A military security clearance offers the possibility of job security in the civilian sector: That gem of a privilege can be the key to your new career.
Truth: Those of us who entered the military at a youthful age may not even realize the energy that was spent and the information that was collected to offer each of us a basic military security clearance. This basic Confidential clearance, when maintained, along with the more restrictive Secret and Top Secret clearances, may offer job opportunities in the civilian sector beyond what you may imagine.
Why not utilize your maintained clearance and skills to your advantage?
Let’s start with an explanation of the three levels of clearance classifications, from most restrictive to least.
1. Top Secret: This clearance applies to information that, if disclosed to unauthorized sources, may cause exceptionally grave damage to national security. This particular clearance needs to be re-investigated every five years.
2. Secret: This clearance applies to information that reasonably could be expected to cause serious damage to national security if disclosed to unauthorized sources. This clearance must be re-investigated every 10 years.
3. Confidential: This clearance applies to information that reasonably could be expected to cause damage to national security if disclosed to unauthorized sources. Most military personnel have this basic clearance. This level of clearance must be re-investigated every 15 years.
If your clearance has expired, you will need a Department of Defense Sponsor to allow you to begin obtaining a new one. Obtaining a clearance can take anywhere from three months to multiple years, so if at all possible: MAINTAIN your clearance. If for some reason your clearance has lapsed, once re-investigation has begun, a clearance can take over 200 days to process.
Unfortunately, clearances for veteran personnel and contractors may be denied or revoked. If this is the case, you may file a notice of appeal and submit a written appeal brief. This brief will be reviewed by DOHA (Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals). An appeal can only be based upon error made by the Administrative Judge, or “AJ.” An appeal is not an easy task to undertake, and you must be certain that an error made by the Administrative Judge is the cause for the appeal.
Assuming your clearance is ultimately approved, it is time to launch your resume onto job boards (Check out: USAjobs.com and ClearanceJobs.com).
When putting your resume on job boards, market your skill sets.
All military personnel are granted a clearance, but continued clearance — or a career utilizing your security clearance — is not a guarantee!
Depending on your individual talents and expertise, jobs can range in great capacity. Often, individuals with intelligence backgrounds will most likely have a Top Secret clearance, and may qualify for a vast array of jobs ranging from locations within the Department of Defense to jobs at the FBI or CIA. Private companies which collaborate with the DoD require clearances for their employees as well.
Many individuals with computer technology, coding and engineering experience are also sought-after individuals within clearance-required careers.
To protect the clearance-required job openings from individuals without proper clearances, the resume-building process, screening process and application process for these clearance positions found online are highly detailed and selective. Due to the sensitivity of these positions, even general information is challenging to obtain and bestow on the public without proper established clearance.
The best advice I can give is this: Maintain your clearance, define your skill set to a specific field, and be willing to put time and energy into the process. What you put in can become the best-spent time for the privilege and trust national security positions have in you as an investment for our country.
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