A great security guard resume may make a huge difference in your search for a job in that field. Think of the contrast between a low-paying gig with poor working conditions and a prestigious position at a large company with a robust salary, comfortable workspace and benefits.
A good starting point for creating a stand-out security guard resume is to check out the job search resources at resume.io, including more than 300 occupation-specific resume examples and writing guides.
The step-by-step guide you’re looking at now will give you all the information you need to create an exceptional security guard resume. What we’ll cover:
- A snapshot of what security guards do, the job outlook for private security jobs and the anticipated pay ranges
- The crucial components of a winning resume, and the best format to apply
- Advice for optimizing each resume section: header, profile, employment history, education/certification and critical skills.
- Layout and design tips for a visually professional security guard resume.
Let’s dive in.
What does a security guard do?
Security guards play a vital role in protecting businesses, industrial facilities, residential communities and many other entities. Among the many functions security guards may perform: patrolling the property in search of suspicious activity, checking to make sure gates, doors and windows are locked, identifying fire hazards and similar dangers, monitoring surveillance cameras, screening people seeking entrance to private property, and providing assistance to authorized visitors.
Security guard job market: The outlook is secure
There were some 1.18 million security guards in the U.S. alone as of 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and there are expected to be 37,200 more by 2031 — an increase of 3%. This anticipated job growth is a bit slower than the rate for most other occupations. So while this profession is not expected to experience phenomenal growth, neither will it decline. As the global economy grows, so will the need to protect its assets. And those 37,200 new jobs will all be filled by someone, so one of them might as well be you. Also, of course, there will be flux within the 1 million-plus existing jobs, as current security guards move from so-so jobs to better ones. Your goal is to get the best job you possibly can, competing with a large pool of applicants for a sizable but limited supply of jobs. This brings us back to the need for an outstanding resume.
The median wage for security guards in the U.S. in 2018 was $28,490, meaning half of them earned less and half earned more, according to the BLS. The bottom 10% made under $20,290, while the top 10% earned over $49,650. Another way of calculating pay is by average or mean salary — the sum of all wages divided by the total of all wage earners. For security guards, this average was $30,730 in 2017, according to the BLS. This is the equivalent of $14.78 an hour. It’s important to remember that these are averaged numbers. On an individual basis, you can get paid much more (or less) depending on what impression you make and what employers you target. Another reason to reach for excellent opportunities with a great resume!
How much is the pay?
Also according to BLS data,The median wage for security guards in the U.S. in 2021 was $35,450, meaning half of them earned less and half earned more. The bottom 10% made under $27,970, while the top 10% earned over $56,730.
It’s important to remember that these are averaged numbers. On an individual basis, you can get paid much more (or less) depending on the what impression you make and what employers you target. Another reason to reach for excellent opportunities with a great resume!
Below is the BLS list of median annual wages in 2021 for security guards in the top industries that employed them.
Educational services (state, local, private): $38,930
Health care and social assistance: $37,590
Accommodation and food services: $30,570
Investigation, guard and armored car services: $30,570
Ward off a bad cv! Get inspired by other resume examples from the same security and protective services category:
How to write a security guard resume
The framework for your security guard resume is the same one that all occupation-specific resumes have in common. These are the essential components:
- Employment history
Step by step, we’ll be taking a closer look at each one of these sections, with specific advice on setting yourself apart from other job contenders.
Throughout the process of building your security guard resume, keep in mind that most employers don’t expect that intellectual “extra mile.” That is, a polished resume that presents you as a grade-A professional, ready to ensure the smooth and safe running of their day-to-day operations. And that’s where you may have an edge over most other applicants on the security market. Most don’t bother with creating great resumes. Or they don’t reach for those well paid corporate positions that require a bit of convincing to attain.
Choosing the best resume format for a security guard
Nine times out of 10, job seekers apply the most commonly used chronological format to organize their resume information. It’s perfect for anyone whose work history follows a linear path in employee positions. Recruiters prefer this resume format because that section of your resume is easy to review, listed by employer from most recent to earliest dates.
The functional resume format, emphasizing transferable skills, is geared to job candidates with a more varied job background, perhaps in unrelated fields. It may also be suitable for workforce, newcomers, career changers, or those who have been self-employed. The hybrid (combination) resume format offers a mix of chronological and functional elements.
Now let’s take a look at the optimal approach for each individual section of your security guard resume.
A distinctive resume header is one effective way for your job application to visually stand out from the rest. The impact of an eye-pleasing header is reinforced if you match the header and other design elements in both your cover letter and resume documents.
Your resume header also has a practical purpose that makes it much more than a decorative feature. Above all, it’s the place to display the identifying details you want hiring managers to notice first and easily retrieve when they want to contact you for an interview: your name, professional title, phone number and email address.
Unprofessional email addresses are a reason that employers sometimes reject job candidates. If your email is dungeons&[email protected], get a new one! Strive to convey professionalism, excellence and attention to detail at every level of your resume.
Your contacts should be handled with as much care as the rest of the document!
