Planning a Career in Security? How to set your Career Goals

26 January 2021
Most important skills for security professionals in 2021

Setting career goals is important for all professional career paths. If you’re considering starting a new career in the security industry, that’s great news as there’s a variety of job types available to you. This article will explain how to set career goals and identify your learning and development path to a more successful career and lifestyle.

Before you get started looking for a new career in any industry, consider your longer-term bigger aspirations, such as where you want to live and how much money you’d like to comfortably earn. At the same time, consider your own need for professional fulfilment and what makes you feel most valued in the workplace.

Security professionals have a challenging role – keeping people safe, loss prevention and risk management are key aspects of the industry. It’s also an incredibly rewarding industry to work in and there are many benefits and perks involved.

Choosing or changing careers is a big step and it’s not a decision to take lightly. You should also decide which area you want to specialise in, whether that’s being a security guard, management, an information security officer, an ethical hacker, or even a bodyguard protecting VIPs and celebrities.

A new career also brings a new lifestyle, so goal setting helps create a vision to work towards.

Why is goal setting important?

When you’re applying for new job roles, application letters and CVs should contain your career objective, which is intricately linked to your goals.

Having well-defined goals will also help you stay focussed and plan your career path with a long-term goal in mind.

Short-term vs Long-term goals

Short-term goals are often milestones towards longer-term goals. Long-term goals are usually achieved over a longer, more significant period of time.

Examples of short-term goals may be to finish a project or to get a certification. Long-term goals may be that you’re aiming towards a senior management position, working for a specific employer, or earning a target salary.

People often think differently when setting goals, some people are financially motivated, others are motivated by the notion of success and being known for their work. When you’re setting goals, think about both professional and personal fulfilment.

Setting SMART Career Goals

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Time-based

Without going through the intricacies of each of these definitions, simply put; your goals should be clear and concise, easy to measure their progress and have a deadline attached to them.

Break each goal down into smaller milestones, as this will help you track your progress.

Related: How to start a new career as a security specialist

Write down your goals

Writing your goals down forces you to think critically about how you word them. This is a highly personal task, so don’t worry about writing in such a way that others need to understand the nuance behind your meaning – so long as you understand what you’ve written!

Studies have shown that writing down your goals mean that you’re 42% more likely to achieve them, so it’s a worthwhile activity if you’re planning for your future.

Be Accountable to Yourself

These are your career ambitions, while things may happen outside of our control, you’re only accountable to yourself when it comes to reaching your goals.

Choose a Security Specialism

There are many career paths you can take in the security industry.

  • Security guard
  • Close protection officer
  • Security systems engineer
  • Information security
  • Surveillance and intelligence
  • Cybersecurity (which has many of its own specialisms under the umbrella ‘cybersecurity’ role)

Also, there are many different industries employing security professionals:

  • Travel (ports, airports, train stations and major travel hubs)
  • Retail and public areas
  • Celebrities and VIPs
  • Event security
  • Government departments

As you’re writing down your goals, consider what you imagine your day-to-day working life to be like and the locations you see yourself working in.

Set Learning & Development Goals

Learning and skill development is a common professional goal.

The first step towards becoming a security professional is usually to gain your SIA license, so if you’re new to the industry this will likely be your first goal.

As a security professional, developing your skills is a key aspect of the role because the nature of threats is constantly evolving and new threats emerge. Criminals are devising new ways to target businesses and individuals and it will be your job to stay ahead of these threats.

Many skills can be learned in training courses, e-learning and through self-study, but experience-based learning is necessary to improve your skills in a practical setting.

Choosing to study for a course is a big decision. It often requires a huge investment of your time and most importantly, your money. Training courses, accreditations and certifications all have an upfront cost. Whilst this may seem like a barrier at first, remember that this in an investment towards your professional lifestyle and is a milestone towards reaching your goals.

As a training provider, we recognise that some individuals have the ambition, passion, and drive to study but not the finances. Our affordable and flexible interest-free solution allows you to fund your studies by spreading the cost of your chosen course over monthly repayments. Our dedicated team of consultants will provide a tailor-made payment plan allowing you to invest in your future with no financial worries.

Related: 8 Essential Skills for Security Professionals

How to find the right learning and development opportunities to help you achieve your goals

Go back to the goals you’ve written down, ask yourself what you need in order to get there, or what’s potentially holding you back. It could well be that training could fill the gap and help you reach that next milestone.

Our range of security courses for professionals have been designed for individuals that want to develop their security knowledge through accredited professional development, with each course designed to increase the skills, knowledge and experience of security professionals and those that want to enter the security industry as a new career.

There are courses and certifications that cover general skills or soft skills, as well as more specialist courses available. Depending on your career goals and current level, ensure that you invest in courses that are right for you and will help you reach that next major step towards your goal.

Related: Which Cyber Security Certifications will help boost your career?

Summary – How to set Career Goals for Security Professionals

Setting time aside to work on your goals, writing them down and devising a path for yourself is a highly valuable exercise.

We also offer a mentor service to help guide you towards reaching your career goals. We provide current students with access to continual support and guidance, including free access to planned workshops for continual professional development, discounts on future courses and much more.

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