10 steps to developing your career in security

Are you working in security, planning a career or looking at ways to get to the next level? The Department of Employment in Australia has a great website called Job Outlook that is put together using evidence from the Australian Census. It contains information on the various types of skills you’ll need to develop in order to be successful in many different careers, including in the security industry.
There are various names and career pathways for the role typically referred to as Security Guard. Some of the career titles you may be given are: Alarm, Security or Surveillance Monitor; Retail Loss Prevention Officer; Security Consultant; Armoured Car Escort or Security Officer or Professional. Whatever you’re called, if you want to boost your job prospects or gain a promotion, here are 10 things you can do to develop your career.
#1: Boost your attention skills
Having the ability to maintain your attention for lengthy periods of time is an essential skill. Job Outlook says, “Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times,” are all things you need to learn to do.
#2: Actively look for ways to help people
Security Guards and all security staff are usually implemented by employers to make workers, employees and the public feel safe. It’s often not enough just to take a passive interest in your role – to get ahead you need to constantly look for ways to actively engage with and assist people.
#3: Work on your negotiation skills
A successful career that has long term impact and progression often means that you’ve learned to hone your negotiation skills. Without these, you may not even last a week. Job Outlook explains, “Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences,” is a major part of the gig.
#4: Be a motivator in your team
Whether you’re the boss or not, it pays to work with others to keep them motivated. This will make you feel like an important part of the team and can help to keep you alert and engaged. “Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job,” could all be ways to help the hours and days fly by and go more smoothly. Aim to inspire others.
#5: Learn to manage your time
This is a skill that’s important to develop in most jobs, from retail, to office to security workers. Without this essential skill you may find that you fail to prioritise tasks and fall behind in your work. Learning to be punctual and a good time manager can mean that you’ll stand out to the boss and be first in line when it comes to getting a promotion.
#6: Work on your powers of persuasion    
“Persuading others to change their minds or behaviour,” is one of the skills that Job Outlook lists as being of importance to Security Guards. In your job, you’re likely to have to work with members of the public in many different situations. People may be uncompliant, intoxicated or simply confused about where to go or what to do. You need to be a great communicator, who gets your point across in a clear and direct way.
#7: Be an active learner
In every job role, if you truly want to get ahead, you’ll need to look at ways to add to your skill set and develop in your role – that will ensure you get to the next level, whether you seek a management role or to start your own business. “Understanding the implications of new information” in both current and future situations and “problem-solving and decision-making” are a couple places to start, according to the Department of Employment.
#8: Work on your social perceptiveness    
As a Security Guard, you’ll need to be on top of lots of things all at once. “Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do” is an essential part of the job. As well as this, you’ll need to be aware of your surroundings, and how those you’re assisting are reacting to their environment, such as crowds, announcements or even emergency situations.
#9: Be a complex problem solver
Working in security, you’re there to deal with problems and issues as they arise. In many cases you may have to use your judgement to assess a situation quickly and react appropriately. “Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions” is one of the main skills identified by Job Outlook as being important to your job role.
#10: Learn to judge others’ characters
People can be unpredictable and you’ll need to be able to quickly assess both their needs and reactions. As well as this, you may be dealing with many different types of people on a day to day basis, from young people, to people from non-English speaking backgrounds. “Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one” in any given situation can mean the difference between a safe day at work and one where you will not achieve the desired outcome of your security role.

Privacy in job seeking: what are the rules?


Privacy in job seeking: what are the rules?

You’re looking to take the next step in your career and you have been applying for jobs. This might mean sending prospective employers lots of personal information – your resume, cover letter, qualifications, references, email and physical addresses – and in some cases, even sensitive information such as police and working with children checks, personal medical information or disability documentation. What are the rules when it comes to your personal privacy?

What is privacy?

Fair Work Australia says, “Privacy is the word we give to being able to keep certain information to ourselves and to control what happens to our personal information. It also refers to being able to do things without interference by others. Privacy issues can arise in all aspects of life.”

The current Privacy Act came into effect on 12 March 2014, and it applies to public and private sector entities, including organisations and companies that you may be jobseeking with. The Act contains 13 Australian Privacy Principles which regulate the way employers and others can collect, store, use and disclose your personal information.

What is workplace privacy?

How does this relate to you when jobseeking? Essentially, prospective employers will need to know a lot about you before offering you a job. So how much information can they ask for?

Fair Work Australia says, “Employers will have access to personal information about employees. This information may be sensitive and employees may wish to keep this information private. This means that employers will need to think about the way in which they collect, use and disclose information they obtain from employees.”

Companies need to have firm HR practices in place and the larger they are and the more employees they have, the more robust these need to be. As well as this, it’s best practice to let you know what they’re collecting from you and how they plan to use it.

“It is good privacy practice for employers to tell employees when they collect their personal information,” according to Fair Work. “In doing so, the employer could tell the employee why they are collecting the information and who the employer might pass that information on to.”

