Using LinkedIn To Find A Security Guard Job

Using LinkedIn To Find A Security Guard Job

Hey Dan! How would I use LinkedIn to find a job as a security guard?

There's an old adage that says "It's not what you know, it's who you know". In a time when good job openings seem scarce and you feel trapped in a low wage position, you need to cast a wide net to find the best employment opportunities. Resume sites, like Monster or Career Builders are a place to start, but often the posts are out of date or the positions get filled before you get a chance to apply. I've found that LinkedIn is a much better place to look for security positions.

Several years ago I met a young guy named Mark. Our kids were in the same community dance class, and over the course of a couple of months we got to know each other pretty well. Mark barely scraped his way through high school, and as a man with a wife and two kids at home, he struggled to make enough money to support his family. He was working part time for a local construction contractor, but the work was never stable. I could tell that it pained him not to be able to give his family the kind of life he thought they deserved.

I told him that I'd been in his position before, and I knew what it was like to really struggle. I'd spent enough time with him that I knew he was a good guy, someone who'd work hard if he could just get a chance. I asked him if he'd ever thought about a career in security. He told me he'd made some applications online and responded to ads in the paper, but they never seemed to go anywhere. I knew that he needed some help to get his foot in the door with the right company, so I invited him to my apartment for a little coaching in his search.

I knew right away what his problem was: the resume. It was full of holes and he had a spotty job history that would make most HR managers cringe. That's when I suggested that we try a different tactic, and take a more personal approach with LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a social networking site where you can build relationships with people in your industry, or take advantage of existing relationships to help you in your career. It took some time to fill in all of the information, choose the right profile picture and come up with a good title, but we were pleased with our work. Once we'd built Mark's profile we linked to the contacts in his email address book, so we could look at any connections he might already have.

It didn't take long for us to find a link that we could use. It turns out that his best friend from high school was still in town and working security for a local shopping center. Though they hadn't talked in a while, Mark was certain his friend would respond to a message, and help him with his job search. I encouraged Mark to send him a message to catch up, and to ask about any potential job openings with his friend's company.

When I saw Mark at the dance class the next week he was more excited than I'd ever seen him. His friend was ecstatic that Mark had gotten in touch with him. The friend talked to his boss about Mark, put in a good word, and got Mark a job interview. Though he lacked experience, Mark landed the job on the strength of his friend's recommendation and a sold conversation with his new boss.

There are three ways to approach a job search on LinkedIn. The first is to do what Mark did, and look for existing personal relationships that can get you the introductions that you need to open doors for really good jobs. This method can bring tremendous rewards, but only if you are either lucky enough to have the right connection in your network already, or you spend the time building relationships so you can form the right connections.

Another method is to use the site's search feature to look for jobs in your area. Not every company wants to pay the listing fees on the big job sites, especially if they are a small, local business. You'll want to use this approach if you are looking for your first job in security, or you plan to move to a new area and want to look for potential employers before you arrive.

If you already have some experience, you can opt for the third approach, which is to join some of the professional organizations on the site. This is a place where you can talk to others in the industry, improve your jobs skills and get head's up on job openings. The security industry is a fairly tight-knit community, and the best leads are generated through these discussion groups and community posts.

To be successful in your search for a job through LinkedIn, you need to create a standout profile that potential employers can see. To do this you need to:

  • Complete the profile: There are many different aspects of a LinkedIn profile, from your work history to a summary of your skills and even a picture. Completed profiles are more attractive to employers, and if you contact one of them through the site, they are going to look over the information you post. Be as detailed as you can, and don't lie or exaggerate the truth, because it will come back to bite you.
  • Create a catchy headline: Recruiters for the big security firms run searches for people who meet the qualifications they demand from applicants. A catchy, but professional, headline will attract their attention and get them to spend time reading through your profile. The more time they invest in looking at your information, the more likely it is they will ask you to apply for an open position.
  • Use the right keywords: Your profile will only show up in search results if you have the right keywords in your information and summary. For the security industry you want to highlight keywords like: interpersonal skills, mediate, risk management, risk assessment or any terms related to electronic communications (i.e. cameras or radios). These are the most highly sought after job skills, which means they are tied to the highest paying jobs.
  • Be active in the community: You'll probably start out with very few connections, but if you are active in the community, posting to the security groups and contributing to the discussion, your social network will grow. Eventually you can use these links to help you secure the interview you want.
  • Seek out connections: Ideally you want to shoot for 50 or more connections, including both professional and personal relationships, in your network. This makes you appear personable and comfortable communicating with other people.

If you put in the time to create a polished profile, LinkedIn can be a powerful tool to land your first job in security or to move on to a better opportunity. As with any job search, the best results take time and effort.

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