Classes are winding down, and graduation preparations are ramping up; the finish line is in sight. Soon-to-be college graduates everywhere are ready to exhale a collective sigh of relief, diplomas almost in-hand.

But the accomplishment is paired with a looming question: Now what?

There are two types of cleared workers – those who went to college intending to pursue a security clearance and everyone else. Federal agencies and government contracts rely on a diverse workforce to stay relevant and protect our country.

So whether you’ve spent your life dreaming of a career in the CIA or your studies lead you to the national security industry, here are a few tips to get you started on the cleared job search.

Get familiar with the cleared jobs process.

As a recent college student, it shouldn’t be a surprise that research is the first step to a security clearance. Familiarize yourself with the security clearance process and terminology, including how to accurately fill out your SF-86 – or the future Personnel Vetting Questionnaire.

Search for employers offering sponsorship.

Some companies aren’t in a rush to fill open positions and are willing to wait for an applicant to obtain the necessary security clearance. Check the listed start date; your odds of sponsorship are higher if the contract doesn’t start until a few months into the future.

Keep in touch with your network.

Your studies and diploma aren’t the only lasting impacts of your time in college; the connections you made on campus will remain throughout your career. So reach out to professors, staff, classmates or alums; you never know who has ties to the cleared jobs sector.

It’s also essential to optimize your resume and clean up your online presence, but for cleared job seekers, that clean-up may need to extend to other areas of life. Identify any past actions that might lead to a denial, and cease those activities ASAP. For all the latest security clearance news, visit our site.


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Phoebe Wells is a writer, marketer and podcast host living in the Adirondack mountains of Upstate NY. She works full-time in marketing but operates a content marketing and copywriting business. Phoebe previously worked as a news anchor for iHeartRadio, writing, hosting and producing the award-winning true crime podcast Upstate Unsolved. When she's not writing, Phoebe can be found on her yoga mat, connecting with nature, or watching hockey with her partner and two huskies.