A CV is a tool in which you can sell yourself to an employer. The CV should be clear, concise and tailored to the role and company you are sending it to. Any information that doesn't add value shouldn't be on the CV as it distracts from the information that does. It's important to ensure that spelling and grammar are correct and the rules of English language followed.
Operational security companies are currently received large amounts of CV's every day. With time constraints on employees they are unable to read all of the CV's in detail so must be able get the pile of CV's down to a more manageable amount. To do this, CV's that are too long, badly formatted, poorly written, or not tailored to the company or position for example are destroyed before they are read thoroughly. This then leaves a more manageable amount of CV's to be read in detail.
The Security Advisor format was designed specifically for the security industry to ensure the CV is short listed to be read in detail and not destroyed due to the reasons in the paragraph above. By reading just the bold items on a Security CV formatted CV the reader can skim read it and gain a good understanding of the person submitting it in less than thirty seconds, try it on one of our full CV examples. Therefore if the CV can be skim read it has a good chance of being short listed to be read in detail if the person submitting it has met the key information required in the job description.
The following is advice for writing a chronological or reverse chronological CV. Chronological CV's document a person's employment experience using a succession of dates. The employment experience usually starts with the most recent role at the top of the CV and works backwards towards the start of a person's career in the security industry or other employment.
After starting the CV with just your name, you should add your profile underneath. This should be a summary of your whole CV to include your most relevant experiences and qualifications required by the job description. It should be no more than five lines in length. A well written profile should be enough to get the CV short listed to be read in detail without having to read further into the CV. Leave off personal attributes such as team player, independent thinker and good communicator for example. These are the minimum required of someone in the security industry and therefore don't add value to the CV as all operators are expected to have those attributes.
Under your profile you should then add your key skills. Keep these brief though, three maximum, so the reader knows exactly what your areas of expertise are. By producing lists of key skills it makes it harder for the reader to focus on the key skills you have that are required by the job description, therefore making the CV harder to skim read.
Under your key skills the next section of the CV is employment experience, written in chronological or reverse chronological order. On the first line in bold document your job title, employer and dates employed. Under the first line then use two lines to write a summary of the role. Following the role summary, bullet point your key achievements and tasks conducted within that role. The most relevant achievements or tasks required by the job description or employer should be bullet pointed first.
Employment experience is the most important section of the CV as it is your experiences that will land you your next role in the security industry. By formatting it as highlighted in the paragraph above it enables the section to be skim read very effectively even though it makes up the bulk of the CV. If the reader only has a very short amount of time then they can just skim over job titles to see what roles you have previously conducted. If they have a little more time then they can read the job title and two line summary to give them a further understanding of that role. If they have more time then they can also read into the bullet points which is why the most relevant bullet points to the job description need to be at the top, the more time they have the more bullet points will be read.
Following your employment experience should be your professional qualifications and training. Firstly add the title of the course or training completed in bold. Then following the title of the course or training completed, if you received a qualification put this in brackets but not bolded. After the qualification then add a short summary of the course or training completed. Therefore if the reader is unaware of what the course or training is, they can gain an insight into what you are qualified or trained in. In general each course or training title, qualification and short summary should not exceed two lines in length.
By using this format it again allows the reader to skim read the CV. If the reader knows what the course or training highlighted in bold is, then they can read on to the next course or training completed. If they are unaware of what the course or training completed is, then they can read the short summary provided.
If you have a language competency then add it after the professional qualifications and training section of the CV. Less than 3% of security industry CV's have a language competency above a basic understanding. Therefore with a language on your CV you can really stand out from the crowd. Start by writing the language in bold and then after this write the level at which you are educated to, 'basic', 'intermediate', or 'fluent'.
Following your professional qualification and training, or language competency section if you have one, should be your personal Information. Items you might want include are address, contact number, age, marital status and some leisure pursuits. Also it is worth noting in this section that references are available upon request. However, don't provide details of references on the CV, have them ready at home to be sent.
The reason the personal information section is at the bottom of the CV is that personal information is only really relevant for the person who is going to be offered the job. In addition to this the information is rarely that important in securing the job, unless you are going for a job by location, so why make it the first piece of information a reader see's by having it at the top of the CV. The reason references are not added to the CV is very similar to having personal information at the bottom of the CV. References are only really relevant for the person who is going to be offered the job so why have them taking up valuable space on the CV. This space could be better used in expanding on employment experience or qualifications for example.
So that's the theory and this is how a completed Security CV formatted CV should look.
A good profile is enough to ensure your CV makes it through the initial sift to be read in detail. If you outline everything in the profile at the start of your CV that the reader is looking for from the job description then they need look no further, at the CV sift stage, as you have the prerequisites they require. The profile should be no more than five lines.
The CV must look inviting to read and easy to extract information from. If when you look at a CV it looks hard work and unlikely that you will be able to skim read it, then it will be destroyed rather than waste time trying to read it.
Only add information that adds value to the CV. No one will be put on task because they have a GCSE in history or qualification in catering. Information that adds no value dilutes the information required by the job description making it harder to identify the key requirements.
Use bold to highlight key areas of your CV to draw the readers eye to it. Don't use too much though as it will reduce the effect it has to emphasise points.
Establish yourself a professional e-mail address for use seeking employment. First impressions really do count and an e-mail from email@example.com is much more professional than firstname.lastname@example.org
Bullet points make information easier to read rather than using large paragraphs. The bullet point most relevant to the job description should be at the top.
Only list relevant qualifications, those that aren't relevant to the role you're applying for divert attention away from the relevant ones.