Security guard resume profile example: Reporting for duty
Most hiring managers take just a few seconds to review a resume, and the first thing they will see is your profile. It’s critically important to hit this first impression out of the ballpark. Also known as a summary or personal statement, the profile is your opportunity to introduce yourself to your prospective employer in your own words, describing the qualifications and aptitudes that make you ideal for the job.
While your employment and education history a done deal that you can’t change, the profile allows you the flexibility to stress the qualities you possess that employers are seeking. Be confident and assertive without sounding arrogant or boastful. Put yourself in your target employer’s shoes and describe the precise candidate he or she is looking for.
In this section, strong adjectives are your friend: “committed,” “responsible,” “detail-oriented,” “meticulous,” “courteous,” “collaborative,” etc. Complete sentences are not necessary, so you can drop the “I am” or “I have” — your reader knows you’re talking about yourself.
Correct spelling, grammar and punctuation are absolutely crucial in every resume. In fact, the top reason cited by hiring managers for rejecting a resume is bad English. Bear in mind also that resumes are not carved in stone, and you should not plan to send the exact same one to every prospective employer. Study your targets, learn what’s important to them, and tailor your resume accordingly to each of them.
ATS: Bad resumes stop here
Job listings often generate a flood of resumes, more than any person would ever want to read. This is why so many employers today use electronic Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to filter resumes for them. How these systems work: Employers know the job qualifications they’re looking for, and they input these in the form of keywords and phrases into their ATS software. When the resumes start streaming in, they are fed to the ATS ’bot, which searches them for these crucial contents and ranks them accordingly.
If no specific job description is available, do some sleuthing by scouring your target’s website (or other sources) to learn what types of security it specializes in. Then highlight any part of your experience, aptitudes or skills that are relevant to this company. This information can be useful to you in tailoring the profile, skills and employment sections of your resume for each employer. Don’t fly blind!
Security guard resumes that contain none of the words crucial to the job description will be filtered out so that a human reviewer doesn’t even have to bother looking at them. But resumes that hit most of the right notes will be greenlighted for further review. Savvy job applicants strive for “ ATS optimization, ” which is similar to search engine optimization (SEO) in that it anticipates search terms and front-loads them into the material. To do this, study job descriptions carefully to find out which job skills are important to employers. If a significant part of the job is “monitoring surveillance cameras,” and you have experience in various security systems , it’s probably a good idea to mention this in your resume.
Here's an example of a security guard resume profile that you can modify to fit your situation.
Dedicated Security Guard with over a decade of experience providing exceptional safety and crime prevention practices for businesses and individuals. A proven track record of professionalism and favorable outcomes in preventing crime and mitigating safety threats. Large patrol sites have included school campuses, performance venues, government buildings, and sporting arenas. Received multiple awards for outstanding performance and commendations for assisting police officers apprehend offenders.
Employment history sample: Your proven track record
Newcomers to any field may be familiar with an old Catch-22: You can’t get a job without experience, and you can’t get experience without a job. If you’re in this position, just remember that everyone working in this field once got their first job. If you do have a track record of employment in private security, your work experience listing should be in reverse chronological order, as discussed previously (last job first, first job last).
In each instance, indicate the name of each employer, where it’s located and the dates you worked there. Then, list the things you did for each employer. A rule of thumb: three or four bullet-points for important positions, and two or three — or even one short sentence — for less important ones. Use strong action verbs, such as “guarded,” “protected,” “patrolled” and “monitored.” Avoid using phrases like “was responsible for” and instead describe what you actually did.
Be as specific as possible: “Thwarted two break-ins in three years, leading to arrests and convictions” or “Identified numerous safety/fire hazards and advised on resolving them” is far more powerful than “Was responsible for perimeter security.”
If you don't have experience in private security, take a close look at your job history to identify skills you acquired that are relevant to your field. These are known as transferable skills. Did your past jobs require courteous and professional interaction with the public? Did you work long hours at night? Give it some thought, and be creative in how you highlight your experience at each job you’ve held.
If you have little or no work experience, perhaps because you just graduated from high school, you may want to move the employment section to the bottom of the resume or eliminate it altogether, and instead highlight your personal profile, education and skills. Another alternative for candidates with no substantial career history is a general "experience" section, where you can list your summer jobs, community projects, volunteer work etc.
Here's an employment history example of how you might highlight what you actually did for a given employer.
Resident Security Guard at Ohala Villas and Condominiums, Los Angeles
June 2015 - September 2022
- Greeted visitors and residents at 240-unit retirement and vacation rental property, providing directions when necessary.
- Checked the identity of all visitors before allowing them on the premises, and denied access to unauthorized visitors to ensure the safety of residents.
- Patrolled all areas of the premises and investigated suspicious activity, including 35+ incidents requiring police intervention.
- Wrote incident reports, averaging 25 to 30 per year, outlining details of thefts, property damage, and altercations.
- Watched for and assisted with any alarming occurrences such as floods, fires, and open doors.
- Trained and mentored new hires.
- Peer-nominated recipient of three awards for outstanding performance, and commended several times for assisting police officers.
