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Security Officer Resume Example & Writing Guide

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Security Officer Resume Example & Writing Guide
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In a field that’s all about keeping people and property safe, job security may be something you wish could take care of itself.  But with no such guarantees in a labor market rocked by quarantine lockdown dynamics, nothing can be taken for granted except the importance of an outstanding security officer resume.

With pandemic-induced unemployment taking a toll on most economic sectors, while radically reshaping the forms and faces of security personnel everywhere, the industry overall has proven remarkably resilient. 

This guide, along with our security officer resume example, will address:

  • What security officers do and this job title’s distinction from “security guard”
  • Income and job outlook
  • How to write a resume that is aimed at success
  • The best format for structuring your security officer resume
  • Advice on each resume section: summary, work history, education and skills (with resume sample writing)
  • Resume layout and design tips.

What do security officers do?

All of us can be grateful to security officers for the often invisible protection they provide in the places where we live, work, visit, shop or socialize. Their watchful presence or oversight of other security staff is instrumental in preventing crime and risks to personal and public safety, as well as property theft, vandalism and damage. 

Patrolling indoor and outdoor premises for potential safety hazards, security breaches or any suspicious activity is a typical responsibility Security guards monitor surveillance camera and alarm systems, as well as face-to-face arrivals and departures of visitors and employees. Providing information and directions to guests and communicating with staff in different departments may be required, as well as maintaining rules and regulations for safety, security or parking.

Expert tip

Security officer or security guard — what’s the difference?

The sometimes unseen or unfamiliar differences between security officer and security guard roles generally relate to scope and level of responsibility, expectations, training and compensation. 

Security Officer:
Often has seniority and management responsibility, assigning duties and tasks for security officers to perform. Generally oversees security operations overall. May be mobile, rather than  “stationed” in one place, rotating through various security guard sites to make sure everything is running smoothly.

Security Guard:
Lower ranking, sometimes working under a security officer. Often positioned at one location only. May only require fitness and IQ tests for entry-level jobs. Possibly trained by a security officer they report to.

Our separate security guard resume example and guide may be worth checking out also.

Impact of COVID-19 on security officer jobs

Almost everything that was unfathomable about COVID-19’s impact on workplaces and public spaces brought intense pressures to bear on the security industry. Virtually overnight came a cascade of sometimes paradoxical phenomena that no one could see coming. 

Lockdown-induced unemployment fueled redeployment demands, as waves of suddenly vacated premises created thousands of new security job openings. The number and nature of security requirements at healthcare facilities and essential retail stores took on unprecedented importance. Social distancing measures and office closures posed obstacles to in-person skills training and licensing access for new or redeployed security recruits. 

Statistical insight

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for security guards in May 2020 was $31,050. Two other online sources of occupational income data report lower compensation rates for security officers. Glassdoor.com says the average annual salary is $30,709, while Payscale.com puts the average annual wage at $13.28 per hour, which works out to about $27,622 per year.

The overall job outlook for security guards and gambling surveillance officers (sometimes combined in the same BLS data category) was positive when the Bureau projected employment to grow 3 percent from 2019 to 2019. This was on par with the average for all occupations at the time. No BLS update taking COVID into account has been published. 

Best resume format for a security officer

There is no right or wrong format for organizing the content of your security officer resume. Consider the type of position you are applying for right now and how best to bridge your past and future from the hiring manager’s perspective. 

The most commonly used chronological resume format is suitable for job seekers in almost any occupation, especially if their work history follows a linear pattern of employee positions.  Alternative resume formats can work well for someone new to the workforce or changing careers, or those with a more varied occupational background. Self-employed professionals working on a freelance or contract basis might opt for a project-based “functional” resume format. 

How to Write a Security Officer Resume

Each of the following resume sections will be covered later in this guide, alongside resume samples to show exactly what we mean:

  • Summary (sometimes called the profile or personal statement)
  • Employment history
  • Education section (with certification when relevant)
  • Skills section


But first let’s look at some essential aspects of resume content writing to optimize your chances of securing a short list spot.

