How to Get a Job as a Security Guard Security officer: job description and requirements Application documents you will need How to get a security guard job with no experience Final thoughts
How to Get a Job as a Security Guard Security officer: job description and requirements Application documents you will need How to get a security guard job with no experience Final thoughts
Updated 04/12/2020

How to Get a Job as a Security Guard

Security officers are in constant demand, so you need to possess diverse skills, qualifications and know several tricks to break into this industry. With the help of our article, your chances of landing an interview will be much higher.

Security officers are in constant demand, so you need to possess diverse skills, qualifications and know several tricks to break into this industry. With the help of our article, your chances of landing an interview will be much higher.

A heightened need for security for all types of businesses during the pandemic has led to a growing demand for security officers. In 2019, there were more than 1.1 million security guards solely in the US, and the number of job postings in this field has been increasing.

Many job seekers choose this industry because there are vacancies with little requirements, others - because it opens numerous doors for the future. So how to get a security job? What skills and qualifications should a potential employee possess? In this article, we will discuss the most useful tips for becoming a security officer.

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Security officer: job description and requirements

A security guard is a specialist who protects a business’s buildings, private land, personnel, and all sorts of assets. This occupation can be a good starting point in several career paths. For example, if you want to become a bodyguard, corrections officer, crime scene investigator, or police officer.

The primary responsibilities of a security guard include:

  • Maintaining a secure and safe environment;
  • Observing signs of crime and investigating violations;
  • Defending life or property according to the law;
  • Taking notes of unusual situations;
  • Reporting incidents in detail;
  • Patrolling premises;
  • Monitoring access at vehicle gates and entrances;
  • Watching video cameras and alarm systems;
  • Performing first aid.

Getting a job as a security guard requires a wide range of qualities and skills, such as:

  • Attention to detail
  • Strategic thinking skills
  • Communication skills
  • Multi-tasking
  • Surveillance skills
  • Ability to give directions

If you don’t have prior work experience or want your application documents to look more impressive, don’t forget to indicate knowledge of inspection procedures, military experience, and volunteer work (especially with crowd control or as a firefighter).

To become a security guard in the US, you must be at least 18 years old. However, in Hong Kong, security officers can start working at the age of 17, while in Canada – at least at 19. If you want to get a position with weapons in the United States, you should be at least 21 years of age.

Industries with the highest levels of employment in this occupation:

IndustryEmploymentPercent of industry employmentHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Investigation and Security Services691,09072.20$15.07$31,350
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals38,7100.69$18.18$37,800
Elementary and Secondary Schools32,3300.38$17.87$37,170
Traveler Accommodation31,3601.53$16.11$33,500
Local Government, excluding schools and hospitals (OES Designation)25,1300.45$19.10$39,720


The median salary of a security guard is $34,056. You can expect to earn $61,994 as a detective or $65,214 as a bodyguard after moving up the career ladder. The salaries are taken from Payscale.


Application documents you will need

To apply for security guard jobs, you should first write professional self-presentation documents: a resume and a cover letter. They are crucial to stand out from other candidates and land an interview.


A resume is usually a one-page document that lists your background, proficiencies, and skills that match the hiring company’s requirements. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Choose a functional format to highlight achievements and qualifications if you lack work experience.
  • List certifications and training courses like the Security Industry Act license. They will increase your professional weight and boost Applicant Tracking System (ATS) report results.
  • Write a resume summary to emphasize your competitive advantage and enumerate the most important skills.
  • Use GetCoverLetter builder. With its help, you can create a customized resume that meets all documentation rules and peculiarities.
Your resume should meet the industry’s standards to stand out from other candidates. With GetCoverLetter, you can create a professional resume with ease.
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Cover letter

A cover letter allows you to distinguish yourself, but it can be difficult to write. Your letter should follow formatting rules and complement your resume without repeating information. Its main goal is to explain what makes you a perfect match for the company. These tips will be useful when creating a strong cover letter:

  • Research the company and get familiar with its culture and values. It will help you to create a personalized cover letter and show that you can become a part of the team.
  • Address a particular person. Try to search for the recruiter’s name on the company’s website or social networks. If that doesn’t work, phone the company and ask who the proper contact is.
  • Highlight your soft skills. A security guard should possess professional skills and essential proficiencies, such as critical thinking, communication, and attention to detail. Make sure the recruiter knows you have those skills.
Don’t know what to write in your cover letter? Get a powerful self-presentation with our GetCoverLetter builder.
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How to get a security guard job with no experience

If you want to find a job as a security officer, you should be ready to conduct a series of steps to find the right vacancy, meet the requirements, and impress a potential employer during an interview. Below we will share several important tips on how to improve your chances of being hired.

Understand the position

The first advice is to pay careful attention to the peculiarities of every job posting. Usually, guard companies have diverse requirements concerning skills, the duration of shifts, hourly rates, necessary licenses, locations, etc. Make sure that these requirements suit you so as not to waste your time or that of the company.

Obtain the necessary licenses

If you lack work experience or want to find a job after long-term unemployment, training courses may add value to your application documents and stand the competition. Moreover, some states and countries have compulsory licenses for those who want to become official security guards.

For example, you need to complete state-certified training at approved centers in the US or get a Security Industry Authority License if you want to work in the UK. Some roles require carrying a firearm, tear gas, or baton, so there is a need to complete additional training and get a supplemental license. For example, in California, the permit to carry a firearm costs $80 and adds 14 hours to your training program.

Some companies don’t require prior training because they have in-house programs. If you don’t want to spend time and money getting a license before applying, searching for these positions may be a good option.

Register your fingerprints

Once your licensing requirements are completed, it is necessary to register your fingerprints at an approved agency. This step is inevitable if you want to officially work as a security guard and move up the career ladder. To have the fingerprints processed, you’ll need to pay around $50.

Come on time

Another tip on how to get a security guard job is to arrive on time for the interview. Recruiters often use this as a test to check whether you can show up without delays. It is especially crucial for states of emergency. To remain on the safe side, research the location and route in advance and arrive 10-15 minutes earlier.

Remember that every step can be a test

Another advice is to be attentive to every stage of the hiring process. Once you send a resume and cover letter, be ready for examination. Hiring managers will pay attention to how you follow instructions, notice little details, communicate, and behave in general. Self-control and being watchful may help you.

Prepare for interview questions in advance

Even though it is impossible to prepare for all the questions that hiring managers may have, there are several basic ones that they will most likely ask:

  • Why do you want to become a security officer?
  • How would you handle an aggressive group of people?
  • Are you certified in First Aid and AED?
  • Describe a situation when you had to face an assault. How did you handle it?
  • Look at these pictures of two people for five seconds. Afterward, put the photos down and describe them.
  • What are the primary responsibilities of a security officer?

Prepare your answers beforehand to feel more confident and impress recruiters.


Final thoughts

Becoming a security guard can be difficult, but it is worth it because you can unlock doors to numerous career paths and improve your skills in day-to-day challenges. If you follow the steps discussed in this article, believe in your choice and abilities, your chances of starting a successful security career will significantly improve.

With personalized GetCoverLetter application documents, your chances of becoming a security officer increase exponentially.
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