For many people getting work in Close Protection is a huge undertaking. However, it doesn’t have to be that difficult. You just need to approach it with the right mindset and focus your efforts towards achieving your objectives. Once you figure out what works you can refine it and apply it towards getting more work.
Having the right mindset is the first and most important task towards achieving a long and successful career in Close Protection. The first thing you need to understand is that the people who protect VIPs need to have the highest levels of knowledge, skills and experience before they even come close to standing, well, close to a VIP (yes, pun intended). There are many ways to enter the field, but the most important factor you need to consider is trust.
For someone to take a chance on you with their high-end clients, they must:
- Trust you will be capable of any tasks which may come your way (that’s where knowledge, training, skills and experience will come in).
- Trust you will have the maturity to act appropriately and accordingly.
- Trust in your ability to adhere to the strictest of confidence.
- Trust that you will not embarrass their VIP, the organization, the person who referred you or anything else associated with whom you will be representing.
If you haven’t noticed, the key element here is trust. For you to be successful and endure a long Close Protection career, everyone must trust you explicitly. If you know much about trust, you know it doesn’t happen immediately. Trust is forged a little bit at a time, over time. (All of which can be lost in one instance)
Trust needs to be the backbone of your mindset. You need to seek to build trust with people while you develop your capabilities.
In order to be succesfull in VIP Close Protection you must have all of the capabilities necessary. There is a long list of things you will need to be able to do. One of the best ways to get more capabilities at a quick rate is to take training courses focused on the specific needs of close protection.
We have written several articles on what training and skills you should have at the beginning, intermediate and advanced stages of your career. I highly suggest you read them.
- How to Get Started in a Career in VIP Close Protection
- Executive Protection Training – Blueprint for Success (Part 1)
- Executive Protection Training – Blueprint for Success (Part 2)
- Executive Protection Training – Blueprint for Success (Part 3)
One thing to keep in mind, every time you are training you have the opportunity to build trust with the people around you. This includes the instructors, staff and other students. Do not overlook any of these as potential sources for future employment. And the best training institutes for VIP Protection will have an employment pipeline for their students. (The students who are the most trusted – or in a pinch, the ones the most available)
Pro Tip: Don’t go into a course expecting not to make mistakes. This is the wrong mindset for training. You will make mistakes in Close Protection, but people will be more impressed with how you handle any mistakes than pretending they didn’t happen or overcompensating for them. (just don’t make big mistakes or make the same mistake twice)
Pro Tip: Don’t go into a training course planning to show off or wow everyone. This is another way to deteriorate trust-building and relationships. We don’t need more egos in Protection. We need humble professionals that just want to show up and do the highest quality work.
I wish having the right mindset and ability to do the job well was enough. Unfortunately, these alone are rarely enough to sustain a great career. You see it is people who will decide if you get hired. It is people who decide if you get that casual gig and then call you back for more. It is people who will talk about you to other professionals. This is where it is so important to have a solid and extensive network.
Unfortunatley one of the hardest things to do is to tap into great networks. In our experience one of the best ways is to take an in-person training course. Online courses are great for knowledge, but even if there is a networking aspect it’s going to be very difficult to develop trust relationships in a short online course. With that said, there are ways to initiate trust relationships online, but the real validation will always come in-person. So if you really want to develop a great career you’re going to have to put your self infront of other professionals as much as possible. The more they can see your capabilities, character and personality, the more they will begin to trust you.
Pro Tip: Training is a good place to demonstrate a glimpse of your capability. But if people want to see what you can really do they need to see you in action. Show someone in the real world you are a professional at any level of VIP Protection and they will be more inclined to give you other opportunities.
Pro Tip: We have initiated many professional relationships online that have been verified by other sources and then confirmed offline. Online network building is a very valuable way to expand your professional exposure. However, despite the many advances in technology that have made it easier, it is now a lot more difficult. This is because of the nuance algorithms of the tech and the extreme noise of the internet. But I want you to know we are very much aware of this problem and have a great tool coming out to cut through the noise and help get you in front of the right people. So stay tuned and stay on our mailing list. Those folks are going to get exclusive opportunities.
If you know me, you know I like realistic and simple solutions. The answer to your career growth and success is not in a single course or the next big opportunity. The answer to a long and healthy career in Close Protection is to scale it much like you would a business or an investment (as you are investing in yourself and your career).
- Look at what you have and what you need (articles above will help), then work towards getting more knowledge, training and experience a little bit at a time but on a focused path towards your goal.
- Get the best job you can get right now that will help you towards your goals. My suggestion if you need a place to start, is to find an entry-level security job at a place frequented by VIPs. Then do the best you can to build trust and confidence with everyone around you. Examples include:
- Professional Level Sporting Arenas
- Major & Minor Concert Venues
- Conventions and Special Event Centers
- High-End Hotels, Resorts or other VIP Hospitality Establishments
- Residential Security for VIP Clients
- Any Security Company with a VIP Portfolio
- As you develop your general protection training and get some exposure to VIP clients, you will at some point need some specialized close protection training.
- Check out our VIP Close Protection Site Liaison Course. You can get started right now with the Online Foundations Level. It has helped a lot of people like yourself get what they need to enter the field or refine their existing capabilities.
- Continue to develop and IMPRESS your network both ONLINE & OFFLINE. Let me say that again, continue to showcase yourself in a professional manner and IMPRESS your ONLINE & OFFLINE network.
- As you do all of the above, always stay focused on your goal and keep working towards it. I can give you some advice as I’ve been there and done some of it on my journey. But you will have to put in the work. Reading this article is not going to make it happen. Doing the things in this article will help you make it happen.
- Don’t be afraid to pivot or evolve if something isn’t working. I am basing this info on my experience, all the folks I’ve helped and my observations of the successful people in my network. This may or may not work for you. But if doing what you’ve done so far isn’t working, then maybe have a closer look at what I’m saying in this article (and others). However, a better solution might be to have a closer look at what you’ve been doing (or not doing).
Pro Tip: If you really want a job or a better job in Close Protection, find a close protection company and ask them what they are looking for. Then find someone that works there and ask them how they got there. There is no point in only looking at the general advice I’m giving you. Go to the source and find out what you actually need to do. If they say you need Military or Law Enforcement experience, and you don’t have it, then either get it or go somewhere else until you find a company that doesn’t require that. There are a lot more companies now that do not require a background in Military and/or Law Enforcement to do Close Protection.
A career in Close Protection or Executive Protection or whatever you want to call it, is not going to happen overnight. But it is possible if you scale it the right way. You need to have the right mindset and all the right capabilities. However, none of those things will get you jobs. People will hire you and give you opportunities.
- Do the right work both online and offline, while putting it in front of the right people and better things may open up.
- Do the wrong things and I assure you nothing will happen.
- Doing the right things and having no one see it, nothing will happen (hey trolls, that doesn’t mean only do good work when people can see it).
- Do nothing and guess what, nothing will happen.
This might not be what you wanted to hear, but it might be what you needed to hear. I don’t have all the answers, but the ones I do have I will continue to share with you. This article is part of a series focused on success in VIP Operations. It is leading up to a big announcement that will make everything we talked about above so much easier for you. Make sure you sign up for our mailing list so you don’t miss the rest of the series and everything else we have coming out. Trust me, you’re going to want to be a part of this.