9 Skills for a Security Guard (With Improvement Steps)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published September 29, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Security guards protect individuals and properties and maintain order by enforcing regulations. Whether you're a stationary or patrol security guard, you need to apply your skills to secure individuals or items. By learning the skills of effective security guards and how to develop them, you can improve your performance or prepare for a role as a security guard. In this article, we present the required skills for a security guard, describe how to improve them, and explain ways to showcase security guard skills.

What are the skills for a security guard?

Skills for a security guard refer to qualities used in safeguarding an individual, building, or valuable item. These qualities may be soft or hard skills. While soft skills define how you work with others, hard skills are learned abilities improved through practice, training, or education. Developing your security guard skills can help position you for more job opportunities. For example, improving your skills can make you a more competitive candidate for a security guard role or qualify you for promotions or raises. Assess your security guard skills to determine what aspects to develop and create an improvement plan.

Read more: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

9 skills for security guards

Here are nine skills security guards need to succeed at work:

1. Communication

Communication refers to the ability to exchange information with others. As a security guard, you need excellent written and verbal communication skills to thrive in the workplace. Verbal communication skills can help you discuss building security with clients and defuse situations. It may also be useful when making announcements to visitors, exchanging information with colleagues, and describing events or individuals to police officers. Similarly, you need written communication skills to create reminder notes, write police statements, and enter comments in fire alarm forms. Effective communication also involves listening actively to visitors, building owners, and colleagues and responding thoughtfully.

Read more: How To Become an Effective Communicator

2. Attention to detail

Attention to detail refers to the ability to focus on a task's details. Working as a security guard requires this skill to be alert to security events. Showing attention to detail and being proactive can also help you remember actions, stay focused, and provide accurate reports.

3. Physical fitness

Physical fitness is the ability to perform daily activities with optimal performance, endurance, and strength. Being fit helps you handle the physical challenges of a security guard's role. For example, you may spend most of your time standing or walking around buildings or areas. You may also need to lift heavy items or chase an individual who you witnessed violating rules. Improve your physical fitness and endurance through physical training.

4. Customer service

Customer service is the ability to help customers reach their goals. It defines how you interact with customers. Working as a security guard involves following instructions on how to connect with customers. For example, a company may provide training on how to perform security checks on passengers. Customer service may also be useful in directing visitors to a building or explaining security procedures to event guests.

5. Critical thinking

Critical-thinking skills refer to the ability to examine a situation objectively and develop conclusions. You need these qualities to analyze security threats at work and use reasoning instead of emotions to act. Critical thinking can also help you become more decisive. For example, you typically make better decisions if you can quickly analyze behaviours and determine whether a security threat exists. You may also use your critical-thinking skills to choose patrol routes, areas, and locations and implement the most appropriate emergency response measures.

6. Teamwork

Teamwork refers to the ability to collaborate with others to reach a shared goal. While security guards typically work independently, you may need to work with others. For example, a security guard may work as part of a security team to deliver money to a bank. Teamwork can be useful when surveilling activities or buildings from many monitors. This skill also involves monitoring a space when a partner takes a break or switching positions with other teammates to maintain focus during shifts. Improving your teamwork skills can help you become better at safeguarding individuals and items.

7. Problem-solving

Problem-solving is the ability to determine the source of a problem and find an effective solution. This skill can help you handle security issues effectively. For example, you can use your problem-solving skills to address a situation of mistaken identity. Problem-solving skills can also help you conduct investigations to locate missing individuals.

8. Technology

Technology skills are qualities that enable you to complete tasks using various technologies. As a security guard, you may need to use electronic surveillance equipment to monitor alarm systems and activities. You may also use word processing software to prepare reports, submit electronic incident accounts, and retrieve client information from databases. Working in this role may require you to use x-ray scanners to identify prohibited items. Developing your technical skills can help you safeguard individuals and items effectively.

9. Organization

Organizational skills are qualities describing your ability to use resources well. Showing organizational skills can be useful for documentation. For example, being organized helps you locate previous reports for reference. Staying organized can help you use your time, workspace, and energy effectively.

Read more: Security Guard Skills: Definition and Examples

How to improve your security guard skills

If you want to improve your performance as a security guard, follow these steps to develop your skills:

1. Perform a self-assessment

Start by determining what security guard skills you need to develop. A self-assessment, or self-evaluation, involves reflecting on your strengths, weaknesses, core values, and goals. Doing this can help you track your career progress. For example, your proficiency with surveillance equipment may be your strength, and honesty may be part of your core values. You may also want to improve your physical fitness to reach your goal of becoming a patrol security guard for sports events.

2. Participate in specialized training

Training programs can help you develop hard skills, such as physical fitness and technology skills. These programs may be workshops, lectures, seminars, orientation programs, or safety sessions. You may also participate in training to improve your soft skills development. For example, search for online training courses in communication if you want to become better at communicating effectively. You may also seek training if you carry firearms.

3. Consider joining security guard organizations

Becoming a member of security guard organizations can also help you enhance your professional skills. For example, you may become a member of the Canadian Security Association to stay updated with security techniques and surveillance equipment. These organizations may also provide training to members.

4. Network with other security guards

As you work on your security guard skills, establish professional relationships with other security guards. For example, you may make connections with experienced security guards on social media. Expanding your network can help you learn new perspectives on security procedures and techniques. You may also find a mentor by networking with other security guards.

Ways to showcase security guard skills

Here are ideas on how you can demonstrate your security guard skills to employers:

Showing security guard skills during interviews

During interviews, show your security guard skills by discussing your experience securing individuals and properties. You can also demonstrate your skills by providing thoughtful responses to questions an interviewer may ask. For example, if asked how you would deal with a security threat, you may use the opportunity to highlight your teamwork, problem-solving, and critical-thinking skills.

Related: The Duties of a Security Guard (With Job Description Example)

Showing security guard skills on your cover letter and resume

When preparing a resume, ensure you create a section for your skills. You may list them and provide proficiency levels for each. A proficiency level describes how well you can apply a skill. For example, you may be an expert in surveillance and skilled in customer service. On your cover letter, outline your most important skills for the security guard role. You want to provide examples to show your competency with each skill.

Read more: How To Write a Security Guard Resume (With Tips and Examples)

Showing security guard skills in the workplace

Highlight your security guard skills by completing tasks accurately and preventing security issues. For example, you can apply your technology skills using metal detectors to ensure individuals bring only authorized items into a building. You can also show your teamwork skills by strategizing with teammates to ensure individuals are safe.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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