How to Get a Private Security Job: A Primer
Originally posted on https://silentprofessionals.org/how-to-get-a-job-as-a-private-military-contractor/
If you’re reading this article, chances are that you are looking for advice or answers on how to successfully secure a job in the Private Security sector. Even though this seems like a very niche and narrow subset within the broader spectrum of jobs, there are many disciplines and subsets of jobs within this sector. In fact, there are so many nuances among jobs within this sector that, very often, even seasoned veterans and contractors have difficulty navigating their way into jobs.
First, let’s separate fact from fiction about this field. The private military and private security field is not simply for ex-special operators. In fact, the majority of candidates who are placed into jobs do not come from a SOF background.
Another common misconception is that this field is only for men and that couldn’t be further from the truth. There is a great need for skilled female operators, particularly in executive protection jobs as well as a wide range of other security jobs. We have successfully placed a number of women into jobs all around the world ranging from mobile protective security specialist positions to surveillance operators.
In the near future, we’ll publish a series of articles that are more specific to different job subsets; our focus in this article will remain on the general basics of how to get started in this uniquely experienced career field.
Opportunities in this sector hinge heavily on two main factors: experience and reputation. Unlike most other jobs, your potential alone is not enough to secure a job in this sector. Whether you are looking for overseas private military jobs, domestic private security jobs, or corporate jobs within the private security sector, everything begins with a hard assessment of your actual experiences and your overall performance and reputation within this highly-skilled field. This means that if you do not have proven experience in this field, you will not qualify for any jobs -especially on our job board.
Another critical item to keep in mind is to be humble. You may get rejected for jobs for which you feel you are qualified. Few things irritate us or Employers more than when a Candidate cops an attitude, demanding to know why they weren’t extended a job offer or when they preface an email or cover letter with, “I know I’m overqualified for this job, but…”. The inherent problem with this type of attitude is that this means you are only thinking within the limits of the minimum requirements; so besides indicating a certain level of immaturity and narrow way of thinking, it indicates that you didn’t even consider the qualifications of other applicants.
The bottom line is that there may be other applicants that are simply far more qualified. In fact, it’s a good rule of thumb to live by that there are ALWAYS other highly-qualified people that exist in this world that are hungrier than you and have just as many qualifications as you, and then some. Don’t make the assumption that because something seems entry-level, that strong candidates aren’t applying to those jobs. There are a number of reasons why one job is ideal for a particular Candidate in a particular moment in time. Don’t also make the assumption that if a job requires an extraordinary amount of experience, that you are the only one that possesses those experiences and are the only one applying. If you are interested and qualified for a particular job, apply and let your qualifications speak for themselves instead of tarnishing them with a loud ego.
Finally, we’re here to help veterans find employment, period. We offer a very unique service where we are able to place record numbers of veterans into skilled private security jobs, incredibly fast. We don’t get paid finder’s fees or any sort of compensation for placing Candidates so we have no targets to meet and don’t operate like recruiters. If you have a question or are feeling completely lost in your transition process, feel free to shoot us an email or a message on our Facebook page. But because we literally get thousands of new Candidates applying for jobs in our system on a daily basis, be respectful of our team’s limited amount of time and consider the needs other veterans who are applying for jobs.
If you’re a veteran who doesn’t qualify for the types of jobs we offer on Silent Professionals, there are many other great resources out there to help veterans find employment.
THE JOB APPLICATION PROCESS
Applying for a job in a field or discipline that you’re trying to break into can be daunting, especially when the field is full of skilled and extraordinarily competitive Candidates. To begin, a few things you will need to have ready whether you apply to a job through our site or directly with an employer are: a resume, DD-214 (if applicable), and a photo. One thing that we do not require at Silent Professionals is a cover letter.
The problem with resumes and cover letters is that they are all formatted differently. There may easily be hundreds or thousands of new applicants for any particular job on a daily basis – and oftentimes, only one or two of those candidates are actually qualified. It takes recruiting teams enormous amounts of time to sift through these resumes and good people frequently slip through the cracks. This is one of the main reasons why recruiting remains one of the most inefficient and costly processes in companies around the world.
This is why we created a Candidate Intake Questionnaire in lieu of requiring a cover letter and encourage everyone to fill out this questionnaire. This intake questionnaire only needs to be filled out once, takes only a few minutes and asks specific questions around your training, licenses, certifications and experiences as they pertain to this field. Our team developed these questions based upon the most important factors that influenced an employer to discern and select one candidate over another for various types of private security jobs. It’s largely due to this intake questionnaire that when we receive a job from an employer, we’re able to instantly identify qualified candidates and reach out to them directly with the opportunity.