Privacy rights when checking references

As well as the personal information you provide, there are also privacy issues surrounding when and how your referees can be contacted, and how this information is stored. You also have a right to know what your referees said about you, in many cases.

Career One has interviewed Peter Ferraro, a senior associate of Harmers Workplace Lawyers who deals with privacy issues day-to-day.

The lawyer points out a company that makes a bad hiring decision in part built on information they have gathered via a referee “could seek damages from the organisation that provided the reference” if it was found to be false or misleading.

He also says that a candidate “could also bring an action if information provided by a referee was defamatory or invaded their privacy,” so rights to privacy and correct information gathering do work both ways. A jobseeker might also have some rights to find out what a referee said about them. “Under the Privacy Act, a job candidate can apply to see notes made about them during recruitment process,” Ferraro says.

Ways to protect your privacy as a jobseeker

Another thing to consider is that some potential employers might not be legitimate. The Australian Government’s Job Active website says that although there are thousands of genuine job vacancies posted every day, recently they have seen an increase in fake employers posting false job ads. These “fake employers” might also email you directly, sometimes having purchased your details from a mailing list provider.

According to the Australia Government’s Job Active website it’s important for you to protect your privacy. Here’s what they suggest:

  • Never give your bank or credit card details when applying for a job
  • Never provide your date of birth
  • Do not pay job application fees
  • Do not give out your Driver’s Licence or passport information
  • Check if the job is genuine (if possible) by researching the employer online or calling them before applying

A final note on privacy

Once you lose it, it’s hard to gain it back. There are also privacy issues when it comes to employers accessing your personal social media accounts and there are rules about what you can and can’t say online too. There have been multiple cases where people have lost jobs due to insensitive things they have said online.

In a News.com.au article, lawyer Johnathan Mamaril points out that, “If you’re on social media saying nasty things about your boss, you can imagine that’s going to cause problems. You should imagine anything you post may end up in front of someone you don’t want to see it.”

With a bit of common sense, your privacy can be protected and you’ll find the job that best suits your experience and qualifications. Take a little time to go over your privacy settings, Google yourself and check your resume and cover letter for unnecessary sensitive information.

Working in nightclub security



Working in nightclub security: 7 tips you need to know

There are lots of interesting places people work as security officers and guards and probably one of the most well-known, is the nightclub. Australians love a good night out, and publicans and venue owners have a responsibility to their patrons to keep them safe, and to allow everyone to have a good time.

Also known as bouncers or doormen, security officers and guards may work in the venue, outside the venue and may help with crowd control, patrolling or checking the legal age of patrons. They might also refuse entry for intoxication, aggressive behaviour or non-compliance with statutory or establishment rules. Here are 7 tips you need to know about working in nightclub security.

Nightclub security tip #1: Proper training is crucial

Point number 1 is really the most important. To work as a security guard anywhere in Australia, you need a security license gained at a reputable training organisation. This is to ensure that you’re trained properly and given the support to succeed in your role.

Security Guard Training HQ points out that, “Proper training is the most crucial aspect of this job. It is more than muscles and mean looks. A nightclub security officer must be properly trained to handle any situation they may encounter. Poorly trained security personnel can take a bad situation to worse and quickly.”

“Training is also important in order to understand legal boundaries when on the job. There are many fine lines that cannot be crossed when it comes to being a nightclub security officer.” That’s why proper training is highly recommended.

Nightclub security tip #2: Learn to manage obnoxious patrons

It may seem obvious but working in a nightclub you will come across intoxicated people and troublemakers. In many cases, it’s your job to identify and control them.

Crime Doctor says, “Contact with an obnoxious customer should begin at the first sign of trouble. (Security staff and) bouncers should issue early, friendly warnings. Once warned, all club employees should be trained to collectively keep an eye on the patron and issue second reminder warnings, if appropriate. Most customers will respond to this approach.” Go back to your training to help you deal with these types of people.

Nightclub security tip #3: Learn to recognise when a patron is intoxicated

Liquor and Gaming NSW has a useful resource available which provides a comprehensive list of dozens of signs that someone is affected by alcohol. See Intoxicated Guidelines for information on behaviours, speech, coordination and balance.

Remember that a degree of judgement is required in determining whether a person is intoxicated, or approaching the point of becoming intoxicated. In exercising that judgement, the Guide says, “other factors should also be considered, such as the amount and types of alcohol served to a patron. Care must be taken to establish if there are other causes, such as a medical condition or disability.” These are all things to consider when working in nightclub security.

Nightclub security tip #4: Supplying liquor to a minor will get you fired (and possibly a large fine)

Even if you never serve at the bar as a security guard, you still need to be aware of the possibility of minors attempting to enter the premises and purchase alcohol. Recently in Manly NSW recently, the iconic Hotel Steyne was shut for a week after Liquor and Gaming NSW suspended the pub’s liquor licence after four underage girls were caught drinking there by police patrolling the venue.

