Archive for category Job Tips

Job Tips: Using RSS Readers For Job Hunting

When it comes to looking for security contracting jobs, you need all the help you can get for staying up to date with what jobs are out there. You also need to be able to react quickly to job announcements. So any tools and procedures that can help you do that, should definitely be used for your job search strategy.

Now of course there are the basic methods that most guys use, like perusing the forums/FB groups, signing up for job list subscriptions, asking around within their networks (personal and online), and checking out the various job boards/career pages and sites. But when it comes to doing a search efficiently and with speed, it can be kind of time consuming.

The other factor is that some job announcements operate on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis. I can recount at least two of my contracts that I got, purely  because I answered the job ad so fast. Recruiters, if presented a large pool of candidates that are generally the same, will often just go down the list as they get those submissions. And if those recruiters are on a tight schedule where they have to deploy guys ‘yesterday’, then they have no time to waste. They just go right down the list and start calling and emailing folks. So it pays to be quick on the draw when it comes finding jobs and responding to them.

So how do I make this process faster and more efficient? Well one tool I use is called an RSS reader.(Specifically one made by Feedly) RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and it is a tool that bloggers/journalists/researchers use to receive and process lots of information with. And the really cool thing about an RSS reader is that you can set them up to give you updates as they are sent out by the various blogs and sites. Meaning as soon as someone posts something, it is sent out immediately to the RSS feed, which if you have that RSS feed link in your RSS reader, then you will get that post.

How does this apply to job searches? Well, next time you are at a jobs website or a career page, look for a little graphic in the corner or somewhere on the page that says RSS. They will look like these icons.(see top graphic)

Put your cursor over it and copy it. Then paste that link into your RSS reader search engine, and when it comes up, put it in a category that is applicable. When I find a cool jobs RSS related feed or interesting website, I will put it into my Feedly RSS reader. I set my reader to update immediately.

What happens next is that every time that site posts a new job, that post is sent out to all of the RSS feeds. Meaning you will get that job posting as soon as it is posted, and you will see it in your RSS reader just waiting to be read. What is even cooler is that you can set up an RSS reader on your smart phone or tablet, and check your reader on the go.

I find myself checking my Feedly online and on my smart phone all the time. But if I do not check it and mark it as ‘read’, then it just stays in the hopper until I do read it. So if I am away for awhile or do not have access to the internet, I will still have a nice collection of materials to read at my leisure. You can keep all those posts in your reader as well and just mark them as read. I don’t delete that stuff because sometimes I will go back and re-read stuff.

You can also share those posts on social media, or do emails, thanks to the tabs included with most readers. I do this every day for blogging and social media sharing, and it is how I keep up to date with the news of the industry. It is also how I keep up to date with jobs.

Once you build an RSS reader, you will find yourself constantly looking for RSS feeds (post feeds, comments feeds, etc.) and URLs to put into the thing. Look everywhere for them, and also know that sometimes you can just put the URL for the site into the reader and it might recognize that site and it’s feeds. Play around with it and you will see what I mean. It is a fantastic tool and it will dramatically expand your ability to efficiently process the information that is out there. Here is a list of all the job boards/sites I have in my reader, complete with links to the feeds/URLs. Definitely put these guys in your reader.

Close Protection PSD Jobs

Conflict Area Management

International Security Jobs

Paladin Jobs

Secure Aspects

Security Officer Jobs-South Africa

USA Security Jobs

I personally use Feedly and it is a great reader. I also used Google’s RSS reader, but that closed down and after some research I ended up at Feedly. There are other RSS readers out there and they all do the same thing with various bells and whistles. Below I will leave a great tutorial on how to set up a Feedly account.

Enjoy and happy hunting! –Matt


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Job Tips: Tracking DoD Contract Announcements

Part of the trick with keeping up with contracts in this industry is to use resources that consolidate and make it easy to keep up.  So with this post, I wanted to give a heads up to those who like to track this stuff. DoD keeps a pretty good record that is easy to read and keep track of.  Although they do not have a RSS feed for these reports specifically, you can still bookmark it and check it out. It would even be cool if they put these out on Twitter as they were awarded? Anyway, you can sign up with their email subscription and have this stuff sent to your inbox.

So why is this a job tip?  Well if you are keen on a specific program that you have worked on in the past, and are waiting on whatever company is going to be awarded that contract, then it pays to follow this stuff. As soon as you find out who won these contracts, you can instantly contact a recruiter and ask to be put on their roster for that contract. Or you can just follow their vacancies and stand by for the job announcement.

The other great thing about this is that you can forward this information on to other contractors that you know are interested in a particular program, and hook them up with some good info. Who knows, the guy you help out now could be the PM that hires you for a gig in the future. That is the power of networking. –Matt


U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
Media contact: +1 (703) 697-5131
Contracts valued at $5 million or more are announced each business day at 5 p.m. Contract announcements issued within the past 30 days are listed below. Older contract announcements are available from the contract archive page. Contract announcements are also available by e-mail subscription. Go to DOD News for more information and for links to other news items.
Link to contracts website here.

