Security Guard Skills: What They Are and How To Develop Them

Updated January 26, 2023

Having strong security guard skills can help you improve your work operations, boost your expertise and handle situations more effectively. Relevant skills for security guards, or security officers, can include communication, surveillance and teamwork. Understanding why security officer skills are important and how you can develop them can be useful for your career growth. In this article, we explain what security guard skills are, summarize what they do and their skills and offer tips on highlighting these skills during the application process.

What are security guard skills?

Security guard skills are areas of expertise that can help security guards succeed in their roles. These skills may include communication, teamwork, leadership and organization. The type of security guard role you work in can also determine what specific skills are relevant for you. For example, if you work as an event security guard, customer service skills might help you assist event attendees with their questions. However, if you work as a nighttime security guard for a building, developing surveillance skills might be more useful.

What do security guards do?

Security guards can perform a variety of daily duties depending on their position or workplace. Here are some common activities that security guards perform:

  • Ensure the safety of the space they guard

  • Enforce rules as needed

  • Manage security checkpoints

  • Detain individuals who violate regulations

  • Communicate with other security personnel

  • Assist visitors to provide positive experiences

Examples of security guard skills

Security officer skills can help you excel in a variety of daily duties and provide many functional benefits. Here are some specific examples of these skills and how you might use them:


Communication skills are important for security guards because they may need to interact with teammates or visitors. Besides verbal communication skills, written communication skills can also help you when writing daily security reports or reporting an incident. Scenarios where security guards may need to communicate with others include:

  • Discussing individual priorities among teammates for different security shifts

  • Strategizing with teammates to handle potential conflicts

  • Providing directions to visitors at a building

  • Explaining security procedures to event attendees

  • Delegating tasks to teammates

Related: 7 Tips for Improving Communication Skills


Teamwork skills can help you accomplish tasks effectively when working as part of a security team. You and your team members might need to work together to monitor spaces or address conflicts. Here are some examples of when teamwork skills may be useful:

  • Choosing who monitors each space of an area your team is guarding

  • Switching positions throughout shifts to help team members maintain focus

  • Working together to handle any unexpected situations that arise

  • Monitoring the space when someone takes a break

Strong teamwork and partnerships might help you guard spaces more effectively and ensure safety from different perspectives.

Related: Teamwork and Collaboration: What They Are and How To Improve Them


Having leadership skills may be beneficial if you manage a security team or multiple teams across different locations. Specifically, you might use leaderships skills for the following tasks:

  • Training your security teams on how to handle specific situations

  • Helping your teams meet their safety goals by providing guidance

  • Delegating specific assignments to individuals based on current needs

Even if you don't manage security teams, you may still use leadership skills to take initiative on tasks or handle conflicts. Using these skills might also show your manager that you can handle a management position.

Related: How To Improve Your Leadership Skills: Steps and Tips


Strong organizational skills are beneficial for security guards because you may need these skills for documentation. For example, you might need to file a written report about activities you observe while on duty. Other examples of how you can use this skill include:

  • Locating previous reports for reference

  • Finding specialized documentation for authorized personnel

  • Filing official incident reports

These skills might also provide benefits if you're in a leadership position and need to organize team information, like performance reviews or personal information.

Related: How To Write a Professional Security Report


Effective surveillance skills can help security guards ensure safety and monitor spaces for questionable activity. Some examples of how you may use surveillance skills in this profession include:

  • Examining activity from camera monitor rooms

  • Monitoring activity from the front desks in office buildings

  • Checking for questionable activity at night

  • Watching individuals' behavior in crowds at venues

Surveillance requires strong attention to detail because it can help you better notice activity in the space you're guarding. This may provide you with opportunities to recognize potentially challenging situations before they arise.

Critical thinking

Critical thinking focuses on the analysis of information or situations which can help you decide whether or how you need to act depending on your observations. Strengthening your critical thinking skills can allow you to make informed safety decisions and examine situations while working as a security guard. Here are some examples of how you might use this skill:

  • Determining if an activity you witness is a potential safety threat

  • Analyzing an individual's intent if a situation arises

  • Evaluating your observations to identify concerns

How to improve security guard skills

If you're interested in improving your security guard skills, here are some helpful steps:

1. Participate in specialized training

Taking part in specialized training can help you develop security officer skills and continue learning and growing in this profession. Typically, specialized training focuses on a single skill or similar skills and can provide you with professional development materials. If there's a specific skill or multiple skills you're interested in improving, you might research training offerings near you.

2. Join security guard organizations

Joining security guard organizations is another way to develop your professional skills because you can discuss industry topics, like conflict resolution or event security, with other security guards at different experience levels. These discussions may help you broaden your perspective or learn tips to advance your skills.

3. Network with other security guards

Networking with other security guards or security professionals can help you make industry connections. Depending on the experiences of the individuals you connect with, you may learn additional skills, such as strategies for focusing. Networking may also help you find a mentor in the security field who can offer advice and help you develop your skills.

Security guard skills in the workplace

When working in a security guard role, you can use your skills and expertise to help maintain safe environments. Here are some tips to help you improve your skills throughout your career:

  • Create a professional development plan: You might benefit from creating a professional development plan because it can help you stay focused throughout your career growth. In this plan, you may include goals or new topics you want to learn.

  • Listen to other security professionals: There are many audio-learning options available, like podcasts or audio-based social media platforms, for learning about security topics. You can search for security guard-related content online to help you expand your expertise and hear industry tips.

  • Gain professional licensure: If you're interested in developing your skills beyond training or certifications, you may gain professional skill-based licensure to show your mastery of important security officer skills. This type of licensure and requirements can vary among states.

Tips to highlight security guard skills

Highlighting the skills needed to be a security guard can be important when applying for security guard positions. Typically, it's beneficial to feature these skills on your resume, in your cover letter and when discussing your qualifications in an interview. Here are some specific tips for how you can highlight these skills throughout the application process:

  • For resumes and cover letters: On your resume, you might highlight your skills by adding a section with a bulleted list of your top skills. For your cover letter, you might provide specific examples of how you've used your security officer skills in the past.

  • For job interviews: Interviewers may ask specific questions about your skills but if not, you can discuss your skills when answering other types of questions they may ask. For example, if they ask about your most recent position, you can talk about the security officer skills you may have used in that position.

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