The owner of the business mentioned that this would cost the venue about 100K in lost takings and that several jobs were on the line because of the error. Put simply, as a security guard, underage drinking should be something you need to be hyperaware of, as this can compromise a venue’s license.

Nightclub security tip #5: Rely on the support of your team

You probably will not be working alone, but as part of a team, rely on your teammates and support them. Wiki How says, “Learn from your team members and earn your co-workers' respect. This is the most important thing to remember - respect means everything.”

Security staff should act like a cohesive unit. “To work effectively on a team, members need to know their role and the overall project objective. Then, they can analyse situations that arise, diagnose the problem, and propose solutions that help the collective team work more effectively towards reaching the goal,” according to Tara Duggan of Demand Media, a small business network.

Nightclub security tip #6: Beware of stereotypes

Security Guard Training HQ points out that, “Nightclub security guards often have a stereotype placed upon them. Many believe that all nightclub security guards and bouncers are all muscle-bound rejects from some other venture.”

These days, there are many different types of guards, including nearly 20% of the workforce being made up of women, and plenty of workers aged 50+. Don’t let the stereotypes of the profession be a barrier to getting a job in a nightclub. These days, no one expects you to be enormous. Sometimes brains trump brawn in the nightclub game.

Nightclub security tip #7: You may have to eject a patron

The correct way to eject or escort a patron away from a nightclub premises would be covered in your training. Crime Doctor says, “Escorting a patron out of a nightclub involves the use of professional verbal commands and a polite explanation of why they are being asked to leave. If a patron has been dutifully warned previously, then it will be of no surprise.”

That’s not to say you won’t encounter any issues, so refer to your training. “If the conduct of the patron was obviously inappropriate,” explains Crime Doctor, “then it should be clear why they are being escorted out.”

How to survive the office Christmas party

Xmas Party

Tis the season to let your hair down, swivel the office chair around a few times and dance to some classic 90s hits at your office Christmas party. How do you make sure it’s a success for your career? Up to 50% of workers say that they regret going to the end of year celebrations

A recent survey showed that not everyone said they had negative feelings towards it, in fact, the office Christmas party was the highlight of the year for up to 43% of respondents in the 18-34 year old category. 25% of workers said they only looked forward to it if it was an all-expenses paid party, with 14% of workers having to pay for their own end of year celebrations. 15% of workers say they will be getting a Christmas bonus and nearly 60% planned on receiving a gift, however small, such as a mug or keyring.

If you’re about to have your office Christmas party, there are 7 main things you need to do to ensure that your night goes smoothly. Here’s your checklist.

  1. 1.Think ahead about what you want to achieve

Some people say they always skip the Christmas party as it’s too risky: they don’t want to end up in a compromising situation or in an embarrassing conversation. However, out-of-work-hours socialising can be one of your best opportunities to network. Identify at least 5 new people you’d like to get to know better and hit them up for a conversation in the first hour or two of the event before the karaoke tunes come out and important conversations will be forgotten.

  1. 2.Know who will be attending

From your direct colleagues, to upper management, sales staff and even contractors and out-of-office workers, know who will be there and plan in advance who to stick close to, and who to avoid. Office and workplace politics can transfer over to out-of-work events, so make sure you can dodge any awkward conversations easily.

  1. 3.Start with a sugary drink

Whether you’re planning on drinking alcohol or not (and let’s face it, most people will have a drink or two at their Christmas party!) start your night with a sugary drink such as lemonade or orange juice. The sugar gets into your bloodstream and the non-alcoholic liquid will hydrate you so that when you do have that first drink, you’re starting off right.

  1. 4.Make sure you eat enough

Most Australian companies would be cluey enough now to know they must provide both food and drinks at work events to ensure that staffers don’t get too inebriated too quickly. We all know that we’re supposed to alternate non-alcoholic drinks with alcoholic drinks but making sure you consume enough food is also important to your recovery the next day.

  1. 5.Safe passage is your employer’s responsibility

Believe it or not, it’s up to your boss to make sure you get home OK, to an extent. HR Inform says, “Organisations should ensure that at least one senior staff member does not consume alcohol and monitors employee consumption and behaviour at the event. Those responsible should also have sufficient taxi vouchers to ensure safe passage home… Many organisations include the cost of taxi vouchers in (their) Christmas function budget.”

  1. 6.Have fun

Let‘s not forget what the holiday season is all about – it’s time to let your hair down and enjoy life. Do not forget to have fun and try to appreciate the company of your teammates. Make an effort to reach out to someone new if you’ve been with the company for some time and make sure you act respectfully, and keep to the standards expected of you at work, particularly those rules around swearing, flirting and excessive alcohol consumption.

  1. 7.…and if something went wrong

Hopefully no one really noticed. Saying or doing something embarrassing is usually never that bad, unless the intent was malicious. If you really messed up, send an apology by email, raise it in person with the colleague affected or in a worse case scenario, speak to your managers or to HR/People and Culture, and get their expert advice. A quick apology and expression of regret usually goes a long way.