The Security Clearance Advantage

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Master Sgt. Jesse Chervinka and Jessie Rhom help a cadet process an Electronic Questionnaire for Investigations Processing, or e-QIP, form in the Foreign Language Lab here Jan. 12, 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo: Mike Kaplan)
Master Sgt. Jesse Chervinka and Jessie Rhom help a cadet process an Electronic Questionnaire for Investigations Processing, or e-QIP, form in the Foreign Language Lab here Jan. 12, 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo: Mike Kaplan)

One of the most valuable qualifications that a transitioning servicemember can bring to the table is active security clearance. Today, thousands of employers, including defense contractors and government agencies, are in a desperate hunt for cleared individuals. Qualified job seekers will find they have a tremendous advantage over noncleared candidates. Unfortunately, many people let their security clearances lapse. An active clearance is a commodity that must be maintained and managed.

Related: Search for Security Clearance jobs.

Employers value people with active security clearance since it can take between six months and two years for a person to receive a clearance. In addition, the clearance process often is very expensive.

A government security clearance requires a reinvestigation every 15 years for a “confidential” clearance, every 10 years for “secret,” and every five years for “top secret.” When a clearance becomes inactivate (because the individual switches jobs or leaves the military), it can be fairly easy to reinstate within the first 24 months, as long as that period falls within the reinvestigation window. After that, the task becomes significantly more difficult. In other words, if your clearance is going to lapse, you should consider some options to reactivate it within the first two years.

Related: Does your resume pass the 6-second test? Get a FREE assessment.

The easiest way for you to maintain your clearance is to take a “cleared” position with a company or government agency. The job board of the U.S. government, www.USAJobs.com lists more than 2,000 positions requiring some type of clearance.

Another approach for keeping your clearance active is service in the National Guard or Reserve.

Finally, you can turn to specialty staffing companies that assist defense contractors and government agencies to fill temporary and full-time positions with cleared individuals.

If you still hold a clearance or you are still within the two year window, you should take advantage of your highly marketable status. Visit www.military.com/veteran-jobs/security-clearance-jobs to start looking for your next great opportunity.

Related: For the latest veteran jobs postings around the country, visit the Military.com Job Search section.

The Next Step: Find the Right Veteran Job

Whether you want to polish up your resume, find veteran job fairs in your area, or connect with employers looking to hire veterans, Military.com can help. Sign up for a free Military.com membership to have job postings, guides and advice, and more delivered directly to your inbox.

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