Working in the safety and security industry means becoming a protector of safety and security in your position. Professionals, however, can opt to specialize in different kinds of safety and security such as property, information, people, among other subjects. Your journey can also start in physical security as a security guard or officer, protecting the people and zone assigned to you and, from there, go all the way up to a director of security, being in charge of multi-sector security operations of global companies and government organizations. According to market trends compiled by the site Markets and Markets, the security industry projects growth by 2025. The following guide is to help you prepare well to apply for the job you want in this field.
Let's begin by looking at three different resume formats to help you identify which one is best for your specific qualifications.
Safety and Security Job Titles
Current trends impacting safety and security jobs
The safety and security industry has been undergoing many changes due to the response to the pandemic. Coupled with the rise of digital tools, security departments have had to implement new tech to stay on top of the changes. Some companies, like Genetec, OpenPath and Scylla, concur that among the top security priorities for businesses during the coming years will be enhancing collaboration between the physical security and cybersecurity teams. Improved privacy protection and automation of some security aspects using AI video analytics and AI-powered IoT devices are the main goals for professionals. A switch to remote and contactless solutions for access control, surveillance and operations are imperative to achieve these goals. Mainly, cyber-physical systems are being developed and implemented for various industries as cybercrime becomes more prominent.
Businesses recently increased their security budgets to meet the rise in shoplifting, car thefts and breaches in both physical and digital sites during the past year. A recent study commissioned by the Ontic Center for Protective Intelligence found that 64% of first respondents experienced increased physical threat activity compared to the beginning of 2021, leading to an increase in operating budgets.
These changes will require professionals to be more familiar and adept at using technology and applying cybersecurity measures. At a minimum, they should be familiar with the first lines of cyber defense, which are built-in encryptions, multi-factor authentication and password management. However, with increased budgets, administrations will hire more personnel, especially candidates who can keep up with these technological changes.
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Average salaries and employment outlook for safety and security workers
Although security job designation and salary highly depend on skills and experience, the safety and security field offers a career option for any level of expertise. These are some of the job options available in the industry:
Safety and security staff jobs
Security guards, security officers, security engineers and lifeguards are safety and security staff. These can be considered entry-level positions in the safety and security industry, needing from zero to two years of experience on average.
Security guards and security officers are responsible for providing the first line of defense in their designated area, including protecting people, property and assets. On the other hand, security engineers work on securing the organization’s database for security guards. At the same time, recreational protective service workers like lifeguards are responsible for keeping swimmers safe in pools, lakes, beaches and other bodies of water.
Job Outlook 2020–2029
For security guards, a steady growth rate of 3% is projected to generate 32,700 new employment opportunities.
With a projected growth of 3% by 2029 in protective service occupations, security officers will also see career growth.
The computer and information technology occupations are projected to grow by 11% by 2029. As the cybersecurity industry is expanding, new job opportunities are becoming steadily available.
New employment opportunities are projected to grow by 2.2%or recreational protective service workers like lifeguards.
Safety and security management jobs
This category includes security managers, directors of security and security supervisors. These positions are management-level positions. The safety and security department works as a team in an organization. Supervisors and managers are responsible for overseeing and assessing the performance of the officers, guards and engineers. In contrast, a director of security is charged with the whole department, including both physical and cybersecurity.
Job Outlook 2020–2029
Workers’ employment opportunities in the protective service occupations are expected to grow by 3% from 2019 to 2029.
Director of Security
As the security market is expected to grow by 3% from 2019 to 2029, employment opportunities for directors of security will also increase in upcoming years at a steady rate.
Given the projected market growth, security supervisors’ employment opportunities will also grow steadily.
Six of the top soft skills needed for safety and security jobs
Security personnel need a mix of soft and technical skills to excel in their career. Technical skills can be developed through training, education and practice, while soft skills are innate abilities that we grow through values and teachings.
Let’s check out some of the top skills that’ll help you stand out as the ideal candidate for the job you want:
Physical endurance and strengthMany jobs in the Safety and Security field may include frequent standing, sitting, walking and lifting upwards of 50 pounds. In roles like that of a lifeguard, the physical requirements are even more demanding, requiring you to swim at least 50 meters and tread water for two minutes. Event management roles, like that of a director of security, ask you to be physically adept in case of an attack or possible harm to executives. Thus, regardless of the position you're aiming for, it's a good idea to demonstrate you have the physical strength and stamina necessary.
