How to Apply for Bodyguard Work (and how not to).

You’re new to executive protection and bodyguarding or you’ve been working in it for a while and you’re out of work, how do you find work? That’s a question asked by so many in this field. There is no magical answer but I can give you some sound advice.

As the owner of a security company who employs protection professionals, and as the Executive Director of the Executive Protection Institute (EPI), I am often asked to help people find assignments or full time employment.


Let’s start with your resume. Your resume consists of paper with a bunch of words on it, sometimes lies. It’s estimated that over 50% of resumes contain lies, or misrepresentations. So first point; be truthful. Integrity is so vital to our industry that it starts with your resume.

Don’t overstate your experience or qualifications. You’re entry level? That’s ok. It’s the honest truth. One page is best, two maximum.

You can prepare a CV which stands for curriculum vitae, which is Latin for; “course of life” (also resume). Hey, isn’t that the same thing? Generally, a resume is a brief and concise one or two page summary of your skills, experience, and education. A CV is more detailed and longer.

You can list just about everything you have ever done on a CV, but a resume should be limited to the assignment at hand. If you are applying for bodyguard work, then your resume should basically be only about your bodyguard skills, experience, and education. If it doesn’t fit on one or two pages, it’s too much information. Again, one page is best, two at the most.

One of my employees (who shall remain nameless) came in and gave me a 14 page CV. I never got past page 3 (I hired him anyway), which brings up another point: Resumes don’t get you assignments. Your face gets you assignments! Let me repeat that; your face gets you work, not your resume (I’ll cover this in more depth later)!

I literally get thousands of resumes a year. I have a stack of them in my office 12 inches high. When I run an ad for a protection specialist, I will get sometimes over 200 resumes within 2 weeks. Of these 200, about 150 are immediately thrown out as unqualified.

Here’s another clue; if I ask for a 1-2 page resume, and you send me 10 pages with every certificate you ever got including the boy scouts, how do you think I respond? Unqualified; cannot read, understand, or follow instructions. Sounds harsh? That’s the way it is. You have to follow given instructions.

Of the 50 resumes I deem qualified, we will usually call to discuss working the assignment (no details given out at this time, just basic obscure information). About 30 people will disqualify themselves on the phone just by their attitude and demeanor. Ego, attitude, and bravado play a big part here.

Don’t puff out your chest and pound on it saying how great you are. I’m looking for a professional who is looking for their next assignment, not the World’s Best Bodyguard (besides, that would be me).

We then meet with who we deem qualified and are a square peg for a square hole. That usually narrows it down to 4-5 candidates. If you are not selected, it doesn’t mean you are a bad person; just not right for that assignment. I get a lot of professionals who bemoan the fact I don’t give them every assignment I get. Not every assignment is for you.

If you are a square peg and I need a round peg, I am not going to take a chance and pound you into the hole and see if it works, sorry. Don’t take it personally. Professionals understand this and will not put themselves in contention for an assignment that they know they are not suited for, or they recognize that there are other qualified candidates in the market place and you don’t get every assignment you apply for.

Unsolicited Resumes

Every week, I get resumes emailed to me, unsolicited. This means, I didn’t ask for them, but people are just sending me one anyway. That’s ok, but so is buying a lotto ticket. “Hey, you never know”, right? Rolling the dice. In all honesty, the chances of getting an assignment from me like this are very slim.

Here’s my favorite; I get an email that’s address to 20 or so others, and it says, please find my resume enclosed. No name, And the resume is attached as “resume”. So I’m getting a resume I didn’t ask for and it’s also being sent to 20 others, and it’s completely generic like being addressed, “To Whom It May Concern”. Not very personable.

And now I have to download this resume, and I don’t know what name to give it (resume 23,050?). Not my favorite email. I call it the shotgun approach. Just fire it off in some direction and see it I hit anything (Kevin Costner in the Bodyguard, shooting with his eyes closed-I love it).

Here’s another example: I get a FedEx package, I open it and find a resume. Nice folder, cover letter, photos. Cool. I looked it over and it’s from a recent graduate from an EP school. Minimal experience, so I place it with all the resumes and continue on with my work.