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Job Tips: SAMI Member Companies And Their Career Pages

Ok ladies and gentlemen, I figured this would be a good resource for anyone interested. What I have done is to take every company that is a member of SAMI, and list them with their career sections.

The reason why I wanted to do this, is to direct applicants towards companies that actually care enough to sign on to a code of conduct and standard.  The list below is a very interesting mix of international companies, and you will recognize a couple from my last survey. The cool thing with this list, is these are actual maritime security companies or security companies, that have been approved by SAMI. This is also a big hint to clients of these companies, that you should direct your complaints to SAMI, to ensure quality is enforced.

The other cool thing about these companies, is that if you do gain employment with them, then you can direct your complaints to SAMI and demand that your company act in accordance to the codes and standards, or they get punished. SAMI is trying to promote itself as a group that can hold it’s members to a standard, and I thoroughly support this concept. I just hope they have the courage to do so.

Either way, I plan on making this a page up top so it is easy to get to. I can also modify, edit, and add more members up there. If you are the CEO or employee of one of the mentioned companies, and there is something incorrect or you would like to add something, just contact me or make a note in the comments section. You can do that here on this post, or on the page itself.

For those companies that are not SAMI members, let me know and I will put you down in the categories section ‘Private Naval Companies’ below, if you are not there already. Although I do reserve the right to ‘not include’ certain companies in either sections. I will probably be removing SAMI companies, and others as time goes by, just because if the word get’s out that you do not take care of your people, or that you have provided poor and reckless service to clients, then your company will not get promoted on this blog. –Matt

The SAMI List

Aspida (Greece)
Aspida is constantly looking for high caliber security professionals for deployment as part of our onboard security teams.
The ideal applicants should have a career in the special forces, be fluent in English and have a sincere love for ships and the sea.
If you are interested in a career at a company where skills, achievements and loyalty are highly valued and professional advancement is defined by meritocracy please send us your CV in English along with army discharge papers and training certificates to
Atlas Inc. (UK)
We require the minimum following qualifications before an applicant is considered by ATLAS. Military service discharge papers checked (for correct Military discharge).
ISPS Ships Security Officer Qualification.
STCW95 (Seafarers Training, Certification and Watchkeepers code 4 Part module, Fire Fighting, Elementry First Aid, Sea Survival Safety, Personal Safety and Social Responsibility.
ENG1 Medical qualified.
CV, reference check and interview.

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Government Work: What’s It Like For Federal Employees Working In Iraq Or Afghanistan?

Actually, it is a pretty sweet deal if you ask me. lol Now I am sure some of you are saying, why is FJ promoting government work?  It is true that I tend to lean towards private industry initiatives and reducing the size of government, but I am also into pointing out what works or what is a good deal in government for folks looking for work. In other words, I support personal choice, and if government work is your thing, then here are some ideas.

Below I have posted two articles that deal with government work in the war zones. The first describes the kind of conditions and salary you can expect, and the second is a job description for Security Protective Specialist or SPS with the DoS.

To me, the SPS position is probably the most relevant position to our industry, because these are the guys that command over the motorcade operations.  In other words, if you are a WPS certified contractor working for DoS providing diplomatic security, your company boss would be working hand in hand with an SPS for mission planning. The SPS is the guy that insures the State Department gets the type of security service it requires for whatever missions. So this is a very important position.

I guess the other thing to point out is do not get sidetracked by the initial salary.  That is the base salary, and the important figure to look at for salary is the uplifts, or overtime and danger pay.  There are other uplifts in pay and benefits, but as you can see with both articles and this section from the DoS site, the potential salary for overseas work is not that bad for government work:

