Is a security clearance still a salary golden ticket, guaranteeing top pay and job security? In an era of sequestration and declining Department of Defense budgets, golden tickets are hard to come by.

Unfortunately, the days when cleared professionals could name their price in the job market are gone. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still negotiate top dollar.

First, update your resume. When you come to the negotiating table, you’ll want to put your skills and certifications up front.

Second, show hiring managers the money. Did you bring in business in the past year or on your last job? Have you successfully forged relationships that aid business development?

Finally, know your market value. If you’re relocating, consider cost of living differences. Also know that given today’s tumultuous government contracting environment, skills that are paying top dollar today may not be paying as well tomorrow, and vice versa. Make sure research on your industry is current and bring those figures to the negotiating table.

A security clearance may not be a golden ticket, but it’s still valuable, both in terms of job security, and salary.

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Lindy Kyzer is the director of content at Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email Interested in writing for Learn more here.. @LindyKyzer