The pandemic has been devastating on many levels, not least with its impact on the workforce – remote work, a high turnover rate, and even loss of business. There’s no shortage of doom and gloom about the state of many industries. And that alone is enough for the close protection job search to be on the rise.
The security industry is facing similar sobering consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak. Leaders have witnessed the rise of supply chain attacks and assaults on critical infrastructure. For many in the profession, this has meant departing from the norm, only to embrace new models of working and hiring staff.
Anyone looking to enter the EP profession must adapt to changing travel needs, evolving government regulations, and the hybrid work environment. A new normal for everyone, not least for providers, who must ensure their clients are safe, whether they’re at their physical workplace or working remotely.
Productiveness and Resilience – Prepare for a New Normal
Virtualizing security operations to limit exposure is a necessity many companies have to adopt. Similarly, in this post-pandemic world, the growing dependency on online networking means virtual job interviews are a hiring reality here to stay. As such, learn to acquit yourself well on video.
Gather as much information about the role, learn to project nonverbal behavior, and ready yourself for spontaneous questions. What’s more, the interview may be in the form of a pre-recorded video, giving you more time to find ways to sell yourself and your capabilities through a screen.
Note: Technology helps us to cast a wider net when job searching. And so, candidates should take the opportunity to apply to jobs outside their local area.
Now, anyone looking to enter the close protection industry or progress in their career must remain up-to-date with the changing government regulations and security guidelines. So, prepare for some of the questions any CPO in the current workforce has to answer. For example:
- How can a client be certain the vehicle is well sanitized? What kinds of quality assurance procedures should be employed?
- How can Principals know their drivers and agents are infected and contagious, or healthy and safe?
- Will testing be used regularly – through PCR tests or the presence of antibodies?
- What types of PPE do agents need to use, and why?
- What protocols are in place for agents to understand the proper way to use PPE?
Other issues promise to be trickier, such as the inevitable management of vaccine passports and travel mandates. Even so, the role that EP professionals will play in answering them remains to be defined.
Using Your Downtime to Upskill
Before the pandemic, everything was business as usual: being productive and perhaps waiting for the next great opportunity. Then came Covid-19 to change that, possibly forever. An untold number of employees are switching jobs, resigning, or unfortunately, losing their position due to cuts.
Moreover, anyone who finds themselves in this predicament should use the time to expand their skillset and increase knowledge. Reaching out to close protection training provider schools as a way to attain further qualifications, courses, and CPD is of great benefit. Many security practitioners broaden their skillset to include:
- Incident management;
- Crisis response;
- Health and safety;
- Business resilience; and
- Continuity assessments.
Now is also the time to top up training for licenses for anyone that needs it. After all, the standards for close protection will often shift, and prime recruiters tend to have a list of required qualifications to look for in a candidate.
This trend is something that individuals and, in particular, the security sector should expand into by providing crucial training and development opportunities. Professional development opportunities are more available than ever, especially with the rising popularity of microcredantials or mini qualifications. A variety of learning providers offer these short, flexible, and affordable courses.
Plan Ahead, Schedule Meetups, Network Regularly
Networking is a huge factor in the close protection job search. Likewise, when people know what you do, they’re likely to bring up your name when acquaintances ask for a good CPO. In most cases, employers tend to give positions to people they know.
Any referrals, insights, or insider information gathered through informal conversations can offer intel about what it will be like to work at a company and whether it’s a good fit for you. After all, the more you know, the more you can show your interest in the job, and are most likely to leave a lasting impression.
Don’t Be a Job Snob
In this post-pandemic period, many are finding themselves in a dire situation. Perhaps now more than ever, people will regret having turned up their noses at RST vacancies. If nothing else, taking on these smaller security gigs – like weekend festival security – helps build some experience.
Executive protection work requires the culmination of many security skills. Building a reputation for yourself may help secure more desirable close protection roles. And what better way to develop diverse capabilities than through on-the-job training.
Adaptability, flexibility, agility, and effectiveness are all characteristics that typically distinguish the merely good from the outstanding.
Close Protection Job Search Tips
Finally, if we have learned anything from the pandemic it is to never assume. Risk trends are continually evolving and as such, need to be mitigated. If not, we risk larger hazardous scenarios being created.
For those working in the EP sector or hoping to be, the focus on growing never stops. Work in close protection is constantly evolving. Professionals are tested all the time, maintaining an all-out effort to help their client, company, or organization.
In a nutshell, here are the main close protection job search tips sure to improve your chances of finding employment:
- Know your career goals;
- Plan, plan, and plan;
- Use all resources at your disposable;
- Search for professional development opportunities;
- Schedule informational interviews;
- Network regularly; and
- Sell yourself confidently.