Congrats! You found a contractor that is willing to take chance on you and your skillset by sponsoring you through the security clearance process… but there’s a lot you are unfamiliar with. Like, can you accept a part-time job at a local winery or brewery while you wait for the background investigation to unfold?

First, subscribe to, and second, read up on some of the questions other applicants have had through the security clearance process.

This one comes from a concerned parent of a college student being sponsored:

Can a college student who accepted an offer from a DoD contractor (kickstarting the TS/SCI clearance process) take a summer job at our local wine shoppe while his “investigation” is still underway? His SF-86 has already been submitted. Final edits that the very nice HR folks gave him after submitting in April were made and re-submitted last Monday. The summer job wouldn’t start for another week or two, so it’s not included in the SF-86 job history. Back while he was filling out the SF-86, HR asked him to put their company name and accepted position as his “current employment”, or most recent employment. I hate for him to upset the apple cart by getting a summer job that’s not in the field he’s interested in and frankly not going to pay him that much. He graduates in December 2023. We hope that he will get a ruling on his security clearance either before or around graduation time. Should he take this summer job or just enjoy his summer with other projects, and let the security clearance process playout without going back in to add what is essentially kind of a silly summer job? If he does do the summer job, will that delay the security clearance in general? Will the whole process have to start over because he added a job to his SF-86? I figured the whole point of them telling him to put their company name and his accepted position as his most recent job entry #1 was for a reason. And that adding a job at a wine shop would muck that up. What do you think?

Hey, you have a rockstar kid that wants to work until he gets another full-time job after graduating… own that! Work ethic comes from within, and it seems your little nugget has it. So long as the employment is legal, your kiddo is in the clear through the background investigation process (employment wise, at least).

One background investigator does bring up a major issue for contractors on the thread, though. “Accepting a new job will not slow down or affect his investigation in any way. Listing that he works for a company he does not yet work for will. I know it’s not his fault, but we have repeatedly asked these contractors to stop doing this and they don’t listen. I don’t get it.”

It won’t prevent you from getting cleared, but it definitely causes issues and delays throughout the background investigation process if you list an employer that you don’t already have yet. If you’re not employed by a company – you’re not employed. The offer letter doesn’t count. Time is wasted pulling personnel records that don’t exist, and investigators may be assigned in the wrong location for work interviews. Once you actually onboard with a new company (submit any paperwork and have officially started the new job), it is a good idea to notify your security officer of your gap employment. It is information that will likely need to be updated into your security clearance application as you onboard.

So, take the summer job, but keep your national security job prospects in mind as you finish out senior semester… you don’t want to have to self-report any audacious events once that clearance is granted.

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Katie Keller 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! 🇺🇸