About a week later I receive and email asking if I received the package. Well, here’s another clue; as a company owner, I get over 200 emails a day, and about 50 phone calls, of which I can only handle a small percentage, so I didn’t answer his email (and I might not answer yours either, sorry). About a week later, I get another email that has somewhat of a nasty tone; I sent you my resume, you can see from my resume I’m highly qualified, I sent you an email, why haven’t you responded?

Well, I like helping entry level folks, so I called him up and I let him go on for a while and I finally stopped him and said, time out; your resume was unsolicited, it was weak, I put it with all the rest of the resumes, and why do you think I’m obligated to respond to your emails?

He was young, and he responded to my points of view, so I spent some time with him on what went wrong with his strategy. The reason I’m sharing this is it’s important to consider the right way to send a resume and the wrong way.

Your Face, not your Resume

I’m a strong believer in this, that it is not your resume that gets you work, it’s your face! Let me repeat myself, it’s not your resume, it’s your face that counts! I will more often than not, hire someone because I have met them, then from just a resume. For me it’s a fact.

I do hire as I outlined before from resumes when I’m running an ad or looking for a specific type of person, but more often than not, I will hire someone whom I have personally met, before someone I have not, especially for entry level individuals. I’m not sure if this is just me, but I have discussed this with other people who hire for EP work, and generally they feel the same.

So what is more important; your resume or your face? I strongly recommend that if you are looking for work, get out and meet people that hire. Where? Conferences, Trade shows, local ASIS luncheons, etc. And when you meet people that hire, don’t immediately press a resume into their hands (remember unsolicited?).

Here is another clue; there is something about meeting the right person at the right time at the right place. It can happen by accident (and sometimes that’s how people get jobs), or it can happen because you knew who the right person was, you met him at the right time and place. Which has better odds? You have to find out who is the right person to meet. Then you have to study when the right time is and where is the right place. Then you have to put yourself there at that time.

Let me ask you this; you live in East Cupcake New Jersey and you want to go to Chicago; do you just walk out of your house and start walking north? Your research airfare versus driving, you check routes on maps, you use MapQuest and Kayak and other tools, and you figure out which is the best option based on your available cash, right? Why do so many people just send out there resumes and hope it gets to the right person?

Do your homework, ask around. Meet other EP Professionals and ask their advice. Ask someone with experience to look over your resume. Be humble and don’t be afraid to seek the advice of the more experienced. Write an honest resume and be straightforward with your answers. And for God’s sake, get out and meet the people who hire others. Your odds of getting work will drastically improve. I hope this helps and Good Luck!

Jerry Heying CPP, PPS, CST

President/CEO International Protection Group, LLC

Executive Director Executive Protection Institute

Founding Member International Protective Security Board

Will Training Get Me A Job?

Some people believe the value of a training program is based on the number of job opportunities that result. This is an interesting consideration. Obviously, training should improve performance, which in turn, should provide enhanced job opportunities. But, as one of my former bosses told me, “Opportunity and ability are on random courses; once in a while they cross.” All of the ability in the world is not a guarantee of employment. There has to be an opportunity. Of course, having more abilities increases the odds of you being a fit for more opportunities. So, by all means, get as much training as your resources permit. Just remember that training is a polishing action, not a constructive one.

I offer as an example an experience my wife had in her first job. After taking clerical skill classes in high school, my wife worked as a secretary in an advertising agency. One day she commented to the company’s illustrator how much she admired his art work. She mentioned that she wished she could draw like that. He told her anyone can learn to draw, but not everyone can become an artist. In other words, training can improve innate abilities but it cannot create them.

So much more than job knowledge and skills goes into making someone employable. The employers I have spoken to say they consider an number of intangibles beyond job knowledge; things like appearance, communication skills, social graces, presence, and that hard to define but easy to recognize trait of “likeability”.

Since a training academy has limited knowledge of a student going into the program, they can’t very well assess a student’s employability. Of course a security training company can and should conduct a basic background check; things like criminal history, personal references, etc. But few, if any, are going to conduct a battery of pre-employment processes that includes psychological testing, polygraph examinations, assessment centers, etc. like many police agencies do. Training companies are generally not employment agencies. Even with this information some candidates fail to make the grade. Without such information it would be foolish for an academy to promise employment.