  1. Investigate
    Research as much as possible about the prospective employer. Investigate everything you can about the job you are applying for and the organization.
  2. Customize
    Customize the content and tone of your security officer resume. The result is an adaptable document tailor-made for this job and easy to change for future jobs.
  3. Be ATS-proof
    ATS stands for Applicant Tracking Systems, which most large organizations use to sort through dozens or hundreds of online job applications. Algorithms scan each resume for keywords — usually matching the advertised job description — and rank it against all others. Most are rejected before they reach HR. Finding those keywords is less daunting than it may seem. Simply review and revisit the listed job requirements exactly as posted.

Security officer CV summary example: It all adds up

The CV summary (or resume profile)  is a small, tightly contained space on your resume that has a large and conspicuous part to play in securing interest from the hiring manager. It should be no longer than 3-5 sentences and convey your professional character, qualities and most impressive achievements.

Aim for language that’s clear, descriptive, dynamic and solid. Sound strong and energetic in a tone that’s straightforward, authentic and self-assured.

As a synopsis of information found elsewhere in your resume, the summary should neither duplicate nor downplay those highlights. Strive to seamlessly express “this is who I am and what I’ve done” in the same breath. Below is a resume sample of a security officer summary section.

Adaptable resume example summary

Highly skilled security officer committed to ensuring a safe environment, free of criminal activity. Bringing forth extensive training and experience providing optimal surveillance and security to clients. Calm, trustworthy, and dedicated to achieving security, safety, and peace.  

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Employment history sample: Equipped and dependable 

Alternatives for structuring the employment history section were highlighted in the preceding guide chapter. If you opt for the conventional chronological structure, then lead off with your work history. This is where your progressive job experience and accomplishments are listed by employer / workplace in reverse order from most recent to earliest. At the end of this chapter is a resume sample of a security officer employment history as a reference point.

So start with your current/most recent job and trace backwards from there, no more than four or five positions. If there are work history lapses or stints in unrelated occupations, relevant positions should take precedence.

Each job entry starts with the employer name and dates. Below that - describe your contributions in four or five terse bullet point statements. Be specific and direct, using descriptive, active-form verbs: deterred, averted, controlled, protected, patrolled, secured, restrained, safeguarded, prevented, thwarted, directed, oversaw, observed, etc. 

Especially to demonstrate higher-level abilities, focus on outcomes to your credit, solo or shared. How did sound judgement, analytical thinking or calmness under pressure factor into your performance, alone or on a team? What about attention to detail in reporting and documentation? Being an effective leader or role model?

Have there been measurable impacts on safety, security and crime reduction? What about morale, communication or collaboration with law enforcement? Any time you can quantify such achievements, your resume is more forceful.

Do
  • Prevented or stopped while in progress six attempted break-ins  and six acts of vandalism, resulting in 13 arrests.
  • Applied crisis defusion techniques to keep vandals calm while protecting four workers and six customers until police arrived.
  • Testified in seven court cases, including the submitting documentation and reports.
Don't
  • Responsible for after-hours security at a downtown pedestrian mall.
  • ER security duties included patrolling the triage area and calling for help when needed.
  • Completed reports documenting my own observations and those of other guards, as well as surveillance activities.
Adaptable employment history example

May 2018 - Apr 2021     
Security Officer, B2X Security, New York

  • Provided security for assigned premises during evening and nighttime hours.
  • Asked for proper identification from visitors and confronted any trespassers.
  • Secured all entrances and exits.
  • Investigated reports of theft and disturbances.
  • Patrolled common areas and secured doors and gates.
  • Worked to ensure workplace safety by enforcing strict security measures.  
     

Dec 2016 - Apr 2018     
Security Officer, Gemstone Square, New York

  • Worked closely with store managers to create and enforce safety protocols.
  • Patrolled check-out and exit areas, enforcing loss prevention practices.
  • Monitored employees and searched personal items when necessary.
  • Handled any incidents with professionalism and a calm demeanor.
  • Requested law enforcement assistance when required.
  • Trained and mentored new security officers as needed.
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Security officer resume education example: Bonus points

Hiring managers filling a security officer position can expect to see varied combinations of education and training represented among the job candidates. 

For some applicants, the resume education section is straightforward. Because postsecondary graduation is often not a prerequisite, it may be a simple matter of listing your high school (or equivalent GED information). Perhaps no education requirement is stipulated at all. 

