Building a Strong Resume: Core Skills for Aspiring Security Guards

Last Updated: May 15, 2024

Crafting a compelling resume involves highlighting skills specific to the job you’re applying for. Mentioning relevant certifications, degrees or previous work experience in that field is always important, but what if most of your resume is from another industry? In this blog, we’ll explore the core skills you should highlight in your resume when applying for security guard positions and how to make yourself stand out.

Consider The Type of Security

The security sector covers everything from cybersecurity to loss prevention, so it’s important to consider what type of security you’re interested in when building your resume. There are a lot of transferable skills from other careers or specializations that can help you in a security guard job, like how a computer science degree might be beneficial for a role in cybersecurity but may not be necessary for every security guard job. However, some core skills should be highlighted throughout your resume, regardless of what field of security you go into.

Communication

In all security jobs, communication is essential. Whether it’s providing clear instructions, defusing tense situations, documenting incidents, or liaising with law enforcement, your ability to communicate clearly is paramount. Here are some ways you can highlight your communication skills on your resume:

  • Use verbs like ‘coordinated,’ ‘facilitated,’ and ‘conveyed’ to describe your responsibilities in previous roles.
  • Mention previous jobs or projects where you worked with clients or led meetings and presentations.
  • Highlight times you have worked with a team and had to delegate and communicate effectively.

Conflict Resolution

Preemptively addressing situations before they become dangerous is an important part of being a security guard. To showcase your conflict resolution abilities, include specific examples of how you’ve successfully managed disputes with coworkers or clients in your resume or cover letter. These examples can also be woven in with your communication skills, and you can use terms like ‘negotiated,’ ‘mediated’ and ‘reconciled’ to describe your approach.

Observation

A key responsibility for security guards is maintaining constant awareness of your surroundings and potential threats. Consider demonstrating observation skills on your resume by:

  • Detailing specific tasks and achievements where your observation skills helped identify errors. These could be instances that others missed or that led to strategic decisions that had a positive impact.
  • Highlighting if one of your achievements from the last point leads to cost savings, improved safety or enhanced efficiency, you should mention that on your resume. The more specific you are with numbers and percentages, the better.
  • Using verbs like ‘monitored,’ ‘detected,’ and ‘identified to emphasize your proactive surveillance capabilities’

Physical Fitness

Certain security guard positions demand a high level of physical fitness to effectively fulfill the role’s responsibilities. It’s beneficial to mention any certifications related to physical fitness or hobbies that contribute to your strength and stamina, like running or weight lifting. If you have previous experience in roles that required maintaining physical fitness, like a trainer, ensure it’s clear how your physical abilities helped you.

Knowledge of Legal and Security Procedures

A foundational understanding of legal or security procedures can distinguish you in your application. Include any relevant experience, whether from previous employment or projects within the legal or security fields, detailing the specific knowledge gained. Any courses or certifications you took as part of that job should also be listed alongside it.

Emergency Response Training

As a security guard, you’ll likely be the first to respond to an emergency at your workplace. In many places—such as America, Canada, and the U.K.—being first aid certified to some level is required to get your security guard license. You should look into what level of first aid certification is required for the area you want to work in and determine if prospective employers will offer the training or if you should get it before you apply. Possessing such certification in advance can enhance your application, showcasing your familiarity with emergency protocols and ability to remain composed during crises.

Even if your potential employers will offer the training, it’s a good idea to highlight on your resume how you operate under pressure. If you have experience in high-stress roles—such as in the medical field, law, social work, mental health, bartending, or food service—detail how these experiences have equipped you to handle emergency situations in a security context.

Professionalism

Security guards embody authority and are entrusted with public safety, necessitating a high degree of professionalism. Some ways to showcase this on your resume are to:

  • Use professional language and adhere to a formal formatting style throughout your resume.
  • Mention any professional development courses or training you’ve completed.
  • Include any professional memberships or associations you’ve been a part of in school or previous jobs.

Teamwork

Security guards must excel in teamwork to uphold safety standards. In addition to emphasizing the importance of communication, it’s crucial to highlight concrete examples of collaboration within a team. For instance, describe specific situations where your collective effort directly contributed to a notable outcome. Mention if your team was able to increase cost savings or safety in your organization or if you received any Collaboration or Teamwork awards.

Critical Thinking

It’s common for security guards to make split-second decisions and continual threat assessments. Proving your capabilities for critical thinking on a resume might be a bit challenging, so try these approaches:

  • Use terms like ‘analyzed,’ ‘evaluated’ or ‘investigated’ to describe your approach to problem-solving.
  • Highlight roles or projects where extensive research and data analysis were integral to your responsibilities.
  • If possible, quantify the positive outcomes of your research or analysis using specific figures to illustrate the impact on your previous employer or project. Highlight any examples of decision-making in a high-pressure, time-sensitive environment.

Customer Service

Most security guards work closely with the public. You need to be able to interact politely and effectively with people, whether that’s during an active threat or when someone simply asks for directions. If you have experience in customer service roles, emphasize how you effectively managed diverse interactions with the public.

Initiative and Leadership

While it’s important to work in a team, you also need a lot of initiative and leadership skills as a security guard. You can highlight these skills by:

  • Citing any teams you personally lead.
  • Using action verbs like ‘initiated,’ ‘implemented,’ or ‘pioneered.’
  • Including specific metrics of how your leadership improved processes, sales, cost savings or anything else.
  • Detailing any roles where you were a ‘team leader’ or ‘project manager,’ and use these titles where appropriate.
  • Describing any leadership training programs you’ve completed.

Building Your Resume

At Security Guards Only, we have opportunities available for candidates across all training backgrounds and skill levels. Leveraging our industry insight, we recommend including these key skills to make your application more competitive. Once your resume is polished, browse our job board and find your new security guard position today.


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Jeff Ketelaars
Jeff Ketelaars
Co-founder
Jeff Ketelaars is a seasoned security expert with over 35 years in the industry. He founded two security agencies and established Security Conscious in 1990, a firm that offers high-quality training to security professionals. As a skillful negotiator, Ketelaars has secured contracts for Canada's largest security guard union, advocating for fair treatment and compensation for security personnel.

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