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Enduring the Clearance Confusion Leads to Marketability

The cleared world can seem confusing. While confusion can lead to frustration, the hoops for applicants demonstrate that not just anyone can get a clearance. The requirements for maintaining a clearance means that once you are cleared, you are more marketable to recruiters. Make sure you keep your clearance sponsorship in mind as you make your career moves.

Clearance Levels

The three common security clearance levels are public trust, Secret and Top Secret. Some think that a different clearance level translates to more pay; however, experience, job requirements, location, and certifications are the primary factors when it comes to salary.

The adjudicative criteria to access classified information are the same for a Secret or Top Secret security clearance, with security clearance level depending on your ‘need-to-know.’ While a Top Secret investigation is more intense, the reported facts impact denial or revocation for a Secret and Top Secret, alike.

In the Interim

When you’re first starting out as a contractor, it can be discouraging if you’re denied an interim clearance. However, an interim clearance is not the final writing on the wall. Some things just take a little more time to resolve, so if you have a juicier past, it may be helpful to find a contractor that has unclassified work for you to do while you wait for your cleared career to take off.

Living the Cleared Life

While it may seem like just living a “normal” life could count against you in the clearance, it’s important to remember that adjudicators use the whole person concept, and it’s critical to be honest. Careful documentation and regularly reporting areas that could be considered a red flag can help keep your clearance safe.


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Jillian Hamilton has worked in a variety of Program Management roles for multiple Federal Government contractors. She has helped manage projects in training and IT. She received her Bachelors degree in Business with an emphasis in Marketing from Penn State University and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.