But particularly if you are interested in security career advancement, there may be additional diplomas or even degrees, certifications and licenses, along with on-the-job training programs that all belong in this section of your resume. Again, complete your resume education section by listing the information in reverse chronological order. Don’t overlook any learning opportunity that sets you apart and make it count, whether it was a work requirement or pursued on your own. 

Expert tip

According to the state-by-state resource guide published by the U.S. agency SecurityGuard -Licence.org, private security is a field where a degree or specialty certificate is not usually an expectation but can be an asset. 

In some cases, it can compensate for a lack of related work experience, or help you get the specific type of security position you want. Some sectors and some employers set standards much higher than others.

Degrees in criminal justice, public safety, homeland security and emergency management can help a security guard become more familiar with protocols, as well as the criminal justice system.

SecurityGuard-License.org also provides a list of professional development organizations that offer certificate courses in private security specialty areas. Two examples are the International Foundation for Protection Officer and Private Security Professional of America.

Consider reversing the order of your employment history and education sections if your security officer experience falls short, or your education/training is particularly impressive. Below is an education section from a security officer resume example.

Adaptable education example

Sep 2012 - May 2016     
High School Diploma, Xavier High School, New York

Licenses
Sep 2016 - New York State Security Guard License
Sep 2016 - New York State Pistol License

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Skills example section: It’s a lock

Leaving none of your key strengths as a security officer unexposed could give you a lock on the job you want. Leave the hiring manager with no doubt you have what it takes by taking a hardcore approach to your resume example of a skills list, which has make-or-break importance. 

That is not to say prospective employers are only interested in the hard skills that define a security officer’s competence. Quite the contrary. The prominence you assign to soft skills on your resume will be taken very seriously by recruiters seeking clues about your personal attributes. 

Obviously, your fitness for the physical job demands is crucial, along with your demonstrated knowledge and expertise.  But a skills list that reveals little about the traits and behaviors that make you an exceptional security officer candidate — notably trustworthiness and moral character beyond reproach — will greatly diminish your chances.

Expert tip

According to NITA, an online training academy for investigative and security professionals, these are the nine top characteristics that a security officer must possess:

  1. Preparedness
  2. Honesty
  3. Quick reflexes
  4. Rationality
  5. Leader and team player
  6. Great communication skills
  7. Value and respect for life
  8. Strength and fitness
  9. Professional security education and training

The resume example skills section provides a good inspiration on how to use keywords highlighting your most striking qualifications. Resume examples for Security Officer skills and qualifications that you can use as an inspiration: Surveillance Skills, Deals with Uncertainty, Judgment, Objectivity, Dependability, Emotional Control, Integrity, Safety Management, Professionalism, Reporting Skills.

Adaptable skills section example
  • Problem Solving Skills
  • First Aid & CPR
  • Firearms Training
  • Surveillance Skills
  • Knowledge of Federal and State Laws
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Resume layout and formatting: Ready for service

Nobody expects your security officer resume to look like a work of art. What hiring managers do expect is a professional-looking document that is visually consistent with your on-duty appearance: impeccably neat, polished and approachable. 

Keep it clean and simple, streamlined and uncluttered, so readers can readily see what they are getting and find it easily. Most resumes only do catch a passing glance from the beholder, so make yours merit more than that.

Consider using the Resume.io builder tool and one of our expert-tested resume templates , Take your pick from a wide selection of designs, click to download and start entering your own replacement text. All the trickier and most tedious aspects of layout, design and formatting will take care of themselves.

Key takeaways for a security officer resume

  1. Global pandemic lockdowns have had a possibly irreversible impact on many industry sectors, while introducing new opportunities and expectations for professionals who are well qualified and adaptable.
  2. The analytical and communication skills that security officers bring to bear while on duty can be useful when tailoring each resume to specific job and employer requirements. Your targeted resume should include keywords throughout that match the listed job description.
  3. The attributes highlighted in your resume should be a mixture of hard and soft skills, in particular reflecting moral character and trustworthiness.
  4. Use resume examples and templates from professional resume services to save time and achieve the best results!

For additional advice, inspiration and tips for similar professions, review our related security and protective services resume examples :

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