A common question for job seekers is how to list their security clearance on a resume, or if they should even bother listing a prior clearance if it’s expired. How or where you list your security clearance on your resume often comes down to formatting, but as a rule, if you’re looking for a job in national security you should always indicate your clearance eligibility, issuing agency, and polygraph – even if they have expired.

With interim security clearances often issued in a matter of weeks, listing your prior clearance indicates to potential employers that you are ‘clearable’ and have a decent chance of being able to obtain a security clearance. Obviously the amount of time that has passed matters, so if your security clearance was issued 20 years ago, you may not necessarily find yourself on an easier path to a security clearance – but even listing that clearance on your resume shows employers that you know the process and what to expect. Being prepared to complete the SF-86 and play the security clearance waiting game can go a long way.

How to List a Security Clearance

Security clearance information will often be listed within a header, with a basic description like ‘DoD TS/SCI Clearance with Full-Scope Polygraph.’ For individuals with multiple security clearances, it may be worth adding an entire section to your resume just with clearance details, including dates the clearances were issued. While clearance expiration dates may sometimes be helpful, the move to Continuous Vetting and Continuous Evaluation has made it murkier for many security clearance holders to keep track of expiration dates – it may be more straightforward to simply list enrollment dates, and how long you remained in the cleared position. You can list the date you last used the security clearance.

List the Issuing Agency

The issuing agency is incredibly important, as many employers are looking for individuals already cleared within a specific agency. If you have multiple clearances issued by multiple agencies, list all of them. Also indicate public trust designations issued, as that can also save a contractor time.

Security Clearance Details You Shouldn’t List on Your Resume

While it’s perfectly acceptable to list your security clearance, polygraph, and issuing agency, you shouldn’t list specific Special Access Programs you were a part of, your supervisors in those programs, specific software or tools that were a part of the classified position, or any sensitive or proprietary information. When in doubt, ask your security officer to review what you include on your resume, or if you’re in the military, have your transition assistance office provide advice. The fact that you have a security clearance is not classified – but details around the clearance are. Don’t reveal more than you need to.


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