employers.

Sample Resume Download

Below is an example of a professionally written Security Guard resume that you can download, print out, and use as a starting point when writing your own resume. Use this as an example only, meaning you will be including your own experiences and skills as your resume needs to be unique to you.

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How To Write Your Own

Security Guard resumes are highly skills focused. This means that as an applicant you will always want to focus on illustrating how you utilized your skill sets to not only accomplish the tasks that were required of you, but also went above and beyond what was expected to achieve above-average outcomes.

This could be something as small as using teamwork and communication skills to perform training seminars at your last place of employment, or could include models of tasers you are familiar with in addition to CPR skills you’ve acquired to help resuscitate suspects should they be incapacitated as a result. This type of employee is one employers will not see as a liability, but as an asset, and that is all that matters when trying to land an interview.

In addition to featuring your skills, you will want to be very specific regarding the types of security work you have performed. Use the above mentioned categories to specify whether you were doing in-house work or contract work. You can further refine your experiences by specifying the various types of industries in which you performed your duties. These could include companies and organizations in both public and private sectors as well as residential areas and corporate properties.

Always try to numerically quantify the scope of your duties on your resume. This means stating achievements in dollar or percentage terms whenever possible. You can also state things like acreage or square footage patrolled, miles of border secured, number of rooms in a building you secured or the number of surveillance cameras and devices you monitored.

By adding numbers, you clearly define the responsibility to the reader. Think about it, a reader in one city may have no idea the square footage or work required to secure a shopping center or sports stadium in a city only miles away. Setting these figures out from the get go ensures there is no under-representation on your behalf during the application process.

Sample Bullet Points

Below is a selection of professionally written bullet points that highlight some of the types of experiences and skills you will want to consider adding to your own resume. Take these and add to them to build a unique bullet point section that reflects what makes you UNIQUE as an applicant.

Useful Security Guard Bullet Points

Monitor and authorize entrance and departure of employees, visitors, and other persons to guard against theft and maintain security of premises.
Write reports of daily activities and irregularities, such as equipment or property damage, theft, presence of unauthorized persons, or unusual occurrences.
Call police or fire departments in cases of emergency, such as fire or presence of unauthorized persons.
Answer alarms and investigate disturbances.
Circulate among visitors, patrons, or employees to preserve order and protect property.
Patrol industrial or commercial premises to prevent and detect signs of intrusion and ensure security of doors, windows, and gates.
Escort or drive motor vehicle to transport individuals to specified locations or to provide personal protection.
Operate detecting devices to screen individuals and prevent passage of prohibited articles into restricted areas.
Answer telephone calls to take messages, answer questions, and provide information during non-business hours or when switchboard is closed.
Warn persons of rule infractions or violations, and apprehend or evict violators from premises, using force when necessary.
Inspect and adjust security systems, equipment, or machinery to ensure operational use and to detect evidence of tampering.
Monitor and adjust controls that regulate building systems, such as air conditioning, furnace, or boiler.
Source: http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-9032.00

Career Objective

The career objective is the introduction to the resume and thus yourself as a potential applicant. Do not worry, getting hired does not hang 100% on one aspect of the resume alone, but instead on the concert of actions that occur when everything is correctly written.

What do we mean by “concert of actions”? Well, this means that the purpose of the career objective is not to get you an interview, it is instead designed to get the reader’s attention (as most HRs only spend a few second scanning each resume) and prompt them to read the body of the resume. Then, the body of the resume is supposed to “sell” said reader on your being qualified for the position. At the end of the whole process, the resume itself is designed solely to get you an interview, which is where you stand the best chance of actually getting a job offer.

So, with all of this taken into consideration, make sure your Security Guard career objective perfectly conveys your years of experience and desire to work for a specific company in a specific industry and is limited to just a couple of sentences.

A good career objective to get the job done would read something like:

Highly trained Security Guard with 6+ years of experience in corporate, residential and public employment seeking a challenging position maintaining facility security with Smith & Smith Global.

Note the numeric expression of experience, the specific capacities in which the applicant worked and the specificity in the company they are applying to. Each and every career objective should be written to be unique to the job being applied to. Yes, this means you should be customizing your career objective for each application you send your resume to.

Keep things short, informative and succinct. Hit all the critical bases the employer is looking for. Reread the job description so you know exactly the experience level and type of guard they are looking for. For example, if the job description specifically says they are seeking someone with 3-4 years of experience, make sure to state you have said experience right away.

Read your career objective out loud. If it sounds like a professional elevator pitch, congratulations! You have succeeded in writing an interest- piquing career objective. If it exceeds two sentences or seems overly vague, keep working on it!

Additional Skills & Certifications

Additional skills sections are your opportunity to shine as a unique individual. Unlike the career objective, which is highly standardized and introductory, the additional skills section is the “closer” on your resume and a perfect opportunity to share what makes you special as an applicant.

Including things like language skills can be hugely beneficial, especially given the increasing numbers of Spanish speakers in America, for example.

Similarily, safety training and first aid skills such as CPR are also highly prized as it means the employer can save money not having to train you in on these things like they would have to do with a lesser experienced applicant.

Do not forget to include the intellectual side of things, as companies are looking for more than just “muscle” when hiring guards. Applicants need to be both physically capable but also intelligent. Things like critical thinking skills and problem solving skills are highly prized. Additionally, knowledge of surveillance equipment and security monitoring software are massively advantageous in this line of work. A basic understanding of state and federal laws and regulations are also good as they indicate both professionalism and desire to operate within defined parameters, which many security employers are quite strict about.

Finally, include any sort of training, coursework, or workshops you have attended that can be directly beneficial when performing your daily duties as a Security Guard. This could include things like self-defense and physical combat experience, firearms training, and vehicle licensure.

Additional Resources

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