When you save your CV make sure you save it using your name, for example JOE BLOGGS CV. This in turn makes it easier for the person receiving it to put it on file.
When writing a CV use font 10 or 11 and an easy to read font like Arial.
Don't add educational post-nominal after your name. It makes the CV harder to read, and unless the reader knows what they represent, adds no value. Save your qualifications for the profile or professional qualifications section of the CV.
Why start the CV with your contact details, unless you are going to be offered the job they are irrelevant. Therefore why make them the first piece of information an employer views, put them at the end of the CV.
Try not to use abbreviations, unless you need to for space saving, as when reading the CV it won't flow as well.
When recruiters or potential employers ask for a CV then only send a CV, if they want supporting documents they will request them when appropriate.
Keep the CV to two pages in length, remove the information that adds the least value to achieve this.
Once you've written the CV, get someone else to check it for grammatical errors as you may have become word blind and not see your own mistakes.
Detail your name and e-mail address in the footer of your CV in case the pages should get separated when being read by a potential employer or recruiter.
If you have space on the CV, add a few leisure pursuits in your personal details section to make yourself more personable.
Don't PDF your CV, by doing so you stop a recruiter being able to format the CV if necessary before forwarding to a client.
By adding a photo to your CV you are increasing the file size. Therefore if the person who you sent it to has a full inbox yours will be one of the first to be deleted without being read to free up space.
Make sure your CV is tailored to a specific job description. Or If you are sending it to a company, tailor it towards the company. Don't be lazy and just send a general CV.
Before submitting your CV, do some research into the employer which may give you an insight into the style and format of CV they prefer.
When sending out CV's to potential employers, send them to individual e-mail addresses and not as an address group, tailoring them accordingly.
Don't send your CV to companies until you have your SIA number as you're not deployable. Instead take the time to go and meet them for an informal meeting, that way when you do send your CV they can put a face to a name making it easier to put you on a task.
Follow up sending your CV with a phone call to the person you sent it too. If possible try and get out to network with them, even just for a quick coffee. It's easier for an employer to sub contract work to you if they can put a face to a name.
Review your own CV and try to determine potential interview questions from it that a future employer may ask, and then prepare your answers in advance.
If you're sending out hard copy CV's, send it printed on two separate pages and not back to back. Therefore the reviewer can put both pages next to each other to read and not have to keep turning them over.
If you're not getting interviews using your current CV try changing the format and wording. If possible find out what the company you are applying to looks for in a CV.
Your cover letter, or cover e-mail as it has now become, should be a high level summary of your whole CV and must be tailored, like your CV, to the role you are applying for. The cover letter is your introduction to a company and in order for them to go on and read your accompanying, or attached, CV in detail, you have to show you have the prerequisites they require for the job you are applying for.
Ensure you start by addressing the cover letter to the right person within the company you are applying to, or follow the instructions from the job description on who to send it to. The layout will be similar to a formal letter and written in easy to read paragraphs.
You must state clearly what role you are applying for and the job reference if there is one, especially if you are applying to a company that is advertising a number of vacancies. Document this information in the way of a title to open the letter or in the subject box on an e-mail.
The opening paragraph should detail where you found the job advertised, and the second paragraph why you are interested in applying for the job.
Close Protection Operator - CRHEEMEA1
I am writing to you with regard to applying for the hostile environment close protection operator role of which I found on your company website. Please find attached my CV.
I am interested in applying for the hostile environment close protection operator role as I believe I have the necessary attributes, skills and experiences to successfully fulfil the position as you can see from my CV. In addition to this my work ethic and professionalism would compliment that of Control Risks.
The next paragraphs provide detail about your experiences and qualifications as required by the job description. Only add facts though like your experience and qualifications rather than listing personal attributes such as being dedicated and professional as these are the minimum you would expect of a security operator and therefore not a selling point.
In the third paragraph tell the reader a bit about yourself, highlighting your key experiences, qualifications, countries you have operated in, and the time you have been employed within each role. This is a high level summary at this stage and there is no need to go into further detail. The reason there is no need to go into detail is that just providing a summary of your experience might be enough to make the reader want to read your CV to establish more information about you without reading the rest of the cover letter. So the longer this paragraph is, the harder it is to pick out the key information as required by the job description.
I am a close protection operator currently working as a team second in command on a diplomatic contract in Iraq for Olive. Prior to this I worked with Aegis for an affluent family in Dubai and before this for Excellentia providing protection to a Middle Eastern family in the UK and Europe. Before embarking on a career in protective services I was a corporal with the 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment, completing two tours of Iraq and one of Afghanistan.
In the fourth paragraph start to outline some of the key tasks that you have conducted within the roles you have outlined in the paragraph above. This is where you have the chance to really sell yourself and show you have the experience required to successfully conduct the role you are applying for within their company.
In my current role with Olive I lead a team providing protection to Swedish diplomats and visiting VIPS's in Baghdad and throughout Iraq. Whist working with Aegis in Dubai I provided discreet low profile security and safety to a family whilst also catered for their medical needs. With Excellentia I was tasked with ensuring the integrity of the residence and planning all movement for the family including during leisure and social time.
In the fifth paragraph you can outline any qualifications or languages spoken.
In addition to my experience in protective services I am also fluent in Pashtu, Russian, plus converse to a good level in Lithuanian. I also have a degree in Security Risk Management.
Finish by saying when you are available to interview and any notice period you might need before you deploy on task.
I am available for interview from Monday the 19th of August and can deploy with one weeks notice.
End the cover letter with your signature block.