AlertnessStaying alert and detecting suspicious activity is a necessary skill for safety and security roles, especially those that require surveillance monitoring, patrolling and keeping disorderly behavior from escalating. Keeping vigilant can aid you in anticipating, preventing and identifying potential risks as necessary. In positions involving cybersecurity, such as a security engineer, alertness is beneficial to catch phishing scams and security breaches that could hint at a hacking attempt.
Fast reaction timeWorking in this field means you may be the first line of defense against physical or cyberattacks. Preventing accidents, harm or infiltrations is part of your daily responsibilities. As such, you must have a fast reaction time to nip threats and hacking attempts in the bud. Situations you may be expected to subdue can range from trespassing to fires and enforcing regulations. Depending on the company's established procedures in physical security roles, you may have to alert the authorities or use brute force to prevent theft. As the person responsible for safekeeping people, property and assets, you must be able to evaluate and select among alternative courses of action quickly and accurately in high-pressure situations.
Integrity and trustworthinessAs a worker in the safety and security industry, your responsibility is to protect people, property and information. To be trusted with this responsibility, you must be a highly moral individual with solid integrity to instill trustworthiness. On top of being the go-to person for handling potentially dangerous situations and emergencies, employers will trust you to safeguard lost items, grant access to guarded areas and help others when in need. You will also follow through on accidents, theft, strange activity and other safety concerns.
Interpersonal and communication skillsWorking in the safety and security industry means you're part of a team whose main objective is to safeguard property and those around them. As such, you may need to contact peers within and outside your department and collaborate to prevent and respond to issues and possible threats. Many roles are also in direct contact with clients, staff and other colleagues, meaning that you may have to answer questions, give directions and help solve situations in a friendly and timely manner. For this, you must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills to help you work with people politely and professionally. These skills can aid you in calming down a disruptive person, engaging in small talk and effectively reporting emergencies to your peers and the appropriate authorities.
Safety consciousnessSince the main objective of the jobs in this industry revolves around safety and security, it's reasonable to conclude that safety practices and prevention are vital. If you are naturally aware of possible threats and proactively find ways to minimize them, you'll excel at these jobs. Being familiar with your company's safety policies and procedures, staying up to date with the latest safety technology and always striving to improve the safety of your assigned area are also ways you can demonstrate your disposition for keeping everyone safe.
An academic degree is essential for management jobs, but skills are equally crucial for entry-level positions. A high school diploma or GED is the minimum requirement to get entry-level positions in most physical security. Still, some employers will consider a combination of training and experience if you don’t meet this educational requirement.
Cybersecurity roles, however, require candidates to be certified, with employers also preferring those who’ve obtained an undergraduate degree. Likewise, a managerial role in physical security requires a bachelor’s or associate degree in Criminology, Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement Administration, Computer Science, Information Security, Cybersecurity or a related field, while roles like a director of security prefer candidates who hold a master’s degree in any of those fields.
Alternatively, you can also choose to opt for short-term certificate programs. Skill training and certification programs are generally more important to get an entry-level job in the security industry. Some helpful certifications and training are first-aid and CPR, physical combat, martial arts training, firearms training and surveillance systems training.
For roles in cybersecurity training and education in cybersecurity, ethical hacking, penetration testing, information security and risk control are necessary. You can get certified in these skills by the EC council, US council and GIAC.
After earning these certificates, you may have to get a state license to work in the physical security industry, depending on your state’s requirements and the specific role. You will have to undergo extensive background checks for the license, including age confirmation, medical check-ups and criminal records.
Resume examples by experience level
Sometimes choosing the best resume format can seem confusing. This section will explore the different resume formats to understand how to highlight your qualifications best. Depending on your experience level, you have other areas you may want to emphasize. For example, you may be concerned that you don’t have previous experience to be considered for a role but know you have the necessary skills to do the job well; or you’re further along in your career and wonder how to fit all your credentials in without going overboard. Since employers spend less than a few seconds scanning your resume, choosing the correct format and highlighting your relevant skills, education and experience can make all the difference in your job search.
To find out which resume format suits you best, start with identifying your experience level so you can figure out which qualifications to showcase.
