Is your resolution for 2021 to land your dream job? Or maybe you want to start a new career in a fast-paced industry where you can make a difference as an essential frontline worker. We have compiled our top five tips to help your application for a security job stand out, and it all starts with writing a great cover letter.
Applying for jobs can be a stressful and challenging, yet exciting and fun experience to imagine yourself in new environments. Applying for a security job is no different. While there are lots of ways to prepare for being a security guard, the hard truth is – there isn’t a single candidate out there whose background and experience will align 100% with the posted job description. Nevertheless, chances are, there are dozens of other candidates pursuing the same role. You can read more about how to become a security guard here.
A recruiter, especially for a security role, on average will look at approximately 20-50 resumes a day. Hence, they will short-list only a handful of applicants for a role. Naturally, most of the applicants’ resumes will go as far as receiving a quick skim. But this is where the cover letter shines! Click here to find out more on how to write a resume for a security guard role.
Typically, a cover letter is read before your resume. Therefore, a cover letter can aid you with minimizing, ideally eliminating, that gap between your profile and the job description. Additionally, it grants you an opportunity to present yourself and your fit for the role, before you even go for an interview. But like anything else, writing a good cover letter for a security role too, calls for practice and following some tried and tested techniques.
Here are five tips on how to write a strong cover letter for a security job:
Tip #1 – Introduce yourself
So now you have agreed to provide a cover letter with your application! The recruiter has short-listed five potential candidates, including yourself, and every one of them has submitted a cover letter.
A good introduction to your cover letter will not only make your application stand-out among the rest of the applicants; but also allow you to uniquely introduce yourself. The introduction can start with a relatable and catchy story. The idea is to engage the recruiter in knowing more about yourself. The introduction of your cover letter can be anywhere between 2-4 sentences long. However, it shouldn’t take up more than a quarter of your entire cover letter.
For example, you can open the letter with action-inspiring sentence starters such as – “I have always been passionate about willing to lend a hand…”. Or, “Currently a security guard at XYZ company, I bring over 2 years of experience…”. Or, “Having volunteered in XYZ, I have developed skills such as…”.
Tip #2 – Tailor it!
Once you start the job hunt, it is normal to have an arsenal of cover letters at your disposal. But please don’t submit a generic cover letter with your application. The recruiters have read an enormous amount of those in their line of work. So the moment they sense that they are reading recycled material that does not resonate with the role, you will lose a fair bit of credibility. Moreover, you risk accidentally leaving in the incorrect organization’s name, or even the wrong role.
Doing some research on the company’s mission, values and news are easy ways to tailor your cover letter. If you can find common grounds to connect with the company, recruiters will take note! For instance, you can look up the corporate social responsibilities undertaken by the organization in the past 5 years. Then relate them to your passions and values.
Adding a personal touch to the cover letter can go a long way as it shows your care and commitment to the role. Besides, what better way to describe how good a fit you are for the position if you don’t tailor it? In addition to showcasing your knowledge of the organization, you can also talk a bit about the particular site you are applying for.
Say you are applying for a security role at the airport. Now imagine the amount of value your application will bear when you describe your site-specific knowledge on the building where you will be responsible for protecting assets and human lives. Moreover, tailoring your letter also lets you explain how you obtained those skills you mentioned in your resume. And then, connect them to the skills required in the job description of the role you are applying for.
Tip #3 – Your ambition
Ever wondered why one of the classic questions in an interview – “where do you see yourself in the next 5 years”, is asked? It is to understand how long you will stick with the industry, and hence – the organization. Additionally, in some cases, recruiters may also be looking to see if there are future positions or career advancements available that match your profile.
Including a roadmap to your career in the cover letter will help the recruiter understand your commitment to the company. Moreover, it also demonstrates your potential to grow within the organization. You can click here to learn more about what career path being a security guard can offer you. For example, your ambition of pursuing a life-long career in law enforcement will set you apart from someone who wants to be an accountant applying for a Security Supervisor role. Click here to learn more about how to prepare for a career in law enforcement.
Tip #4 – Keep it concise
Less is more when it comes to cover letters. Remember that recruiters have one limited resource they work off of; you guessed it – time! Your goal should be to convey as much information as possible while using the least amount of space. In the efforts to tailoring and promoting your skills in the cover letter, don’t under-estimate the value of brevity. A cover letter shouldn’t be longer than a page.
Tip #5 – PDF it!
If you have worked with Word, you already know how much of a nuisance formatting is. Now add different versions of Microsoft Word or even Operating Systems (OS) to that equation. When you submit your cover letter, you don’t know which version of Word, or OS the recruiter will be using. The last thing you want is to have the recruiter read a cover letter with scrambled formatting. One way to prevent that from happening is to convert the cover letter to PDF. This way, the formatting stays locked and intact. Also, if the job application portal doesn’t have a specific place for uploading cover letters, you can always merge your cover letter and resume in a PDF file and upload it. Just make sure the file opens with your cover letter, followed by your resume.
The reason why this one is a bonus - is because it is optional, and will not always be possible. It is to research your recruiter! Researching your recruiter before writing a cover letter is as important as researching the organization before going to an interview. If you know the name of the recruiter, instead of starting with “To Whom It May Concern”, start with Mr./Mrs. [Last Name] of the recruiter to make your cover letter more personable. For example, if the recruiter’s name is Adam Smith you can open the cover letter with ‘Dear Mr. Smith’. If you are unable to find the name of the recruiter, you can always start with ‘Dear Hiring Manager’.
By now it should be evident that cover letters significantly boost your chances of getting your desired security job. Unless it is specifically discouraged in the job advertisement; it is one of the best practices to present yourself to the employers via a cover letter. Writing a cover letter can be time-consuming and a bit laborious. You can find a sample cover letter here as a guide. However, it is worth taking the opportunity in writing a cover letter as it demonstrates your communication skills, commitment, and care for the applying role.
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