We also recommend that you create an online profile which enables you to apply for jobs directly on the site.
By combining these two methods of identifying and targeting qualified Candidates, we are able to maintain an extraordinary track record of success in rapid placement for even the most stringent job requirements. This is why more and more employers trust our team to identify and vet candidates for their jobs – and we see this as a win-win for both the Employer and the Candidate.
THE VETTING PROCESS
Our collective team at Silent Professionals has a wealth of operational experience in every service, branch and select unit from the US military. But we also have a broad spectrum of operational experience in jobs within the private security sector, government agencies, law enforcement, and other corporate sector industries. We heavily leverage our knowledge, experience, and networks in these spaces to personally vet all candidates who apply for jobs on our site. Our process of identifying and vetting qualified Candidates is what enables employers to place nearly everyone we recommend. Employers trust and rely upon our experience and guidance on identifying and vetting qualified candidates for their private security jobs.
We are also selective when it comes to Employer selection. It is an unfortunate reality, but there are unscrupulous Employers who fail to compensate their Contractors / Employees. Employers must have a demonstrated history of compensating people what they promised, when they promised. If we find that a prospective Employer failed in this area in the past or does not have a verifiable history, we simply don’t post their jobs.
At the end of the day, we are advocates of the Veteran Candidate. We know what employers are looking for across this entire complex and specialized sector because we’ve all been in your shoes – and we’re here to help you.
We receive countless emails from people seeking security jobs without a military / law enforcement / defense background; if you fall into this category, Silent Professionals is not the job board for you. If you are interested in the security field, we encourage you to either join the military or a local law enforcement group first; or seek a local entry-level security guard job and then find training and schooling along the way to grow your experiences in this field.
Other factors that will disqualify a Candidate – especially in the private military subsector – is an unsatisfactory military discharge, poor credit, a criminal history, or any other factors that will prevent the Candidate from obtaining a Security Clearance. Private military jobs almost always require the ability to obtain a clearance, so if a Candidate cannot obtain a clearance, that Candidate will be rejected. Private security jobs that are not specifically within the private military subset of jobs may not require a clearance, but this is where your reputation comes into play. The conditions surrounding your situation will be evaluated as well as the actions (or inactions) you took afterwards to rectify it. While rare, we understand that there can be exceptional cases and consider those on an individual basis.
By far, the most damning disqualifying factor that exists more than we’d like to admit is when a Candidate lies about or exaggerates their credentials. At Silent Professionals, fabricating or grossly exaggerating your credentials will get you banned for life. Even if you are a military / law enforcement veteran – if you lie or fabricate your experiences, you too will be banned for life. If you’re an honest person, don’t let this make you nervous. Because of our team’s experience, it is very apparent when a Candidate is fabricating their credentials versus a when a Candidate has some typos or makes simple mistakes on their resume. Our team has reach into every service, agency, company and community that touches this sector; therefore, we conduct peer reviews on every Candidate to corroborate a Candidate’s experiences and reputation prior to sending their Candidate file to an employer.
FINAL WORDS OF WISDOM
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. It’s a situation we run into EVERY. SINGLE. DAY…where we have an extremely seasoned Candidate that holds out for a “dream opportunity” and rejects every other opportunity that they think is beneath them. When the dream opportunity vaporizes (which happens more often than not), they go back to the opportunities that they thought weren’t good enough – only to find that other Candidates filled the remaining billets and those jobs are no longer available.
We cannot stress enough that until you are standing in the job and getting paid for it, you do not have the job. Honestly evaluate the jobs you’re interested in and apply for them if you are qualified (do not apply for a job if you have absolutely no intent on doing that job). Even if the compensation is lower than what you were hoping for, some money coming in is better than no money. Get the job offers first – it’s far better to be in a position to be able to choose than to have no choice at all.
Be sure to check out the Stars & Stripes podcast episode that features our founders talk about Silent Professionals’ mission to expand job opportunities for veterans – and what it takes for job seekers to make the cut.
ABOUT SILENT PROFESSIONALS
At Silent Professionals, we are a small team of former and current operators who are in operational and/or direct hiring roles within various companies across several major industries; many of us have served with each other in combat at one point or another. While we predominantly have representation in the defense and private security sector, we also have significant representation in the Oil & Gas and Tech sectors. We’re also constantly seeking to expand our network of job hiring decision-makers. We all personally understand that the professional transition is difficult – don’t be afraid to apply for jobs on our job board or sign up for notifications. You can also send us an email at [email protected].