Private security jobs fall within an extremely competitive and highly-skilled job sector. Within this sector, there are many categories of jobs that require very specific attributes, skills, and experiences. Navigating this can be confusing for job seekers.
In the infographic below, we examined the profiles of over 1,300 Candidates that were selected and successfully placed into various private security jobs and explain why they’re making the cut.
NOT GETTING HIRED? HERE’S WHY.
We often see Candidates who are experienced in one security job type apply for jobs where they have little or no experience – and they don’t understand that there’s even a difference in the job types.
Why the confusion? Many Candidates think, “I’ve served in the military and have combat experience so getting a private security job should be easy.” This is a faulty assumption and mindset.
Part of the confusion lies with the Candidate. A common example of this is when we run into military veterans or defense contractors falsely equate PSD experience to executive protection experience. While there may be some overlap in skills, Executive Protection jobs require skill sets, experiences and a level of responsibility that are far more complex than any PSD job out there.
The other part of the confusion lies with the Employer. Recruiters looking for private security professionals often don’t know the correct terminology to use or don’t know how to articulate what attributes they are looking for in an ideal Candidate. As a result, Employer job requisitions will list skill sets and requirements that use conflicting and confusing terminology.
As simple as this sounds, this massive translation problem is the reason why Employers have such a hard time identifying and hiring the right Candidate.
This is the very reason that every job post on silentprofessionals.org is posted by someone on our team instead of the Employer. As a team that consists of all combat veterans and private security operators we understand how to translate what Candidates are bringing to the table; however, we also scrub the job posts and have a dialogue with each respective Employer for every single job requisition to fully understand what the job actually entails, who the end-client is, what the client is seeking in a Candidate, and why those requirements are important to the client in the first place.
The end result is a staggering job placement success rate: Over a period of 10 months, over 26,000 Candidates applied for security jobs on silentprofessionals.org – of the 1,581 Candidates that were approved by our team, 1,342 (or 84.9%) of these Candidates were selected by the Employer and placed into jobs all around the globe. Approved Candidates who were not selected by the Employer were mostly due to Candidates not being responsive or Candidates accepting alternative job opportunities. These statistics also illustrate the competitiveness of this job sector with only ~7% of Candidates even considered qualified for the job to which they’re applying.
Depending on where you are coming from, here are some basic things you need to know to set yourself up for success:
US Veterans who discharged from the military less than 5 years ago are the overall most hireable Candidate type and constitute 27.5% of total Candidates hired across all categories. The majority (over 90%) of the selected Candidates were discharged within the last 2 years.
Notably, this category of Candidates secures the majority of jobs in the following job categories:
– PSS / PSD jobs: At 35.5% of hires in this job sub-type, factors that contributed the most to outperforming other Candidates were a combat MOS, having more than 12 months of PSS/PSD experience in a combat zone and a security clearance.
– Static Security jobs: Veterans discharged within the past 2 years are selected for the majority of Static Security jobs (33.1% of Candidates from this job sub-type) due to active security clearances and typically having a combat arms MOS. But unlike PSS/PSD jobs, prior combat experience may or may not be required. Jobs that don’t require prior combat experience pay less than jobs that do have this requirement.
– Corporate Security jobs: These Candidates constitute 38.2% of successful hires in this job sub-type. Selected Candidates are almost always Officers and senior NCOs (E-7 or higher) who have prior command time and a college degree.
– Security Guard jobs: Security Guard jobs comprise most of the entry-level jobs in the private security sector. On silentprofessionals.org, we seldom post jobs in this job category; however, we occasionally get Employers that are in need of security guards that are more experienced. Defense and aerospace companies are often in need of security guards with security clearances which is the reason 46.2% of all hires in this specific job sub-type are recently discharged Veterans.
– Maritime Security jobs: Maritime security jobs are very niche jobs within an already-niche industry and client needs vary greatly. Recently discharged Navy SEALs, certain US Coast Guard veterans and combat divers dominate this job sub-type in percentage of successful hires.
Over 98% of all PMCs that apply for private security jobs possess a prior military background and have a tendency to jump from contract to contract. They come in a very close second for most successful hires for most of the same categories as that of recently discharged Veterans. Highly-specialized in security operations in combat environments, they comprise 23.3% of total hires, but have difficulty breaking into non-PMC security jobs due to a lack of other professional industry skills.
The more-experienced PMCs who additionally possess a SOF background are ideal candidates for specialized and often high-paying odd-jobs that fall under the PMC job sub-type of “Other Operations”, outperforming all other Candidate types at nearly 40% of all hires in this job sub-type.
Private Security Professionals are typically very seasoned in the protective security profession. Almost 100% of these Candidates have a military or law enforcement background – often they have both and may even have experience as a PMC. Due to their breadth of security and private industry experience, they are selected for more than 55% of all Executive Protection jobs, which boasts the highest median pay of all job types in the private security sector.
EP jobs are the most competitive job type across the entire private security field because they generally require the most experience and maturity, pay the most, and the number of selected Candidates is very low (typically only 1 billet per job). Additionally, because EP agents require special state-issued licensing, a Candidate’s location often impacts the selection process. Corporate and private clients who can afford a contract EP agent are extraordinarily selective. Because EP agents are so involved in the Principal’s life, they often have extremely narrow personal preferences (i.e. height requirements, foreign language capabilities, gender preference, experience within client’s industry, etc.) making selection as cutthroat as it gets.
Private Security Contractors that break into the Executive Protection field typically stay within the field and jump around other Non-PMC security jobs only if necessary or if they’re in between EP gigs. Despite their experience, they have difficulty breaking into PMC security jobs usually due to a lack of a security clearance and the amount of time separated from a combat zone.
