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Category: Security

Takeaways from ASIS Anaheim

Takeaways from ASIS Anaheim

Jairo Borja is currently the Director
of Business Development at
Berkeley College and has been on
the ASIS YP Council since 2012.

This year marked my third ASIS International Expo and it was
a great event. I got to see new products, new trends and
learned a great deal. One particular panel, What Security
Employers Look For & What Makes Candidates Stand Out,
stood out. The panelists each presented a unique perspective shaped by t
heir diverse backgrounds.

Law Enforcement/Military Transferable Skills
Some people think that after years of service in the military
or law enforcement they do not possess the skill set necessary
to transition into another industry. I’m here to tell you
that is not true. If your previous career had you interact with
the public and resolve tense situations without escalation.
you can communicate clearly and effectively, perfect for a
sales or customer service role. If you served in a supervisory
capacity, you have management experience. Leading others
in pursuit of a common goal is a skill, whether in law enforcement,
the military or business.

A critical factor in the job seeking process is translating those
experiences to skills on a resume. Recruiters may be searching
through hundreds of resumes; it is important to make yours
stand out. A mistake free resume explaining your management
and customer service skill sets may get you in the door,
but it is up to you to “close the deal” by being prepared for
the interview. Remember, learn about the company, its specialties and how it works before
your interview.

The panelists stressed the importance of volunteering and
networking. Volunteers are critical partners in society, community
and in business; whether you teach, tutor, mentor,
coach or financially support, it is important to give back.
Volunteers make possible the programs that teach today’s
youth that the value of leadership and teamwork. So they
can then be successful in the future.
If you are currently between jobs, volunteering can be critical
to your future success as well. Employment gaps on
your resume are a red flag for recruiters and employers,
volunteering is an excellent way to create an uninterrupted
work history, demonstrate community involvement and
project a high moral character. Once you are employed,
think of staying involved and help shape someone else’s

The importance of networking cannot be overstated. It’s
not what you know it’s who you know, and how else will
you be exposed to the people who may be able to directly
or indirectly assist you? If you are in transition or just in
between employment, now is the ideal $me to get involved
and participate in networking events both inside and outside
of the industry. Your local Chamber of Commerce
pulls from diverse industries and is a great way to get a
warm introduction to potential employers or clients. Once
you are well known within the group, you can ask for introduction
to specific companies or industries and they will
open doors for you.
Joining and becoming an active participant in industry specific
organizations affords you tremendous benefits. You
are exposed to emerging trends and technologies, allowing
you to stay in front of the curve and plan ahead instead of
reacting. It also presents partnership opportunities: your
company may have limited resources, either financial or
physical, and finding a suitable partner may be the difference
between closing the deal and losing it. If you are in
transition or currently looking for employment, these
events will allow you to get a better idea about a company
and its employees before joining, or your contacts could
introduce you to potential employers.

It was a great expo in Anaheim and in particular I loved this
panel. Thank you to the panelists and moderator. See you all in Orlando,
next year !

Majoring in Criminal Justice Studies Can Lead To ….  By Jairo Borja

I have been in the Career Services Department at Berkeley College since 2009 and started getting involved with our students majoring in Criminal Justice in 2011. The field can be fascinating but the question is often: what can I do with that degree? Where can I find employment? My first response is for students to look at the three sections where the degree will be helpful: public, private and non-profit.

Public Sector

Whether it is federal Marshal’s service, municipal police, school safety, court officers or any of the thousands of areas where sworn officers are on the job, a degree is a first step. Then, almost every position requires qualifying through a tough written exam; a comprehensive psychological screening and a rigorous physical test. Once qualified, people can expect in-depth training for the particular position and a fairly long probationary period.  If you live in the metro area, here is a link where you can check for upcoming exams in NYC:

If you are interested in federal positions and some that are overseas, this link will be helpful: and

I recommend that people be patient. You might qualify on a list that takes well over a year before people are called for initial interviews and initial screening. I always ask that students listen to all the instructions provided and follow them to the letter. What you do or don’t do can delay the screening process and eventually there will be a new test, a new list and new candidates being considered.

Private Security

It’s a $350 billion industry -larger than public law enforcement and probably more diverse in the assignments available. It goes well beyond a guard standing at an entrance way. You even find contract officers in charge of initial visitor screening at many government buildings!

The private sector has security professionals working in IT-related services and the majority of about 2 million officers serving in other aspects of the private domain. This includes operations, investigations, event and special venue security, financial institution protection, plant operations, transportation and manufacturing centers -just to begin! According to some recent studies, private investigation is one part of the private sector that will grow significantly in the next decade.

For a list of some of the largest private security employers and more opportunities, check the following website:

In addition to your education, you will probably require your State’s security guard license and it is beneficial to also acquire a fireguard license for the municipality where you will be working. If you will be armed during your assignment, such as armored car operations, you will be required to qualify for the appropriate pistol license, taking the full training and refreshers related to that license.

For most private security positions there will be physical qualifications, some psychological tests and an in-depth background check focused on criminal convictions or pending litigation.


I separated out the non-profit sector because it doesn’t get as much emphasis as it deserves. We don’t always think of the shift supervisor over at The Salvation Army who collaborates with law enforcement over incidents at various locations or recruiting new clients at various jails/prisons for the Osborne Association.

Even being a Case Manager for the ‘Bridge Back to Life’ program can bring together what you learn in Criminal Justice with a wider perspective.

You will need more education than an Associate Degree in CJ. However CJ gives you a good perspective for careers in this area. Some titles include: Case Managers, Case Aides, Intake Coordinators, Career Coaches, Substance Abuse Counselors etc.

For a list of positions please visit: or even

In addition to a CSW or MSW, non-profit work often requires developing some special skills. To become a Career Coach or Job Developer for Osborne Association requires experience interacting with employers who can hire candidates that are ex-offenders. In the non-profit area you may be helping individuals making the transition from jail and prison back into with workforce or focusing on youth programs, shelter security, substance abuse recovery centers, etc.

Finally and overall, for anyone seeking to open doors to a security or law enforcement career, in addition to your college studies it can be essential to network with others already doing the work you see in your future. Join, ASIS International; create a professional on-line profile on LINKEDIN (with a professional headshot photo so you “look the part” to anyone considering you for a job).

Also, use LINKEDIN’s resources for reviewing new job postings. To join LINKEDIN go to: And, keep up to date on the latest technology in the industry; and stay in touch with former classmates and professors so you can ask for recommendations from them going forward.

Hope this helps.

Jairo Borja 

Berkeley College, NYC –