There’s no question that we live in highly security-conscious times. If you take a flight, go to school, or just travel in a large metropolitan area, you can’t help but notice the beefed-up security presence. Government entities, private businesses, communities, and individuals are all looking to enhance security. These organizations want applicants with the key skills for security officers. This article will help you identify the job skills needed to get security guard jobs.
A career as a security officer can be highly rewarding and lucrative, and it’s estimated that qualified personnel will be in great demand over the next decade. These will be very secure jobs for the right people.
For these reasons, there’s a lot of competition for security officer positions, and employers can afford to be choosy about who they hire. If you’re looking for a position in the industry, it’s essential to possess the correct qualifications and skills that employers will be looking for. Here’s an overview of some of the security guard job skills a good security officer should have.
Important Security Guard Qualifications
Every state writes its own regulations to qualify for a license as a security guard, and most employers will require these things too. These aren’t skills but are pretty much essential.
- You must be 18 or older.
- Have a high school diploma or a GED.
- Have no felony convictions or convictions for violent crime such as domestic abuse, assault, etc.
- Be physical, mentally, and emotionally competent.
- Be able to pass both a state and Federal background check.
- Be able to pass any required training and exams.
Almost every state has these basic requirements, but it’s best to check the specific rules in the state you’re applying. You may want to read our previous article on the licensing process in Virginia and Maryland.
Necessary Security Guard Job Skills
These are the skills and characteristics that employers will be looking for when hiring new personnel. Most can be acquired with practice.
- Reading and writing proficiency. Most duty sites will have daily or weekly post orders, and you must be able to read and understand them to follow them correctly. Officers will often be required to submit written reports documenting their patrols and any incidents that occurred while on duty. The best way to increase both of these skills is to read. It doesn’t matter so much what you read, or whether it’s for pleasure or education. Reading what you like and what interests you will make it an enjoyable pastime, and it will enhance your writing skills too.
- Oral communication skills. You should be able to speak clearly and in a firm, authoritative way. Being able to voice commands in a way that causes people to obey is an asset that can be a great help in avoiding conflict. You should never be crude or vulgar while on the job and avoid profanity.
- Good listening skills. Not only should you be a good speaker, you should be a good listener too, which is just as important. This is a skill that can be learned. ‘Active listening‘ makes use of all the senses to concentrate on and retain the information being conveyed. It also involves communicating to the speaker that what they are saying is being heard.
- Observation skills. Anyone working in law enforcement or security should have a keen eye for detail and be able to remember what they see and recount it later. This is a key component of ‘situational awareness’, or being aware of what’s going on around you, which is your main defense against unexpectedly walking into dangerous situations. You can learn more about security observations skills
- Adequate physical fitness. You don’t have to be a large person, a bodybuilder, or a martial artist to be a good security officer. But you will be required to be on your feet for long periods of time and to do a lot of walking. And of course being fit is very desirable if you are ever in a physical confrontation. Maintaining physical fitness requires a certain skill set and mindset.
- Uniform maintenance. A security officer should always look sharp and professional. This projects authority and also makes your employers look good, which they will appreciate. Good grooming and a clean-cut appearance are a big part of this, but your uniform needs to look good too. That means knowing how to clean it properly, remove stains, and iron it so you have clean, sharp creases. There’s a reason the military puts so much emphasis on this.
- Shoe shining skills. You’ll most likely be wearing leather boots or work shoes that will need to be shined to meet company requirements and to make your entire uniform look nice. Well shined boots or shoes are arguably the most important element of a properly maintained uniform. Effective shoe shining is a skill that has almost been lost these days, unless you’ve been in the military. But it’s easy enough to learn how to do it right.
Developing or sharpening these skills will greatly increase your hire-ability in the security industry. They’ll not only help you get the job, but they’re good skills for life too. Make sure that you read these tips to help you improve your skills.