So you have been working as a security guard for a year or more and now want to move up and feel you have gotten all the training necessary for a promotion, but it isn’t just as simple as one day going from a guard that just shows up to work and completes the basic duties and then getting the promotion, you need to start your security career with clear goals, and a plan to achieve those goals. From day 1 you need to be THAT guard, you need to follow these 7 steps:
- Demonstrate a strong work ethic: Know what others need from you, and deliver on time and accurately. If you are not sure, ask your boss and the people who count on you at work. The “powers that be” need to know that you are a dependable, “go-to person” and an expert in your area; master your position. Stay current in your area by reading articles, and noticing what competitors are doing.
- Find a mentor: Mentor relationships can be formal or informal. Mentors are people with whom you can talk openly and honestly about work-related issues. A mentor should be more experienced than you, and good mentors can point out your blind spots, offer suggestions, applaud your successes, and guide your career. Think about whom, besides your boss, might be open to spending time with you to help you grow. A mentor can also be instrumental in spreading positive press by championing your skills, talents and abilities throughout the organization to the right people.
- Speak up!: Remember, “Out of Sight, Out of Mind!” Talk to your manager about your career goals – preferably goals that are attainable within your company. It’s your career and you must take the reins and manage it! Promote your accomplishments in a fact-based way, but not in a bragging way. Also, when in meetings, lunches or hallway conversations, don’t blend into the paint or the salad bar! Contribute something meaningful and relevant to the conversation; ensure that you are positively “seen and heard”!
- Stay on the radar: Show initiative by volunteering for projects, either within your department, on a cross-functional team, or a temporary job detail. Project work will give you an opportunity to gain more experience, showcase your skills to a broader group, expand your network and gain even greater name recognition. Remember, good managers are always on the lookout for talent. Your next lateral move or promotion could come from your excellent project contributions; you never know who is watching you!
- Avoid petty gossip and office politics: You must demonstrate integrity and trustworthiness; getting in the middle of office gossip is a sure way to derail your career. While it is important for your career to understand office politics, especially the unspoken rules, you must ensure that you don’t get caught up in petty politics. Know the players, respect the players and even form appropriate alliances, but be careful how you play the game…watching from the sidelines or from box seats is far less dangerous and can be profitable.
- Present yourself professionally: Envision where you want your career to be in a few years, and start living it, talking it and looking the part today! Dress for the position that you want, not the position that you have. In your written and verbal communications, make sure that you are professional, clear and concise. And by all means, don’t be a clock-watcher! Taking the “down elevator” at 4:57 every day does not necessarily demonstrate a strong commitment to your position or your employer.
- Stay the course: It is said that Rome wasn’t built in day. And even if you implement all of these steps immediately, you still may not get a promotion by the end of the week…. but Stay the Course! While you are waiting for your promotion, you are building your skill base, expanding your network, and gaining confidence! You must demonstrate patience; after all, that’s what leaders are made of!
If you incorporate these seven steps, exhibit your company’s core values and competencies, and meet your performance objectives, you are positioning yourself favorably for that next position and making yourself an invaluable resource to your company.
So you didn’t get the promotion, but you can always use the ensuing conversation to try and get yourself a raise:
Getting a raise is not easy; you need to be able to establish your worth and your value to your employer. You need to be able to convince your employer that you’re worth the extra bucks, and also that you deserve them!
Get your facts in order
- Try and gather information on the criterion the company uses for deciding on wages and increments. Highlight why you stand apart from the crowd. For example, you can say that you haven’t missed a single shift in the last year or the fact that you never took a sick day. Or you can say you have taken extra shifts to cover your colleagues when they didn’t show up.
- You can also highlight scenarios where you have trained new hire security guards when the company got a new security contract.
- Essentially you need to give specific examples of the positive things you did over and above the regular responsibilities as a security guard, which helped the company to make more money or to get new contracts or to expand their business.
- Learn to talk factually and in a dispassionate tone so that your arguments are heard, and the facts acknowledged. You’re more likely to be taken seriously if you stick to a professional approach and tone.
Have your goals in sight
- Identify what you want and set your goals to achieve them. Identify whether your future goal is to get promoted within the company or to start your own security guard company, or to become a security specialist or consultant. You might even want to get into private armed security for high profile persons, as this is a very lucrative field. When your goals are clear-cut, your employer can easily understand your ambition, and even help you in reaching that goal.
- When talking with your employer, make your goals clear, but be open to a suggested career path with them, that could include raises or a better work schedule to get you to your ultimate goal.
Practice before you speak
- Practice makes perfect – so practice your argument with a friend and fix any missteps or gaps in your logic. You can even carry hard copies of reports filed during any security issues or breaches that you detected and resolved, to support your case. This display of confidence and your value to the company and your willingness and ability to do more than just your job will go a long way in convincing your boss that you deserve a raise.
Have realistic expectations
- If your company is a small time security company, then expecting a huge raise or even a significant raise might be unrealistic. However, if you’re ready to take on more responsibilities for a relatively lesser hike in salary, the experience you gain might help you in the longer run, when you’re looking for job openings elsewhere.
- If you’re already working on a large security company then there is more opportunity to move up the chain. In your job, if you always do extra tasks, and assume a leadership role to help junior staff members, you can easily move up higher. So be prepared to work and get noticed before asking for a raise; this will help to get what you want.
Be prepared to hear ‘No’, and never burn your bridges
- Even if you’ve done everything described above, sometimes your employer might simply not be in a position to offer more for your services. There might be extenuating circumstances; so be prepared to be turned down.
- If all else fails and you decide to seek employment in another security company, wait and check to see how the other companies are paying. Check with your friends and contacts in the field to find out who’s getting what before taking any irreversible decisions you might live to regret.
Always remember, your current employer can close many of your future doors by giving a bad reference.
Posted in: Security guard career info