A recent blog for circuit magazine - http://www.circuit-magazine.com/2014/08/07/invest-some-time-in-yourself/
How many people reading this article can honestly say that they put the amount of effort into finding employment that is required to find work in the security industry or to progress their career. The answer is very few, if you sit in front of the computer trawling the same sites, sending the same un-tailored CV off then there is a reason you are finding it difficult to find work. This is without doubt a difficult industry to get into, and no one is going to offer it to you on a plate. It's not going to get any easier either, but with hard work and mastering the application process you can give yourself a real advantage over those who are putting minimal effort into finding a job.
Social media provides an easy way for employers to advertise jobs, especially those that need filling in a short timescale, but competition for jobs found this way is high so you need to make sure you stand out from this crowded job market. The recruiter will be very busy which is why they have chosen to use social media so don't make their job any harder and ask them to PM you details. Instead get straight in there, don't just say you're available though, take the time to PM the person posting the role with a very short summary of your career and mention that you would like to send your CV to them. A short punchy profile from your CV is ideal for this but leave off personal attributes and stick to the facts like the roles you have conducted, who for and time employed. There's no need for them to read anyone else's CV as you've saved them the time trawling by providing an easy to read summary about yourself therefore making their already busy job much easier than those that are actually causing them an additional admin burden asking unnecessary questions or requesting more details.
You hear the term standing out from the crowd a lot but to really stand out from the crowd play the long game. If you're just starting out in the industry then you need to look further than your next pay check. To really stand out from the crowd and give yourself the potential for more, and better paid, work then a language is the way to go. Less than 1% of operators have a decent language competency on their CV, therefore you can be in high demand if you take the time to educate yourself in a language. It makes a team look very professional if they can converse with their principal in their native language. Plus you can build a better relationship with the principal than those operators that can't converse with them and it takes a level of education to learn a language so you appeal to companies as someone they can develop. Most operators have their CP BTEC Level 3, FPOS-I / MIRA, Basic Mobile & Foot Surveillance qualifications etc. Very few have a professional training competency above a level three though so again this is a way to start to stand out from your peers who have very similar backgrounds, qualifications and experience. In addition do a little planning and work out what the next industry qualifications are going to be and get them before the masses do. Five years ago the only medical qualification needed was FAAW, then it was FPOS-I, then MIRA, ATOM and REMIT................. so what next? If you wait until the next industry qualification is announced then even if you get it you'll be out of date within a few years.
It's quite incredible how much people talk about networking being the key to the industry......... but how few actually do it? If the industry is all about who you know then get to know the right people. Keep contacting those who have influence in the industry or within operational companies until they take your call. A thirty minute meeting for an informal coffee is all that is needed to establish a relationship where you become one of their chosen operators who consistently receive calls with employment opportunities. I can write from experience working with one of the big companies, we would meet those that had contacted us every Friday (so they could buy us coffee ) and the reason we were able to meet all that contacted us was because so very few people did it. Step away from the computer and lift up the phone, this really works as you're unlikely to be put on task with a reputable company unless they have met you.
If most operators are honest with themselves they're probably drifting in their career from job to job with an idea of where they would like to go but nothing in place to help them really achieve it. By establishing yourself a one, three and five year career plan it will make you focus on achieving your aims and goals rather than just letting your career develop without any real direction. Very few people do this but those that do this effectively will see much quicker progression in the industry than those that don't. It can help you plan financially so you can afford the courses you want, work out what roles you need to do and when in order to achieve that dream security industry role and provides focus to those duller times in the industry as they are all part of the wider plan to help you achieve your potential.
It might be controversial to some, but have your CV professionally written. It's no good having fantastic experience and qualifications if no one ever reads your CV, only 10% of CVs are ever read. If your lights don't work at home you get an electrician. If your car breaks down then you see a mechanic. So when it comes to finding employment why does everyone all of a sudden become a professional employment consultant. Let someone who knows what they are doing guide you through the process or spend some time researching security industry specific employment advice.
Work hard to master the application process. Find jobs that are suitable for your level of experience in the industry so you don't waste time applying for jobs that aren't realistically achievable. Tailor your CV to the job description every single time you apply for a job. Check and re-check your punctuation, spelling and grammar before pressing the send button on your e-mail. Always follow up an application with a phone call as less than 1% of people do this. Prepare fully for your interview, don't leave anything to chance. Smashing the interview can give you an edge over someone who doesn't interview as well but that has better experience and qualifications than you.
Become a student of the industry, educate yourself on where commercial security really started, the journey to where we are now and more importantly work out where it is going so you can preempt possible employment opportunities. Keep up to date by reading blogs, articles, journals, social media posts and stay abreast of current affairs that effect the industry. In addition try to play an active role in the industry, write a blog for others to learn a bit about you, offer an opinion on some of the hot topics effecting the industry, offer admin support for a networking event, help a training provider out with scenarios on one of their courses. The industry is a lot smaller than it seems and a good reputation goes a long way.
There's no need to do it alone, work on finding employment with someone who is at a similar stage in the industry as you are. Share the job hunting process, check each other's CV before sending them off, bounce ideas to gain employment off each other, attend different seminars or networking events but share the information you gain, if you find a job not quite suitable for you, it might work for your employment buddy and vice versa. This is a very effective way of finding employment but very few people do it, the more people in your group the easier it is.
In a crowded market place make sure it's your CV that is getting read. Stand out from the crowd because you've planned ahead and gone above and beyond what everyone else is doing to develop yourself. Get out there and meet the right people, build your profile in the industry by getting involved and establish yourself a reputation as a true professional. There's a lot of information out there for you to research but take some guidance from someone who specialises in this area of the industry. Most importantly though, If you really want to gain employment in the security industry then invest some time in yourself and make it happen.