​Everyone’s life is full of changes. But perhaps one of the most difficult is changing from one career to another. That change can happen to a young professional who recognizes the opportunities offered in today’s corporate security environments. It can also happen after a successful career in law enforcement and military service. The following ASIS resources provide best practices, lessons learned, and helpful tips for successfully transitioning to a security management career. View past Spotlight's on topics like Leadership, Critical Infrastructure, and Crisis Management.

 Free Resources

Free Resources

Enterprise Security Competency Model

The U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration has endorsed this Competency Model, which encompasses the broad baseline of skills and competencies needed by the entire industry. Key points:

  • Careers in operational security industry have become critical roles in the protection of national and global economies, providing a multitude of career opportunities.

  • Displayed as a three-tiered pyramid, the model encompasses foundational competencies, industry competencies, and occupational competencies.      

How to Avoid the Resume Black Hole

ASIS 2014 Career Pavilion session
Speaker: Beth Colley, Chesapeake Career Management Services

Key takeaways include:

  • Use terms specific to a job posting that will pass a computer screening. There’s no such thing as a generic resume.

  • 94 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn as a primary resource
    to search for talent. Use the 2,000 word summary to show writing skill and expand on employment successes.

  • Know others and be known. Give, give, give…and then take.

  • Ask key allies to write a recommendation, not just click “endorse” on your LinkedIn profile.

From Police to Security Professional: A Guide to a Successful Career Transition

by Michael D’Angelo (Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2015)
Chapter 4: Resumes and Other Tools for Your Success

This chapter includes resume writing tips, a review of professional writing services, and interviewing best practices, including the following:

  • Study for an interview as you would for any exam—with forethought and repetition.

  • Be prepared to answer questions, such as “Why are you a good fit for this organization?”

  • Sell yourself on what you can offer the company and who you are, not who you think they want you to be.

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From Law Enforcement/Military Careers to the Private Sector: Making a Successful Transition

ASIS 2014 session
Panelists: Stacy Irving, senior director, Crime Prevention Services, Center City District; Mark Allen, CPP, director, Security Forces, Air Force District of Columbia; Briane Grey, director, Corporate Security, City National Bank; Ron Rabena, division president, Allied Barton Security Services

Irving opens the session with an overview of training set up by the ASIS Law Enforcement Liaison Council to primarily help law enforcement officers transition to the private sector. The training has been given in several U.S. cities and distributed as a webinar to ASIS chapters. The model can be easily replicated at little or no cost for guiding both law enforcement and military personnel in a successful transition.

Additional points from the session include:

  • Learn how to translate law enforcement language to the private sector, and understand the role of the corporate culture, customers or clients, stakeholders, profit and loss, and board of directors.

  • Conduct a career self-assessment: What do you bring to the table?

  • Understand what will change in your quality of life and compensation package.

Future-Proof Your Career 

ASIS 2014 Career Pavilion session
Moderator: Mark Landry, regional security manager, FedEx Freight
Panelists: Alexandra Whyte, corporate security manager, Johnson Matthey; Steve Chupa, CPP, global security, Johnson and Johnson; Samuel Kelly, Sr., vice president, Corporate Security, Turner Broadcasting System; and Mike Howard, chief security officer, Microsoft Corporation.

All presenters at this session were employed in law enforcement and the military before they moved into the private sector. Each reflected on their paths to their current positions, how security fits into the corporate world, what educational experiences prepared them for their roles, and what pushes them out of their comfort zone. A sample of key points:

  • Moving up is a combination of fate and opportunity—be prepared to take a risk or a leap of faith.

  • You have to know the business. It doesn’t come by osmosis, you have to work at it. Business acumen has to be a part of what you do.

  • When considering advance education, look at the schools the executives in your company have attended—you have to speak like they speak—and take advantage of the business classes the security industry offers to security professionals.

  • Remember that when you’re in charge, you’re always in the spotlight as a representative of your company and your employees.

From Police to Security Professional: A Guide to a Successful Career Transition

by Michael D’Angelo (Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2015)
Chapter 8: Public versus Private, A Culture Shock

The author compares the differences between how police or military officers functioned in their past jobs to how these same individuals will be viewed in the corporate world. He emphasizes the practical measures that candidates must overcome and reviews ways to preparing for the changes that will accompany the transition. Some points include:

  • Be mindful of everything and anything you post online. In the business world, your online and real work personalities are one and the same.

  • In the corporate realm, documents, phone records, and e-mails are considered private intellectual property of the organization.

  • In performance evaluations, you are likely to encounter a format based on the company’s objectives, goals, and mission.

  • Private sector executives want to develop staff members who use their creativity, think outside the box, and solve problems with their own solutions.

  • Today’s progressive organizations are extremely concerned with ethical business practices.

Sources of Information on Security Careers: Making the Transition

ASIS IRC Reference Guide

A comprehensive review of resources, research findings, council papers and presentations, seminar session recordings, and books available through ASIS —as well as in Security Management—that touch on preparing individuals for the transition from the public sector to private security.

Additional Resources

The ASIS Career Center

The industry's best resource for security management jobs, advice, and career development resources. Open to security professionals worldwide, the Career Center offers

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