ADVICE FROM THE GENERAL COUNSEL
Security Clearance Attorney Sean M. Bigley represents clients worldwide in security clearance denials and revocations. He is a former investigator for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. For more information, please visit www.bigleylaw.com.
A security clearance makes you a highly marketable commodity in today’s job market. Unfortunately, it can also make you a target for foreign intelligence services, criminals, and others who wish to harm our nation’s security.
Given this dynamic, many security clearance applicants wonder how they can advertise their unique skill set – and cleared status – in a way that maximizes their allure to potential employers, but also avoids security risks. Common related questions are whether it is ever okay to list a security clearance on a resume and how to know whether recruiters are legitimate or foreign intelligence operatives.
If you’re reading this article, you’ve already taken a crucial step. Registering on a website like ClearanceJobs.com helps ensure that only screened, qualified recruiters are viewing your resume. On ClearanceJobs.com you are operating in a community of security-conscious, like-minded individuals who understand the unique needs and concerns of security clearance holders.
There may be times, however, where your job search expands in other ways. For example, some applicants choose to attend career fairs or submit their resume to a friend who “knows someone.” When that happens, its important to consider the ramifications of your information falling into the wrong hands. Do you really want to send that resume off to an unknown third party with your home address and the words “Top Secret-SCI Security Clearance” emblazoned across the top of the page? Probably not. So what’s a tenacious job-seeker to do?
Do your homework
To start, make sure you do your homework on any potential employers before sending out a resume. Do they have a real physical address? A credible website? Actual U.S. government contracts? Be wary of employers who want to conduct your “interview” at a non-business location and recruiters who contact you offering a compensation package that sounds too good to be true. None of these issues are necessarily a “smoking gun” that the employer is shady, but conducting some due diligence is still a good idea.
I personally do not recommend listing your level of security clearance on your general resume that you regularly send to recruiters. If the job for which you are applying requires a certain level of clearance, the more discreet way of addressing the matter is simply making clear in your cover letter that you meet all advertised qualifications. A smart employer will appreciate what this means – both with respect to your security clearance and your street smarts.
Keep your personal information personal
Finally, if you do need to list your security clearance on your resume, consider obtaining a Post Office Box for your address instead of using your home address. Paranoia? Perhaps. But who says that has to be a bad thing.
This article is intended as general information only and should not be construed as legal advice. Consult an attorney regarding your specific situation.