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  • Writer's pictureCraig Knowles

Now that you have acquired the relevant training and certifications, what else can you do to make yourself an indispensable asset to your clients, team, and the industry, especially at the initial stages of your career?

Cultivate strong communication skills: Effective communication is vital in the close protection industry. Develop excellent verbal and written communication skills to convey information clearly and concisely. Learn to adapt your communication style to different individuals and situations, including clients, team members, and other stakeholders.

Foster cultural awareness and adaptability: Close protection professionals often work with clients from diverse backgrounds. Cultivate cultural sensitivity and adaptability to ensure you can meet the needs and expectations of various individuals and adapt your approach to different environments.

Build a strong professional network: Establish connections within the close protection industry, including fellow professionals, trainers, and industry experts. Networking can provide valuable opportunities for career advancement, learning, and collaboration.

Exhibit a strong work ethic: Demonstrate reliability, punctuality, and dedication to your work. Show a willingness to go the extra mile to ensure the safety and well-being of your clients. Maintain confidentiality and professionalism at all times.

Develop problem-solving skills: Enhance your ability to think critically and solve problems effectively. Close protection professionals often face unpredictable situations that require quick decision-making and adaptability. Cultivate a proactive and resourceful mindset to address challenges efficiently.

Continuous learning: Stay intellectually engaged by reading books, articles, and research papers related to close protection, security, psychology, and other relevant subjects. Stay updated on current affairs, geopolitical events, and emerging security threats. Pursue professional development opportunities such as advanced training courses or certifications.

Emotional intelligence: Develop your emotional intelligence to understand and manage your own emotions and effectively navigate interpersonal relationships. This skill is essential for building rapport with clients, defusing conflicts, and maintaining a calm and composed demeanour in high-pressure situations.

Stress management: Close protection work can be demanding and stressful. Develop effective stress management techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, exercise, or hobbies that help you relax and recharge. Practice self-care to maintain a healthy work-life balance and prevent burnout.

Critical thinking and problem-solving: Sharpen your critical thinking skills to analyse complex situations, evaluate risks, and make sound decisions. Engage in mental exercises such as puzzles or riddles that challenge your problem-solving abilities and enhance your cognitive agility.

Resilience and adaptability: Cultivate resilience to bounce back from setbacks and adapt to changing circumstances. The close protection industry often requires flexibility and the ability to quickly adjust plans or strategies. Embrace challenges as learning opportunities and develop a positive and proactive mindset.

Effective communication and negotiation: Strengthen your communication and negotiation skills to handle difficult or high-stakes situations. Learn techniques to de-escalate conflicts, defuse tense situations, and effectively communicate with clients, team members, and stakeholders.

Mental preparation: Prioritize mental preparation before assignments or high-risk situations. Visualize scenarios and mentally rehearse your responses, enabling you to react swiftly and confidently when faced with potential threats or emergencies.

Stay physically fit: Physical fitness is crucial in the close protection industry. Maintain a regular exercise regimen to stay in peak physical condition. A fit body enables you to perform essential tasks, respond quickly, and endure demanding situations.

Seek diverse experiences: Gain experience in various close protection roles, such as working with different clients, industries, or geographical locations. Diversifying your experience broadens your skill set and makes you more adaptable to different scenarios.

Continuously improve your skills: Stay updated with the latest industry trends, techniques, and best practices. Attend workshops, seminars, and conferences related to close protection to expand your knowledge and skills. Regularly practice and refine your physical fitness, defensive tactics, and firearms proficiency (if permitted).

Remember, becoming invaluable in the close protection industry is a continuous process. It requires ongoing self-improvement, professional development, and a commitment to excellence in all aspects of your work.

Contrary to popular belief, it's not true that you'll face insurmountable challenges when starting out. There's no such thing as a lack of work. The problem arises when you aspire to work beyond your current level of remuneration, expertise, or the comfort zone of your employer—without showing patience to acquire experience in lower-level roles before climbing up the career ladder.

I understand, some of you may have a military background, law enforcement experience, a stint in government or security sector, or a blend of these. You might have attended a top Close Protection training course and feel ready to take on a top-tier role. But what's holding you back?

The crucial factor many tend to overlook is earning your employer's trust. Over the years, I've received numerous emails, messages, and calls from people expecting to be hired instantly based on their credentials and resumes. Sadly, this is not typically how it works.

Please don't misunderstand, I'm not questioning anyone's skills or experience that may even surpass my own qualifications. However, for an employer to deeply trust you, it requires more than just experience and skills. You need to prove that you can maintain the necessary soft skills while under pressure, ensuring the safety and security of their principal.

Building a strong foundation of trust and instilling confidence in your employer are essential prerequisites before being entrusted with the responsibility of protecting a high-profile client, even though skills and experience are important factors. This is likely why newly qualified individuals are often assigned to the Residential Security Team (RST) detail initially, as it allows employers to closely monitor their performance.

To initiate this process, two approaches can be utilized. One option is securing a recommendation from a currently employed operator. The second approach calls for you to invest considerable time in understanding the job's real intricacies, which cannot be accomplished solely through attending a close protection course.

Once your employer acknowledges and trusts your capabilities, you may be considered for other more worthy roles. However, it's worth noting that this can be a lengthy process, thus underlining the importance of patience in this line of work.

You should also watch what you say on social media platforms as that reveals a great deal about your character and suitability for certain positions.

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