Campus Security Officer at Professional Security Consultants, Los Angeles
November 2011 - May 2015
- Greeted residents and visitors entering the 9,000-student campus with a friendly and helpful attitude.
- Checked identification of all persons entering and exiting the facility, averaging 275 daily.
- Accompanied visitors to their destination when necessary.
- Patrolled four specific areas within the 6,400-acre campus to ensure they were free of danger or vandalism before the end of a shift.
- Provided residents with assistance regarding any safety concerns or questions.
- Documented all concerns and incidents and reported them to a senior supervisor.
- Observed activities via surveillance cameras and called for backup if necessary.
- Handled under-age drinking situations with reference to state law and school policy.
- Trained new hires on company policies and protocols.
Security guard resume education example: Accentuate the positive
Use the education section of your resume to present any education or special certifications you have received, in reverse chronological order. Potential content is described as follows.
Most security guard jobs require only a high school diploma or the equivalent, though some have no education requirement at all. However, college coursework or professional certification in the field can be a big advantage if you’re seeking a more competitive job. Top fields of postsecondary study for anyone in the private security business include criminal justice, social and behavioral science, and communications. A few schools offer programs dedicated specifically to security, with coursework in protective intelligence, corporate security and homeland security.
Most U.S. states require registration for security guards, who must be at least 18 years old, pass a background check and complete some level of training. Most employers will provide on-the-job training that covers job responsibilities, emergency scenarios and communication procedures.
Many jurisdictions recommend that security guards receive eight hours of training before starting their jobs, eight to 16 hours of training on the job and eight hours per year of additional training. Standards are much more rigorous for armed guards, who are required to undergo weapons training. Armed guards are usually required to undergo a more extensive background check, including fingerprinting to search for any criminal record.
A variety of organizations offer certifications in private security obtained through coursework. Among these are the International Foundation for Protection Officers and the Private Security Professional of America. A list of organizations for security professionals is provided by SecurityGuard-License.org.
Below is the education section from our security guard resume example that you can modify.
Associate of Criminal Justice, University of Phoenix, Phoenix
August 2011 - May 2013
High School Diploma, Sherman Oaks High School, Sherman Oaks
September 2007 - May 2011
CV skills example: How you excel
Ultimately, what most private security employers are seeking is not an advanced degree in criminal justice but a candidate who has the skills to do a specific job. So the skills section of your resume is critically important. Perhaps the most important trait in a good security guard is unimpeachable moral character. Most private security companies are aware that their profession attracts bad actors, so consider using words like “Moral character,” “Highest ethical standards” or “Respect for the law.” One list of traits that security guard candidates should be able to demonstrate includes “a trustworthy character.”
The BLS identifies these as among the most important qualities a security guard must possess:
- Communication skills: Adept at communicating effectively with others, sometimes in stressful situations.
- Good judgment: Rapidly determining the best course of action in a potentially volatile situation.
- Observation skills: Alert and aware of their surroundings, able to quickly recognize anything out of the ordinary.
- Patience: The ability to remain vigilant and undistracted despite long periods in which everything may appear normal.
GPS Security Group, the leading security service providers in Canada, lists these skills are crucial for security guards:
• A polite, calm and reasonable approach
• Good communication skills
• Ability to solve problems quickly and efficiently
• Good observational and monitoring ability
• Ability to follow instructions
• Technical knowledge of security systems
• A high level of physical strength and fitness
Check out this example of the skills section from our security guard resume:
- Critical Thinking Skills
- First Aid & CPR
- Firearms Training
- Knowledge of Federal and State Laws
Resume layout, design and formatting: Keep it clean
Security guard resumes should be sort of like their uniforms: clean, buttoned-down and free of excessive decoration. Too many splashes of color, poor type hierarchy and any gimmickry will make your resume stand out for all the wrong reasons. Keep it professional, and keep it short — hold it to one page, and don’t pack the page with long blocks of dense text.
Remember that hiring managers usually spend just a few seconds looking at a resume, so make those seconds count. You want a good visual impression at a glance, before the first word is read.
One mistake is to send resumes in a non-PDF format, because what looks fine in one application on your computer may open in another application on another computer and look terrible. The aforementioned ATS filtering programs will also deep-six your resume for buggy formats.
You’ll take no chances if you use the road-tested, HR-approved resume templates and builder tool at resume.io. Check out our resume template collection, specifically the simple (timeless classics) and professional (clean and disciplined) categories for a polished image. Choose one you like, input your own information, and leave any design or formatting worries behind.
Key takeaways for a security guard resume
- Demand for security guards will grow in the years ahead, and so will the number of candidates to fill those jobs. A great resume will position you for the best jobs out there.
- You must make your case with a strong profile, the skills employers are looking for, and employment and education histories that stress your strengths in this field.
- You must do your homework on the employers you’re targeting, identifying the specific skills and qualifications they’re seeking and tailoring your resume accordingly.
- Use the proven builder tool and expert-approved templates at resume.io, and you’ll have a resume that avoids critical mistakes and hits all the right notes.