Add to this mix the willingness to relocate to where the jobs are. Sometimes, a student has what it takes to succeed in the business, but can’t or won’t relocate. This often eliminates a number of opportunities.

While it is unreasonable to expect that the training academy can guarantee a job, it is quite reasonable to investigate the academy’s reputation in the field and the esteem with which it is, or isn’t, held by practitioners.

In the final analysis, satisfactory completion of any training program can get you into the interview. Then, it is on the individual to get the job.

Gene Ferrara PPS, CST

Chief Instructor at Executive Protection Institute

Nine Lives Associates Member #3


The International Protective Security Board (IPSB) and the Close Protection Conference (CPC)

A Positive and Natural Evolution of the Executive Protection International Conferences

As has been announced recently, the annual conferences that EPI and ESI have been co-sponsoring for the last 4 years will now be hosted by a new organization, the International Protective Security Board (IPSB) under the name, Close Protection Conference (CPC). I thought I would explain some additional details of how this all came about and the benefit it will provide for our industry.

During the second Executive Protection International Conference (EPIC) held in San Antonio, an open forum discussion session based on the positive success of ESI and EPI working together to co-sponsor one annual conference together took place. I suggested the idea of using the EPIC conference as the basis of forming an EPIC “council”. The idea behind this was that based on the broad support of alumni from the top two EP schools and all the other attendees of the conferences, we could form an organization that would be an advocacy group to support the Executive Protection industry. The response of those in attendance was very positive and this discussion lead to additional meetings, dinners, and discussions. Prior to my suggestion of a council, many other members of the EP community had also been having discussions about working together to elevate our industry. I strongly believe that EPI and ESI forming a working relationship centered on the annual conference created a strong catalyst that promoted more EP professionals coming together in a like-minded manner.

At the end of the 2015 Conference in Orlando, the momentum was very strong and several members of our industry gathered and expressed that the time was right to initiate a new organization that could carry the momentum beyond what two training schools could do by ourselves. The founding members of the IPSB met in January in Miami and in one day outlined and created a new organization which is a non-denominational and not-for-profit organization that now represents the entire “Protective Security” industry. This includes individual protection professionals (experienced and entry level alike), service companies, training schools, secure transportation providers and trainers, defensive tactics trainers, firearms instructors, and all other services related to the protective security mission.

Some have asked, why a new organization? Aren’t there enough other organizations representing security and executive protection? Well, I’m glad you asked: no, not really. There is ASIS International which is the world’s largest security organization (of which I have been a member for 30 years) and it has a newly formed executive protection council, but it’s overall mission is to represent all sectors of security of which EP is a small sliver. Others have asked about the American Board for Certification in Homeland Security and their new ABCDEP certification in Dignitary and Executive Protection and if that will help the industry. Any effort to give greater recognition for protection professionals is good and we applaud them for doing so, yet, essentially this organization is a for profit company that provides certifications in multiple disciplines, and if someone lacks the required knowledge, they offer online training courses you can take to gain the required knowledge as well as courses to maintain their certifications. So, in some regard, they are part of the education services for protection professionals like many other schools and don’t solely represent the protective security industry.

The formation of the IPSB is a natural and positive evolution of the success of the EPIC conferences and will take the momentum created by EPI and ESI working together to the next level. The IPSB will collect industry data and will produce white paper reports and will advocate for greater recognition and support of the protective security mission. I hope you will join me with this new effort and continue the momentum forward and upward and attend or continue to attend the annual EP conference, which has become the largest gathering of personal protection professionals in the world.


Jerry Heying CPP, PPS, CST

Executive Director Executive Protection Institute

Founding Member International Protective Security Board

#TBT Personal Protection Networking

In honor of “Throw Back Thursday” we reached into our Archives and found a great article “Personal Protection Networking” written by Dr. Richard W. Kobetz, Founder of Executive Protection Institute in 2003. Much of the information shared in the article still holds true today!

