Put Your Guard Up: The 101 on How to Be a Security Guard

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Oct 5, 2018

Oct 5, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

The average salary for security guards isn't very high. Thus it's common that people don't get adequate training before they start working in the field.

If you're recently hired and want to know how to be a security guard, there are expensive courses you can take but very few self-taught courses. However, with the right tools in your arsenal, you can provide service and safety to people in a professional and efficient manner.

Here are the five things you need to know to be a security guard.

1. Prioritize Customer Service

As a security guard, you might think that your top priority is the safety and security of the facility. However, in most cases, you'll be spending a lot of time helping out with issues faced by people who live or work where you're stationed. Rather than treating everyone with suspicion, you should prioritize your ability to provide customer service.

You'll find that when you show an openness to the people who you serve, they'll trust you and defer to your decisionmaking. Rather than being seen as someone who is there to limit access, try to be someone who is seen as providing access.

If you bring friendliness and service to your job, you'll be able to provide security with very little effort. As you provide customer service and act friendly toward everyone you encounter, you'll disarm criminals with your attitude. Criminals expect suspicion and aggression from security staff but you can reveal their intentions with your positive attitude.

Making customer service number one doesn't mean making security a lower priority. It means doing your best to protect and provide for the people who you see on a daily basis and extending that to visitors.

2. Stay In Shape

If you're in the security business, you must realize the importance of being in shape. In most security situations, you won't have a lot of defensive tools or weaponry, and so your body must become your tool. Being physically intimidating to people who want to commit nefarious acts can be as much of a deterrent as an alarm system.

For people working security in a retail or a warehouse setting, you could be faced with the risk of people running into your site and trying to leave with things. In this case, you need to be sure that you're able to run after them. Most people, even desperate criminals, don't want to have to run away from security so if it's clear you might be able to outrun them, they'll steer clear.

Don't have big heavy lunches while you're at work. Avoid drinking too much coffee and having to take a lot of bathroom breaks because of it. You need to be alert and available any time that problems arise.

If you're falling asleep at your desk after lunch every day, trained criminals will take notice.

3. Learn the Technology

As the security industry changes around the world, it's important that you're technologically literate. You should know the basic tools of the trade and how to find your way around them.

The security industry has expanded beyond simple cameras, alarm systems, and spotlights. Now several elements of important security technology can be linked to smartphones and controlled remotely. Some sites are even employing drones as the latest tool in site safety and security.

While new technology might be intimidating to some security staff, it's essential to get a grip on these things in order to provide the best service you can. If you're having trouble with the latest in security camera technology, read more here to get a better understanding.

4. Open Up Lines of Communication

One of the best ways to ensure that you're providing the best security possible is to make sure that you've got lots of communication happening between all staff. If you're isolated in the security department, break out of your shell and get to know people in different departments.

When you show that you're available to hear the concerns of other people in other departments, you show the value of your position. You tell them that you want to know what their challenges are and how you can help to serve them.

If you're at a residential facility, make an effort to get feedback from the residents on site. They see things on a daily basis that they wish were taken care of. From your position, it's hard to see everything, and so it's nice to have them as your eyes and ears.

5. Check In With Supervisors Often

One of your best tools as a security guard is to check in with your supervisors and superiors on a daily basis. Every single day, they have concerns and complaints that come to them that they don't have time to address. When you check in with them, you give them the opportunity to pass some of that off to you.

Show your value to them by taking some of these concerns off their plate. Everyone has a nagging issue that they wish could get solved if only they had the time. If you take the opportunity to check in and help out your superiors, you can expand the purpose of your security department.

You'll also find that in times of crisis, you'll be better prepared for what's going on at your office or on your site. You know exactly who to call and they'll be ready to lend a hand because you've shown your willingness to work with them.

Learning How To Be A Security Guard Takes Time

If you're new to the field, you might not think you know how to be a security guard. However, since the basic elements are mostly those of customer service and support, much of it could come naturally. If you focus on your tasks and listen to the people around you, you can be a vital element to any workspace.

If you want to keep everyone at work alert, follow our guide to keeping people from being distracted by their own cell phones.