The article originally appeared in ISDA’s predecessor, Security Driver.Com approximately 20 years ago. Bob’s advice is still valid.
Driving is one aspect of the job that I love the most. It’s also one part of the job that is so very important. When I drive, I get excited. I get motivated. I get ready to do what I was put on this earth to do. If it wasn’t for my driving position, I don’t know what I would be doing — probably still working a job and wishing I was in the EP field, while also constantly thinking about how to get into the profession. This leads me to the point of my article: how does one go about getting their foot in the door of EP work?
Below is what helped me get into the EP field. I hope you will find the information to be helpful.
BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF
Be honest with yourself and with others that you will be associated within the EP field. Always remind yourself that there is always room for self-improvement and then discipline yourself to make those improvements as part of your everyday life. Learn from others and take constructive criticism for what it is: free help! Also, remember that the EP field is a service-oriented art. Be prepared to not only drive and protect your principal but also to walk his dog, drop-off/pick-up laundry, and “do this and do that.” If you can accept this while still being able to do your primary job, then you will have no problem being successful. Another critical aspect of this job — and I should have listed this first — is to do the right thing! Don’t do anything illegal, even for your boss! Believe me; your reputation is on the line, and it will follow you.
Professionalism in the EP field is a must; it has to be there! If you were in the military, then bring back (if lost) the experience of basic training. Some of the best training I received was in Air Force basic training. You’ll recall: stand straight, hold up your head, stay sharp, keep clean, respect others, use the buddy system, etc. Attend courses that will help you in the EP field, such as public speaking, first-aid, and nutrition. Keep up on latest communication trends and know how to operate your principal’s cell phone, palm pilot, Blackberry, etc. There is always something to do in the EP field. I wouldn’t be too concerned about weapons since most corporate EP jobs are unarmed positions. To be armed carries a huge responsibility. However, if your employer feels that you need to be armed, then they should see to it that you’re appropriately trained through off-duty law enforcement.
INVEST IN YOUR TRAINING
I had some training when coming into the field, but it was nothing like what I have now — all thanks to my employer. Read and study about every facet of the field. Something that has worked well for me is that I try to read and study certain professionals in the field. For me, sticking with certain professionals helps me to stay sharp. You will find that the training is repetitive.Carefully choose your schools and instructors, and use them as resources. This can include following up with them, calling them, keeping your lines of communication with them open, and getting your money’s worth (or your employer’s money’s worth) out of them. To be honest, I believe instructors and schools appreciate this, as it helps them to build a following. Additionally, you’ll also develop valuable business relationships in the field. You never know — this is a small world and you might meet an important connection while on assignment on the road or while working on an assignment together.
Yes, that’s right: NETWORK. Get out there and press the flesh. You may want to join some security/police/criminal justice organizations as a way to get to know people in the field. This is where you can get your foot in the door. Also, when a position opens up, it may already have your name on it. A word of caution: when you attend a networking event, be positive. This includes having a pen and pad, current (and honest) resume, and a clean appearance(don’t forget the shoes). You want to be sharp, but at the same time don’t come across as a know-it-all or a conversation hog. Pay your dues, learn from the ground up, and give the people who have been in the field room to share and talk. I can guarantee you that you’ll pick up some of the best information by remaining silent and keeping your ears open. After a while, you’ll be able to identify the movers and shakers, and if you play your hand correctly, you will come out a winner.
NEVER UNDERESTIMATE OR TAKE ANYONE FOR GRANTED
You should never underestimate anyone in this field. For example, if one is acting suspiciously then, treat that person the same. If meeting someone professionally, never underestimate the importance of that meeting. I was referred to my current boss by someone I met for about 20 minutes. This person remembered our meeting and knew my current boss professionally. When my current boss networked with him regarding an open position, he then referred me. The rest is history. Always be ready; that 5-minute introduction or meeting just may be the foot in the door that you need. Another good idea is to use “Thank You” cards after attending an event or meeting a professional in person. Use them; they work!
READ, STUDY, AND THEN READ SOME MORE
Read everything you can on the EP field. Study the terminology and become familiar with it. Learn by reading and comparing different articles from different instructors. Never stop learning, never stop reading, and never stop networking.
NEVER GIVE UP
If you have done everything you can do, then continue working, networking, studying and practicing your trade. You may have to take a full- or part-time job as a first step to help you reach your ultimate goal.
These can include:
*Security Guard – check out companies that may offer EP work. Be professional (don’t forget the shoes), keep your ears and eyes open, pay your dues, and network!
*Limo Driver – take a driver job (full- or part-time). Be professional, keep your ears and eyes open, pay your dues, and network!
*Hospitality Industry – it’s a good place to meet people. Be professional, keep your ears and eyes open, pay your dues, and network!
Personal Shopper – you may have to take a job at an upscale department store and start as a personal shopper as you get to know people.
Butler – get professional training. Start with a catering company and work your way up. Pay your dues, be professional, and network!
Concierge on Wheels – you may have to start at a hotel or department store as a way to develop your contacts. Don’t forget to be professional and network!
BEST ADVICE TO GET THE JOB
- Be Honest with yourself.
- Be Professional.
- Get proper training.
- Never underestimate yourself.
- Read and study.
- Never give up.
As we’ve reached the end of this article, I hope the above information will assist you in entering the EP field. I only have one last thing to say: prayer works.