When you are out of work your full time job becomes finding employment. Therefore you should structure it that way. The vast majority of people look for work in exactly the same way, by sitting in front of the computer and trawling the internet. Instead, establish yourself a timetable structuring your day and week into the different elements that will help you find work. Factor in breaks and make sure you have all the tools you need to help bring you success. Your structure can be as basic or complicated as you want, in line with your personal preferences. Some might opt for a school timetable style breaking the day down into hourly periods. Some may prefer just to list items they want to achieve that day. You need to structure your week in a logical order. It is important that from the start you set out your aims and ultimate goal, then use your structured week in such a way to help you achieve this.
For example, your aim for a week could be: To send my CV to a number of operational companies and meet three potential recruiters. This aim can then be broken down into three key areas, CV, researching companies and establishing contacts within the companies in order to meet them. Therefore it goes without saying in order to give you the best chance of achieving this and enabling you to meet potential recruiters, which is your ultimate goal, your CV has to be absolutely perfect.
There is no room for error at this stage as companies will not read CV's for reasons such as being badly formatted, too long, or having poor use of English language. Operators spend thousands of pounds on training courses but are getting nowhere near the interview, or meeting recruiters, stage because of a poor CV. It therefore makes sense to start the week off spending some time on your CV. So on Monday then it is time to start working on your CV. There are a number of companies out there who can write your CV for you. However, to save you having to pay for a CV writer, with The Security Advisor website there is a step by step guide to writing a CV tailored to the security industry, with examples at every step of the way and full examples at the end. It might be that when you log on you use the CV and employment package in its entirety. However you might log on and prefer to use your current CV format but with some of the website wording tailored to your experiences. Or your own wording with the format used on the website, or another amalgamation of the two. Make sure that whatever format and wording you decide to use that it can be skim read in under thirty seconds. In addition, get someone who hasn't seen the CV to check it for grammar, spelling and punctuation as you may have become word blind. For those that don't know, being word blind is when you have read something so many times that you don't notice the mistakes on it. One of the best reasons to write your own CV is that you get to know it inside out and therefore when it comes to the interview stage and you are asked questions on your CV that you can answer confidently and without hesitation.
On Tuesday, your CV is now ready so it's is time to start researching companies. There are so many companies out there though that you have to be smart about this. It's no good establishing a long list from the internet and trying to approach them all. Work out which companies deal with the area of protective services that you want to gain employment in. Then think about which of these companies employ personnel with your skill set and level of experience. But the biggest thing to establish is.................... are they actually recruiting?
For example, for those of you just entering the industry you need to stay away from those companies that request experience in the corporate close protection environment. Instead use your time and resources to find those companies that look for other prerequisites to employment. This could be Olive or AEGIS in Iraq for example who for some of their operations require eight years Army service, to have obtained the rank of corporal and have completed three recent operational tours. Or on the UK circuit start looking at companies that are happy to employ personnel straight after their CP course if they have the required personal characteristics and attributes.
Now it's Wednesday, you have your CV sorted, and a list of operational companies that you are going to apply to. Firstly though you need to work out the best way of doing this, it's no good having a great CV, having identified companies to apply to and then sending it to the wrong person. You need to spend this time wisely, ultimately it is about quality applications not quantity. So within the companies you are going to apply to you have to work out who the right person is to send your CV to. To stand the best chance, it is unlikely to be the HR department as they are the HR department for all the departments within that company so receive a whole myriad of CV's. So be specific, and make sure you get the contact details of the person who has the ability to offer you employment within that company. In companies such as Control Risks for example it will be whoever runs there Middle East or Iraq / Afghanistan desk if you want to work in hostile environments. If you are applying to companies such as Olive who use an online application form then you need to treat this with the same respect as you have your CV, and make sure it is faultless when you press the submit button. Part of my current business with Security CV (www.securitycv.co.uk or SECURITY CV on facebook) is mentoring personnel into suitable roles. The first thing i do is get their Olive online application log on details. The vast majority are absolutely shocking, no detail, misspelt and rushed. The whole point of the online application process for companies is it summarises the key areas that the company looks for in an operator. This makes it easy to read and compare personnel in a format they like to use. If a person meets this criteria then they will look at their CV in more detail. Therefore if you rush the online application, don't complete it correctly or provide enough detail they won't go on to read your full CV. So spend some time completing the forms correctly, and at the end, like with your CV, get someone else to check your application for you.
On Thursday you need to start making contact with the people you would like to meet on Friday to talk about potential employment. It's ideal to try and get in contact with those people that you have sent your CV to the day before. That way they may have had chance to read your CV and know a bit about you or it is in their inbox so can have a look after your phone call. This isn't going to be an interview or a formal meeting. The best thing to do is ask to meet them for an informal coffee. It's a chance for you to introduce yourself and let them know a bit about you. For them a chance to see, although you have the experience, you also have the personal attributes and characteristics they look for in an operator. It surprises me how few people actually do this. When working as a full time consultant in protective services for Control Risks, so the person you will be applying to for employment, we used to meet people all the time in the Costa outside of the office for a coffee and introduction. One point to note is that we never put anyone on a job until we had met them, so it's worth taking the time and doing this. Ultimately then when a job came in and we had a range of CV's in front of us it would be the ones we had already met that would get put on task.
On Friday it goes without saying, turn up smart, presentable, prompt and with an open mind! For the purpose of this blog i have used the period of one week but you can use this process over a longer period of time, taking more time at each stage and properly establishing your contacts.