It’s not just your qualifications.
We get asked these questions all the time through emails, Facebook Chat and our website’s chatbox.
“How can I get a job in Close Protection?”
“What qualifications do I need before I apply to jobs in CP?”
Oftentimes, the decision to enter into the CP world is that which is taken lightly; with a number of individuals leaning towards the notion that “This looks fun!” and “I’ll give it a go.”
Close protection is not just a hobby or a job.
It’s a LIFESTYLE.
What does this mean?
It means that you have to change your outlook to life. This industry is not easy to navigate; with one mistake costing you your career after decades in the job.
Not to mention the cutthroat competition out there consisting of people who are smarter, stronger, faster and more experienced than you.
All is not lost, however. I mentioned earlier in a LinkedIn post that most companies hire for hard skills, and fire for soft skills.
The meaning of this will be made evident at the end of this post.
We occasionally post jobs on our members only forum, the Atlas Safehouse.
So, what are the 3 essentials that you need before actually applying for a job in CP?
A “Recognised” First Aid Qualification
Most companies, including ourselves, will ask for a first aid qualification from a recognised awarding organisation.
What’s a “recognised awarding organisation”?
Simply put, it’s a company which issues certificates which are pegged to UK standards.
Different companies call for different first aid qualifications, from the very minimum of the RQF Level 3 First Aid at Work Qualification to the pre-hospital medical trauma qualification of the RQF Level 3 First Response Emergency Care / First Person on Scene (Intermediate) qualification.
For Executive Protection in relatively safe areas, Atlas calls for the RQF Level 3 First Aid at Work Qualification.
However, for personnel which we are looking to deploy in potentially hostile areas such as the Indochina district, we require all CP applicants to possess the First Response Emergency Care qualification.
I’ve actually opened up a forum topic discussing running such a course in Southeast Asia.
You’ll have to sign up as a member actually read the post.
RQF SIA Level 3 Close Protection Qualification
At risk of sounding like a broken record, if you wish to work for British companies based in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa, this is an essential qualification.
Our SIA CP course has been running for the past year and a half, and we’re the only Malaysian-domiciled company who hold a full operating license from Highfield Awarding Body of Compliance (centre number 15904).
Now, the third attribute you need is possibly the most important out of the lot.
A GOOD ATTITUDE
You can be the best soldier/officer/driver/bodyguard/student/general individual in the world, but none of that means anything if you cannot work with other people, or rub them up the wrong way.
People who have the above qualifications and military/police/security experience are a dime a dozen, with literally thousands pouring out every year from the armed forces.
What makes a person different and what do clients look for above and beyond all the paperwork?
Are you a person who will moan and grouch at every single thing that goes wrong? We’ve had people moan about the weather, the food, the accommodation, the everything when we interviewed them online.
And when we said “Thank you, but no thank you”, it was our fault!
Can you imagine what would have happened if we had selected this individual to run courses and represent the company on jobs around the region? How would they have treated the customer?
What we’ve discovered very quickly over the past few months when venturing into the direct protection industry is that a number of individuals were not aware that the close protection is a job which is customer-focused, and service-oriented.
In other words, the customer is always right, and even when they’re wrong, they’re right.
If you are still of the mindset that it’s all about you, and that you should be treated with kid gloves, but still demand a wage which is commensurate with international operators, then you will be hard pressed to find a job in the CP world.
I wrote earlier about hiring for hard skills and firing for soft skills, and the difference between the unemployed and the unemployable. This all boils down to attitude.
Selecting the right people for the right jobs.
We’ve been fortunate enough to have selected the right people for the right jobs over the past couple of months, with the principals giving great feedback to us.
This is because Atlas, by extension of myself, practise a stringent vetting process when we interview our applicants for our jobs. We ensure that candidates are qualified, possess cultural sensitivity, and if required, are dual-lingual in English and their local language.
Above all, a good attitude is the one thing we look out for.
It’s not just about sending your CV to us and then messaging my business manager or me directly on the website app saying “I want a job” without getting the time to know the company.
If you feel that you have the mettle and the mindset to really make a decision to enter the CP world, consider coming on our SIA CP course if you don’t already have a certificate.
We prioritise Atlas Graduates from our SIA CP Course who reside in Southeast Asia.
Ah, but what do I hear you ask?
"What about firearms qualifications?"
Guess what the next post will be about.