It is most interesting that many would-be Personal Protection Specialists have taken the inconvenience and expense of investing in a formal education at a college or university; have taken a long-term training program, or have served in the armed forces. Each endeavor represents considerable expense, tremendous investment of time and/or performance of studies and duties. Neither individually nor collectively have these accomplishments resulted in or guaranteed success in obtaining or actual performance in a position. Still some in the Personal Protection field believe that with the investment of a few thousand dollars and one week of instruction in a program, there is instant professional performance capability for this new career. And, having completed a few dozen hours of training, they are now qualified to immediately perform personal protection services alongside career agents with years of on-the-job experience. Possible for some, but not a likely possibility for most. But, nevertheless, the first step in any career field, as many a job seeker can attest to, is to find a position you are qualified and selected for.

Top ten percenters will recognize that you first must intelligently build a solid foundation of ability. This may begin with formal education, training programs, reading and learning all there is available to you on the subject. These accomplishments are blended with solid personal traits of honesty, courtesy, humor and personal discipline. Your anticipation must consider your ability to be adaptable, dependable and flexible in your position as a personal protection practitioner. And most important of all, you network in order to obtain contacts that may directly or indirectly assist you with opportunities for employment.

Networking has been around for a long time, however, most of us still do not fully understand what it really is. Basically, it connects people with people. It is a valuable form of communication, and the key to success is making it work for you. You must be committed, dedicated and motivated to network by understanding what it means to personal and business success.

Sending or handing out a business card, brochure, letter or any other paper or cardboard connection and waiting for the telephone to ring is not networking. People have to meet you, talk to you and get to know you in order to form opinions about you before they will reach a conclusion to work with you or offer you a job. They have a great deal more at risk than you have if they have made the wrong choice.

We are in a professionally dangerous time in history where many men and women have adopted the philosophy of self-importance based upon an illusion of “you can do anything you want to do,” or “have it your way.” After all, you must be assertive and have self- confidence, not be used or abused, and no one can tamper with your illusion of reality. [This may be true if you have taken the time and inconvenience to “become” someone, rather than the all too common notion of wanting “to be” someone instantly]

Keep in mind the awareness of ego, which is the most common problem blocking success today. “Good ego,” like “good cholesterol,” is the belief that you can succeed, coupled with the ability and the capability to perform, which is something you need to perform the job well. As opposed to bad ego, like bad cholesterol, which can cause you problems, when you are not really able or capable of performance in the required manner for the specific assignment, and somehow you believe you have the absolute correct answer for any challenge.

Remember, who you know and who knows you is the basis of networking, and you never outgrow your need for contacts. Networking is not just appearing somewhere one time; it is interacting with people. A network activity merely gives you a place to do it. You build your own network just like one builds anything worthwhile: slowly, with patience and quality. Whether it works or not is ultimately up to you. Remember, with all contacts you have one opportunity to make a first impression. Mistakes and errors are costly and very difficult to correct, and gossip and rumor-mongers love to spread negative, not positive information about your mistakes. As in all endeavors, the losers of life are waiting to attack the beginners and the winners.

Networking is not an event. It is a process of building relationships. By becoming part of a networking organization you are not taking over other people’s networks. You have to do more than merely pay dues to a professional organization; you must appear at activities and events and make personal connections with people. Talk to people, be curious, ask questions and follow through if you make commitments to call or send an article of interest. Do not have dead- end conversations. Be open and articulate. Networking is an exchange, not an exploitation. Give more than you get. Personal contacts will always get things done; they speed up the process to success. You are the C.E.O. of your own network, and it is totally your responsibility. No one else can do it for you.


  • Networking Never Stops. Use Every Opportunity.
  • Courtesy and Politeness Work Magic.
  • Networking Works Both Ways. Listen Before You Speak.
  • Your Most Important Asset Is Your Reputation.
  • Networking Is A Connector.
  • Nothing Less Than Your Best Is Ever Good Enough.
  • Don’t Worry About Who’s Right. Worry About What’s Right.
  • Ability Is Nothing Without Opportunity. Network for Opportunities.
  • Never SUBMIT Your Resume Unless Requested to Do So.
  • There Are No Limits to Networking. Keep At It.

Copyright © 2003, Executive Protection Institute