Your security clearance could be essential on your path to a six-figure income following military service. In this class, I answer all your most frequently (and stunningly insightful) questions. We also examine each one of the TEN Fairly Immutable Laws of Security Clearances for our VEP community. These will save you a ton of time and keep you out of trouble.
RULE #1: Know the players.
The employers who want your security clearance have one thing in common: they are the federal government, or their end customer is the federal government. A security clearance is optional for most other employers.
RULE #2: If the job listing says a security clearance is required, it is required.
You can always ask the contact person on the job listing if that is true, but it is almost always true. This is due to how the work space is laid out or the contract is written.
RULE #3: Your security clearance must be active.
For most active duty, your security clearance lasts two years after you leave the service. But despite being enrolled in the continuous vetting process, some people have a lapsed security clearance.
RULE #4: If you need a new clearance, look for the invitation in the job listing
In highly technical positions like software development, engineering, financial auditing, contracts, or foreign languages, employers might be willing to sponsor your security clearance. They will put secret language into the job listing. I explore all those options in this rule.
RULE #5: Some security clearances are more equal than others
A security clearance is not a guarantee that you will get a job. Think of it as the ante to get into the game. It is the ace up your sleeve. Generally, the bigger the clearance, the bigger the game you qualify for, which often leads to a bigger salary.
RULE #6: Having a clearance is not a secret.
There is always much discussion about whether you can list your security clearance on your resume or on a job site. Here is the rule: It is OK to put clearance on LinkedIn, job sites, and resumes, but don’t list what kind of poly you have (Counterintelligence, Lifestyle, and Full Scope Polygraphs).
RULE #7: Mental health treatment is not a secret.
Mental health questions are always a part of the security clearance. The SF-86 (the questionnaire for national security positions) does have questions regarding your mental health. Getting mental health treatment for common problems is a good thing. Find out the conditions that most frequently lead to losing a security clearance.
RULE #8: You must be a US Citizen to get a security clearance.
RULE #9: Job Boards are only the start to finding a security clearance job.
Find out all the different places these kinds of jobs can be found.
Rule #10: Use it or lose it.
If you don’t use your security clearance in your first job leaving the military, you can lose it. Even if you are looking for “something different,” give a little thought to where your clearance might take you.