So, you supported the Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer and are looking to transition into big tech with companies like Google, Amazon, or Microsoft. Not only are they great organizations to work for with some solid job security, but they also have a plethora of opportunities both in and out of the government sector.

This ClearanceJobsBlog subscriber wanted to make a career pivot to big tech, but still wanted to use his security clearance:

I possess a valid State Department granted TS/SCI clearance. At the end of August, I will retire from the Foreign Service. What is the best way to approach the Apple’s/Google’s/Amazon’s/Microsoft’s of the world regarding their security clearance vacancies? I know I can go to their web sites, but I am hoping for more insights and network-oriented pointers.


When job seeking, it always pays to become an expert on potential employers. If you’re looking to apply to these larger organizations, you’ll find that recruiters are even more swamped, and finding one that is specific to a position you’re interested in will be almost impossible. Here are some general tips:

Lead with what you bring to the table

These types of companies thrive on diversity and individuality of team members. Are you a diversity candidate? Lead with your experience as a woman, minority, person with a disability, or a veteran, and talk about how that makes you the best candidate for the job. Is a clearance a hard requirement? Confirm that yours is active and you are ready to start today. Try to think about what makes the recruiter’s job easier (it’s usually finding the right candidate yesterday).

Rules of engagement with recruiters

Don’t ever ask them to look at your resume if you’re sending a cold message / email. Formally apply online, reach out to them on a recruiting platform or social media, let them know you applied, and list a couple of bullet points for why they should continue the conversation with you. Definitely include your resume in case they’re interested, but starting the conversation with a task will never work. Here are some other key rules of engagement for reaching out to a defense industry recruiter.

Use the right technology

Have you ever done a LinkedIn search for who the current recruiters are for Microsoft and Amazon to try and make a connection? Good luck, because there are about 7,000 (I’m not kidding). Using the right technology or website in such a busy recruiting market is key; so if you’re looking for a security clearance required role for these companies, you’ll want to be networking on platforms like ClearanceJobs where Microsoft has just 11 recruiters and Amazon has just 20. Also be sure to attend cleared career events and virtual career events that are free to candidates – where they are sectioned off by job types, locations, clearance levels, etc. At these events you can message with a Microsoft or Amazon recruiter right from the comfort of your couch.

CLEARED jobs with Google, Amazon, and Microsoft

Google is a traditional open source platform, so it makes sense that they aren’t recruiting for U.S. security cleared personnel to support government contracts…nor have any been awarded in the traditional sense. Since 2008, Google has received around $49 million from federal agencies, but a big chunk of that is related to advertising services. The only positions advertised on their career page (a mere 3) requiring a security clearance are for Canada and Israel.

That being said, companies like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Federal are huge players within the defense contracting game and have a variety of roles that will put your security clearance to use. While you may need some training, certifications, or some on the job experience to apply for their technical openings, Amazon has over 250 TS/SCI roles listed and Microsoft is recruiting for 400 TS cleared personnel.

Your next obstacle could be transferring your DoS clearance to those other agencies.


Even though Trusted Workforce 2.0 has made amazing strides for the security clearance process, there are still issues that still desperately need solutions to streamline certain procedures, like agency reciprocity. Reciprocity has continued to halt candidates from being onboarded in a timely fashion, whether your Q clearance is transferring to a DoD TS/SCI, or whether your IC clearance is not accepted on the DoD side (DHS, a whole other animal…). This ultimately leaves positions vacant, mission unfulfilled, customers unhappy, etc.

Reciprocity is a problem that can’t be easily solved, but don’t let it stop you from applying for positions. Obtaining an initial clearance is the main hurdle. Once you find a great fit position with a leading tech company, they’ll do the work of onboarding and transferring your clearance to the correct agency.

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Katie Helbling is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 10+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