Safety and Security Resume Examples
Three tips to stand out and get the job you want
While it might seem like an impossible task, landing your dream job is an achievable goal when you prepare well. Here are three tips to help you stand out from the crowd and get you closer to your career goals.
Craft a captivating resume and cover letter.An effective resume can get you in the door for an interview, giving you the chance to land the job. The best way to leverage a resume is by ensuring it provides the potential employer a snapshot of who you are as a professional. Make sure you’ve selected a resume format that fits your experience and qualifications, then review the job posting for the skills they’re looking for and add them to your resume. It’s also beneficial to accompany your resume with a cover letter. Your cover letter should be a space to introduce yourself and prove you are fit for the role. Also, make sure to include your achievements in a quantifiable manner.
Stay up to date on industry updates.With the rise of physical attacks and cyberattacks, companies are looking to introduce new technology and systems to prevent and manage their security. By showing that you’re up-to-date with the latest technology and advancements in the field, you may prove to be ahead of the competition. Subscribing to industry newsletters and watching videos on industry updates are a few ways to stay current and demonstrate your preparedness for the job.
Getting a job requires writing an effective resume, cover letter and preparing your answers for the interview process. You should read up or watch instructional videos on how to prepare for the interview process. While the questions they’ll ask vary from employer to employer, it’s a good idea to practice the most common questions and prepare your answers ahead of time. This will help you be more prepared and confident to give compelling answers that get your message across and land you an offer. Also, research the company to get a clearer picture of who you’d be working for and how you can help them by offering your security services. The more the interviewer can visualize you doing the job well, the better your chances.
Remember, the interviewer generally builds their next question from your earlier answer, so be careful about what you say and elaborate when asked about something in your area of interest.
4 Easy steps to build an interview-winning safety and security resume
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How can I get a security job?
First, do some research on available job openings. Select the ones that interest you and look at what skills and qualifications they’re searching for. If you already have the skills, experience and education they want, it’s time to start writing your resume! It’s important to note that you don’t need to have all of the qualifications they’re asking for, but strive for at least a 75% match. Making sure to include the skills listed in the job posting and adding quantifiable achievements like “successfully resolved over 90% of all incident investigations” in your resume and cover letter can increase your chances of getting called for an interview. Apply to roles you’re confident you’re a match for, even if you don’t have the required experience level, because skills are often considered more important than years of experience. When you start the interview process, take a few hours to learn and practice answering the interviewer’s questions. Most importantly, don’t give up! The job hunt can be a long and stressful time, but with some time, effort and resilience, the best opportunity for you will come.
What are the prospects of jobs in the safety and security industry?
The safety and security industry is one of the most promising industries in modern times. The job outlook in the industry is very bright, with an average of 3% growth for physical security and 11% for cybersecurity projected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With rising security risks during the pandemic, many security tech companies increased their budget for the security department. This led to the introduction of updated technology and equipment and also the hiring of more personnel. Also, recent events have led to an attempt to integrate the physical security and cybersecurity teams into a cyber-physical security team, allowing potential new roles to be introduced into the field.
What are the different job opportunities in this field?
There are usually two areas of specialty in the safety and security industry: physical security and cybersecurity. Roles in physical security are those that safeguard people, property and assets. Examples of jobs in this area include security guards and officers, security supervisors and directors of security. Roles in cybersecurity safeguard digital assets and sensitive information from getting stolen and damaged. Positions in this area require education and certifications in cybersecurity and can range from cybersecurity analyst to cybersecurity manager and security engineer. While each area of expertise focuses on a specific type of security, the current move into the digital space during the pandemic has made close collaboration between physical and cybersecurity roles more necessary than ever before.
Are security jobs remote?
Jobs in physical security are in the initial stages of developing technological improvements that allow for minor roles, but most companies haven’t introduced them yet. Possibly in the future, we may see these security roles performed from home, but that’s not yet the case. Jobs in IT such as a cybersecurity analyst or security engineer, on the other hand, can be done remotely. Still, not all employers are allowing their employees to work from home. The good news, though, is that you can potentially find work according to your preferences. Whether you want to work remotely or work at the office, there’s probably a job opening that matches your criteria.
Is the safety and security industry ideal for veterans?
Many jobs in physical security give preference to candidates who have a military or police experience because veterans have the ideal skills for most roles in the industry.