Active Duty Candidates are highly desirable in the PMC job sub-sector, especially those Candidates with active security clearances, a combat MOS and/or highly specialized skills and licenses. In fact, nearly 21% of all Candidates who are offered private military jobs are Candidates who are serving in Active Duty status and are within 60 days from discharging (most Employers can begin processing Active Duty Candidates who are within 60 days of discharge).
Active Duty Candidates are the most hired Candidate type for Special Skills jobs (i.e. DDM, Medics, K9, etc.) comprising 45.1% of all hires in this job sub-type.
They are the second most hired Candidate type for Corporate Security jobs at 29.4% of hires in this category for the same reasons that pertain to recently discharged Veterans.
If you’re still serving in active duty status, the most important thing that you can do before you discharge is to take a look at your DD-214 and make sure that everything that should be on it is reflected accurately. To make this process easier, you can request a DD-214WS (worksheet) from your Personnel officer. The DD-214WS is a “working” version of your DD-214 and will show you what is currently in your records. Many people believe that the military will automatically keep track of all of your training and experiences in your DD-214 and that is not the case at all. It is the individual’s responsibility to ensure their records are accurate.
There are a few key qualifications in the PMC job category that will set one Candidate apart from another. While this isn’t an all-inclusive list, the main ones are as follows:
- MOS: A combat arms military occupational specialty is a requirement for most of the jobs in the private military subsector and is the bread-and-butter of the PMC space, but there are exceptions (i.e. medics, intel, commo, etc.). While Military Police or Marine Guards are not doctrinally accepted combat MOSs, most static security jobs will accept applicants from this military occupational specialty type. The US Navy and Coast Guard use NECs and, for the most part, will not qualify for jobs that specifically require a combat arms MOS – but there are a few exceptions (i.e. SEALs if they have direct ground combat time). If you have multiple occupational specialities/ratings, then make sure your DD-214 documents all of them.
- Security clearance: Clearances are a requirement for most of the jobs in the private military sector; some require that you already have one when you apply and some require that you are able to obtain one. If you already have a clearance at the time of application, then you’ll go to the top of the list because they can deploy you faster. This won’t be on your DD-214 but it will/should be indicated on your Service Record Brief (ERB/ORB/SRB).
- Deployment time: While not ALL private military jobs require deployment time, the higher-paying private military / Defense contracts often require a minimum of 365 days in a combat zone. If you deployed, make sure that your DD-214 indicates the correct start and end dates on your DD-214. Job requisitions that specify this requirement will reject a candidate whose DD-214 only reflects 364 days deployed. Why is this so strict? Keep in mind that requirements like this are minimum requirements so if you’re cutting it close, you won’t be competitive to begin with. More importantly, these task orders are literal contracts between the Government and a private security company so not meeting an agreed-upon requirement would be a breach of contract. Bottom line, if this is a stated job requirement, it is your responsibility to ensure this is properly documented before you apply for the job. It is far easier to ensure you get this information correct on your DD-214 before you discharge rather than having to get a correction afterwards.
- Special skills / schooling: It is very important that special skills and schooling are documented in your DD-214 and/or Service Record Brief. Special skills often qualify you for additional increases in pay or bonuses. Languages, specialized medical training, advanced skills/schooling such as USMC Scout Sniper school or SOTIC, and any other DoD school you’ve attended need to be reflected in your DD-214 and/or service record.
US Military Reservists and National Guardsmen comprise a small segment of hired Candidates at 5.5% of all hires but are also a respectively small percent of the starting applicant pool. They have the widest range of desirable attributes due to their concurrent military training and private industry experience.
Candidates from this category who have active security clearances are excellent candidates for various jobs in the PMC job sub-sector, just as those with state-issued protective services licenses are prime candidates for various jobs within the Non-PMC job sub-sector.
Candidates who fall in this category have been separated from military or law enforcement service more than 5 years ago and additionally lack any type of operational security work in the past 5 years.
Most applicants from this Candidate category face great difficulty in getting selected for PMC job opportunities; lack of a security clearance and a long separation time from operational security work disqualifies most Candidates in this category, even if the Candidate has prior combat experience. Non-PMC job opportunities are also extremely difficult to break into unless the Candidate has very specific special skills or schooling that, when paired with their prior service experience, provide a unique value to the job at hand.
One exception applies to retired LEOs that fall under HR-218 and have armed protective services licenses as they are frequently hired for Executive Protection jobs comprising 15.3% of all EP job hires.
Active / Recent LEOs include local and state law enforcement officers as well as federal agencies that focus on law enforcement (i.e. FBI, DEA, Secret Service, Federal Marshals, etc.). This type of Candidate is generally a strong fit for any Non-PMC security job.
Similar to Candidates in the above category, Active / Recent LEOs that fall under HR-218 and have armed protective services licenses are the second most-hired Candidate for Executive Protection jobs comprising 19.2% of all EP job hires.
This Candidate type has difficulty breaking into PMC jobs unless they possess a security clearance that has issuing authority reciprocity with the PMC client.
American security professionals are the most desired in the world and are the most requested Candidate type by the majority of clients, even those that are not US-based; however, at times, clients are in need of non-US Veterans for security work for a variety of diverse needs and locations around the world; ~60% of Candidates in this category are hired for PMC and Maritime Security jobs.
ABOUT SILENT PROFESSIONALS
At Silent Professionals, we are a small team of former and current operators who are in operational and/or direct hiring roles within various companies across several major industries; many of us have served with each other in combat at one point or another. While we predominantly have representation in the defense and private security sector, we also have significant representation in the Oil & Gas, Tech, and Hospitality sectors. We all personally understand that the professional transition is difficult – don’t be afraid to apply for jobs on our job board or sign up for notifications. You can also send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.