SPS Initial salary will generally be at the FP-04, Step 1($57,678) which includes 8.82% overseas comparability payment.
    •    Post Differential – based upon post of assignment. Afghanistan – 35% of base pay; Iraq – 35% of base pay; Peshawar, Pakistan – 30% of base pay.($77,865)
    •    Overtime – OT may be expected and is paid at the rate of 1.5 times the hourly rate. May request compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay.
    •    Separate Maintenance Allowance (SMA) – while assigned to unaccompanied posts, SPS employees are eligible for SMA. The SMA is an annual grant determined by the number of dependents and ranges from $6,000 for one child to $20,200 for an adult dependent with 4 or more family members. The SMA is non-taxable.
    •    R&R – Kabul, Peshawar and Baghdad are under a generous leave/R&R allowance program (usually taken at 50-90 day intervals). Kabul and Baghdad allow 2 R&Rs and 3 Regional Rest Breaks (RRBs) or 3 R&Rs and no RRBs. Peshawar allows 2 R&Rs and 1 RRB. R&Rs provide round-trip transportation to any point in the United States. Time usually allowed is approximately two weeks. In addition to the Annual Leave allowance, posts often permit administrative leave to be used while on R&R.
    •    Annual Leave – federal employees earn Annual Leave (AL) based upon the following formula:
(a) If less than 3 years federal service – 4 hours a pay period (26 pay periods in a calendar year) (b) If between 3 and 15 years federal service – 6 hours a pay period (c) If more than 15 years federal service – 8 hours a pay period.
    •    Former Military Service – time spent in the US military is credited towards the annual leave allowance unless the employee is retired from the military. If retired and receiving retired pay, then form SF-813 (Verification of a Military Retiree’s Service) must be submitted before a determination can be made as to the amount of creditable service for leave accrual purposes.
    •    Sick Leave – all employees receive the same allowance – 4 hours per pay period.
    •    Life Insurance – employees automatically receive basic life insurance unless they waive it. They may also select from a variety of options to include up to a maximum of 5 times base annual salary.
    •    Health Insurance – employees may choose from a variety of options. Employees have 60 days to elect coverage. Coverage begins the pay period after the application forms are received in the DS HR Office.
    •    Retirement Plan – all SPS employees are enrolled in the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and contribute to Social Security.
    •    Thrift Savings Plan – employees may contribute up to the IRS limit ($16,500). USG matches up to 5% of employee’s contribution.
    •    Tax-free Housing – while SPS may be assigned to any foreign service post abroad, current requirements exist in Kabul, Afghanistan; Peshawar, Pakistan and Baghdad, Iraq. At all posts overseas, housing is provided at no cost to the employee.
    •    Application for Special Agent (SA) Position: There is no direct transition from the SPS to the SA position.

And just to re-emphasize some of the good deals here, the overtime is one area that you can do really well with.  In a war zone, it is not unheard of to work odd and very long hours.  With the SPS position, you can make a lot of overtime. Note that if you were to combine all of the benefits up top, to include retirement and medical benefits, then that ‘total benefit package’ starts to look pretty comparable to private industry.

If you would like to apply for an SPS position, you will have to go to USA Jobs or/and sign up with DoS’s email alerts.(currently the SPS positions are closed) I would also suggest getting in shape and working on your shooting game, because there is a pretty extensive train up and vetting process for this position. You should also make sure your background is good to go, so you can actually get the clearance required for this position. As with most government work, there are a ton of hoops to jump through to finally get on the job. But good things come to those who are patient and prepared. –Matt

What’s it like working in Iraq?
By Ed O’Keefe
Ed O’Keefe is on temporary assignment as The Washington Post’s correspondent in Iraq. In addition to traditional war zone reporting, he is keeping tabs on what it’s like for U.S. troops and government officials living and working in Iraq.
BAGHDAD – Interested in working for the U.S. government in Iraq? Though the dangers are obvious, the pay and perks can be pretty good.
Federal employees and contractors serving here face an almost-daily barrage of rocket attacks, the inability to travel freely, scorching hot temperatures and other cultural and linguistic limitations. But workers with the State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development and other federal agencies keep on coming, especially as the U.S. presence here becomes more of a civilian affair.

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Job Tips: Edinburgh International To Start A Recruiting Drive For Oil And Gas Security Jobs In Southern Iraq

Well, here you go guys and gals, and you heard it first on Feral Jundi.  The good folks at Edinburgh International contacted me recently to say that they are currently recruiting for some oil and gas security work in southern Iraq and they wanted to get the word out via FJ.  So the job tip here is that in order to be considered for this work, you need to sign up at their recruitment portal and get on their database. They will not accept resumes by email anymore, and you must be in their database to be considered. Please read the information carefully below as to what they want done. (hint, hint)

Good luck and I am not the POC or recruiter for this. Might I add that oil and gas security work will be very important and long term in Iraq, as the energy industry continues to grow there. –Matt

Edinburgh International only employs experienced and well trained consultants.
Pay, insurance, life support and terms of service all lead industry standards, and signify the calibre of individual employed by Edinburgh International.
In order to apply for a position within Edinburgh International (EI) we need to capture some information about you, your experience and qualifications. We will use this information to conduct candidate searches for ALL of our vacancies.  The more detailed the information you provide us, the greater the chance that we will be able to match you to a role.
Partial or incomplete submissions will automatically fail most EI job searches because we cannot find specific attributes unless you have added them. We cannot and do not search through every CV to find the information requested.
Please take care to fill in your details in all of the following seven sections:
•    My Details
•    Overseas Deployments
•    Qualifications
•    Languages
•    Licenses & Badges
•    Former Branches
•    Nationality
Applicants must be fluent in English. Only applications in this format will be accepted, applications sent via email will not be reviewed.
Your application will be entered into our database and you will ONLY be contacted in the event that you are matched with an opportunity. Calling EI offices directly WILL NOT help your application, please do not do so.
To enter your details onto the database for the first time, please go here. To update your details at any time, please click on Log in.
By submitting details to Edinburgh International , candidates agree to being vetted and having background checks carried out.
Edinburgh International is an equal opportunity employer. Its Equal Opportunities Policy can be found here.

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Cool Stuff: The New Danger Zone Jobs YouTube Channel!

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