Writing A Winning CV For Security Employment
AN IMPORTANT STEP IN LANDING THE RIGHT SECURITY JOB!
You only get one chance to make a first impression – a statement that’s never truer than when you submit your CV. If it doesn’t stand out, it’s just bin fodder.
The employment market is a very competitive place. If you want to give yourself the best possible chance of getting the job you are applying for, you need an excellent CV. Easy to say, but many people either struggle to put forward a convincing case, or fall in to the trap of over-stating their abilities.
The human resources professional who receives your application will see dozens, perhaps hundreds, for the same position. So how can you make yours stand out? Let’s look at a few tips for getting your CV to the top of the pile.
THE PURPOSE OF YOUR CV
The purpose of your CV is not to try to get you a security job – it’s to get you an interview. It’s to make you appear skilled enough and interesting enough for your prospective security employer to want to meet you to discuss things further.
So don’t give your whole life history. Your date and place of birth should be there, your education and relevant qualifications need to be listed and, of course, your employment history – but it needs to be concise. You’re not writing a novel, you’re giving factual information. If you’ve got five or six pages, you need to throw three or four of them away!
People worry too much about leaving out important information. For the most part, the detail required is: name of employer, date you started and finished, your role (or roles) and responsibilities. Keep things short by using bullet points to summarise. Rather than: “It was my responsibility to handle the day to day work assignments for a team of four” put: “Managed a team of four.” It’s the same information, but a third of the words. When your CV is in front of someone who has been looking at cliché-ridden paperwork for most of the day, a short, concise document will make your application stand out. You can explain the detail at the interview stage.
While we’re on the subject of clichés, it’s worth pointing out that claiming you have “excellent leadership qualities” or “can work on your own initiative or as part of team” probably won’t do you much good. The person reading your CV has seen it all before – probably fifty times before lunch.
It’s much more effective to “show” what you can do rather than “tell”. Being captain of a school or varsity team shows leadership. Heading up a particular project shows initiative and teamwork. Think about how your experiences apply to the job advertised, then demonstrate your aptitude with relevant examples.
THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH?
It can be tempting to embellish the facts on your CV, but take care! It’s important to draw attention to achievements or experiences that increase your chances of getting that interview, but don’t go too far. One sign that you are over-exaggerating is if it’s taking lots of words to say whatever it is you are trying to say. The relevant facts can usually be covered quickly.
But what happens if you have a section of employment history that you would rather avoid? Again, being concise is the usually the best policy. There’s no point leaving it out, a professional will spot a hole in your CV a mile off. If you were dismissed then say so and, briefly, give your point of view. The truth will come out eventually. It’s far better to be honest than to be caught in a lie.
BEFORE YOU SEND IT OFF
It’s important to give yourself adequate time to write your CV. A rushed attempt will most likely be consigned to the HR department waste bin. When you think it’s as good as it can be, put it aside for 24 hours, then check it again. If possible, get someone whose opinion you value to read it.
You’ll also need a cover letter: a formal introduction stating the post you are applying for and why you feel you are suited for it. All too often people are lazy or inattentive with this important step. Read the advertised position carefully. Make sure your letter responds accurately. If it doesn’t, your CV may not even get a glance. It’s worth checking recruitment sites for current styles and expected content.
If you’re absolutely sure it’s as good as it can be, send it. If you’re struggling, do bear in mind that there are services available that can do it for you. Although there’s a cost involved in getting a CV created professionally, you have to balance that expense against a presentation that might radically increase your chances of getting that all-important interview. And finally it’s always pays to do your homework and research the company’s corporate culture, history, scope of operations and mission statement before you go for an interview. Researching your potential security employer will make you standout amongst other applicants.
ONCE SUCCESSFUL IN LANDING AN INTERVIEW, MAKE SURE YOU DO THE FOLLOWING;
- Make sure you arrive at least 15min early.
- Dress for success. You should always look smart and professional, you should consider wearing a business suit or at the very least “business casual,” a collared shirt and dress pants.
- Make sure you have a spare copy of your CV and all of your qualifications and ID as well as electronic copy on a flash-drive.
- Prepare for tough questions, such as;
Q: Do you work well with others?
Q: Why are you leaving your current job?
Q: What does this job mean to you?
Q: How will you fit in with our team and corporate culture?
Q: What is your vision for our security company?
Q: Do you know what other services we offer?
Q: Why have you been out of work for so long?
Q: Why did you leave your last security job?
- Make sure that your mobile phone is turned off or on silent before you go into your interview.
- And finally believe in yourself and good luck.