Trying to break into the Executive Protection (Bodyguard) business can be challenging, but never more so than when the U.S. economy is struggling. It is important to have a strategy in place to ensure more success in both getting the interview, and succeeding once you’re face-to-face with a potential employer.
If you want to get the interview, you need to make your job search a full-time commitment. To be effective, you will need to send out 50-75 resumes EVERY WEEK. Your job leads need to be obtained from a wide range of sources. Use the internet, newspaper ads and networking sources, and consistently be on the look-out for new sources. Going to the same online job board isn’t effective–expand your resources to include every website you can find. Sites like Bodyguard Careers post job openings constantly, and we update the site every few days with new information. Stay in touch with friends or working colleagues who are in the business to learn of opportunities. Often, those who are already employed hear first about job opportunities. If you increase the number of resumes you send out weekly, your chances of landing an interview increases as well! Don’t forget to follow up with a phone call or email. Expressing your enthusiasm for the position in a professional manner is attractive to employers.
A strained economy can mean that employers can choose from top-notch resumes from individuals with the highest number of skills. If your resume lacks in skill sets your employer may be expecting, it is up to you to obtain the experience or knowledge. You can do this by taking classes, volunteering, or perhaps even being mentored by an individual who can help you to obtain the skills or information you need. One of the best ways to meet people and expand your circle of contacts is to volunteer your skills for a celebrity charity. Who would say “no” to a bright, eager, hard-working and trained bodyguard who wants to render services at no charge? One of the most powerful informational tools you can obtain is the Celebrity Black Book (see “Celebrity Contacts,” article, Sept. 19th, 2007). This book can help to expand your resume database. Read all that you can to round out your knowledge on the latest skills. If at all possible, read other resumes to see what your competition has got that you may not. Ask friends in the business to send you their resumes so you can peruse them. Don’t forget, that as in every career, you may need to “pay dues” and take a lower-level position in order to garner experience.
At this time, bodyguards with skills as an EMT or paramedic are extremely valuable. If these are skills you are lacking, sign up for CPR training or take classes in medical emergency procedures. If you live in an area where a high percentage of the population speaks another language, learn that language. Did you know Spanish is the 2nd most used language behind English?
Don’t forget, the strength of your resume lies not only in the content, but also in the clarity and grammar. If you cannot spell, be sure to use spell-check on your resume. Ask a friend who has the writing skills you may lack to look at your resume and cover letter, and offer editing suggestions. Spend the money to work with a professional who can make your materials shine.
Lastly, determine your top three skills, and create different resumes for the types of jobs you are seeking. If one employer is seeking a military background–be sure that is a skill you highlight in your cover letter and perhaps place at the top of your resume. You have experience working on evacuation plans? Create a resume that you will send to employers who seek that skill first and foremost. You need to send the most appropriate resume to your targeted employer. Read the employer’s job description carefully, and educate yourself regarding the company or celebrity or executive. Determine what the past needs have been, or what problems they’ve encountered, so you can be the eagerly-anticipated solution to those problems.
If you get the interview, but are not getting the job offer, you may have the basic skills the employer needs but not the advanced skills they want–see if you can determine what skills you were lacking, and use the tips above to help you.
You may be lacking in your abilities to market yourself at the interview. Consider taking a class to improve the quality of your interpersonal communications and interviewing skills. Ask someone to role-play an interview with you. Conduct a “trial interview” and videotape it to study your behavior, speech, and ability to adequately market your skills. Select three things about yourself that you want the employer to know about you by the end of your interview. Do you have an on-the-job story that highlights your skills? Find a way to incorporate that into the interview. Maintain eye contact, but not excessively. Match your communication style to the interviewer’s style. If the feel is formal, then treat the interview formally. If it’s a little looser, more relaxed, match that (without overdoing it!) Review and know your resume and fortify it with more details than indicated on the resume during the interview. Keep your responses brief and always to the point. Whatever you do, DO NOT reveal any information about your prior employers that is of a confidential nature. Remember that most security details require discretion, and the job interview is one place where you must exhibit your ability to be professional and discreet.
Finally, dress for success and don’t go overboard with fragrance. You’d be surprised how many employers are put off by strong perfumes or colognes. Polish your shoes, get a haircut and present your most articulate, best-groomed self. Be sure to bring along any copies of letters of recommendation, contact information for your references or prior employers, and a positive, upbeat attitude. After the interview, drop a thank you note in the mail. You may not be right for this position at this time, but the circle in this line of work can be small, and another opportunity may come your way–a thank you note is a nice way to be remembered and to thank the interviewer for their time.
BEST WISHES FOR A SUCCESSFUL JOB SEARCH!