What if you’re fresh out of college or you couldn’t get your clearance to transfer after you left the military? How do you land a job in national security without an active clearance? Clearances must be sponsored by a government agency or a company with a government contract, but sometimes, a change in your approach can help you play the long game of getting into the cleared industry.
3 Ways to OBTAIN a SECURITY CLEARANCE
So here are a few easy ways to change your job search approach to help you obtain security clearance.
1. Change your job search queries when seeking employment online.
There are companies out there that have the project timelines to sponsor your clearance. A good strategy is to target your job search by using queries like ‘willing to sponsor’ or including the ‘interim’ term to help you narrow down companies that are willing to invest the time to get cleared. Pay attention to project timelines to see if the organization has the wiggle room to wait for your interim clearance.
2. Target positions with lower clearance levels.
Ensure you are applying to companies that have cleared and uncleared positions so you can still work while waiting on adjudication. Clearances cost the sponsoring agency money, but more importantly, it costs time. First, you want to start at the lowest on the totem pole – the tier that takes the least time investment to investigate. When you’re applying for a job, the background investigation process will start after you have accepted a tentative job offer.
Some companies seek candidates who can obtain a Public Trust, which can take just a few weeks if you meet the criteria. After you obtain a public trust position, you can apply for a Secret level opening within the company. This route lets you keep working at the sponsoring company while you go through the background investigation.
3. Network until it hurts.
Whether you have a clearance or not, candidates shouldn’t underestimate the power of networking and taking a unique approach in navigating the job seeking landscape. Research companies, attend webinars, and familiarize yourself with the national security landscape. You never know which contact may be with a company who needs your skills and is willing to sponsor your security clearance.
Once you’ve obtained your clearance, keep networking! And search thousands of open security cleared positions on ClearanceJobs.