Perhaps you’ve applied to a number of new jobs in your skillset, and you find that some of them have phrases like “able to get a Secret security clearance”  or “willing to obtain a security clearance” and you’re wondering what that means. This phrase means that your potential employer needs a candidate who’s willing and obtain a security clearance in order to support a contract with the federal government.

Being able to hit the ground running at a new job is not only good for your employer, but it’s also good for you. No one wants to sit on the sidelines, waiting to do the real job they were hired to do. And employers never want to have an employee who is unable to bill their time to a contract. It’s lost revenue for the organization. If you get hired and need to get a security clearance to do your job, you want to be able to score an interim security clearance.

What is An Interim Security Clearance

An interim security clearance simply gets you access to classified information or facilites before you get issued a final security clearance. It allows you to get to work earlier in the process. The federal government is still performing your background investigation and adjudicating your security clearance. You’re not out of the woods yet. But an interim clearance means that the federal government has decided the risk of granting interim eligibility is low, and they’re willing to extend an olive branch – temporary access – as you await a final determination.

Communicate in the Interview

Being able to get to work for the project you were hired to support is key in feeling like you’re a part of your team. When you have to sit on the bench or contribute to projects you weren’t hired to do, it can impact how well you feel connected with your new employer. It’s a win-win for everyone when new hires are able to get working right away. When you interview for a job, your potential employer is looking for a candidate who is either cleared or able to be cleared quickly. There are a few things you want to highlight in an interview when you’re asking a potential employer to go out on a limb for you.

1. Tell them if you’ve been cleared before.

If you don’t already have this on your resume, it’s a good idea to mention this information in the interview. If you’ve been cleared before and your security clearance has simply expired, providing nothing major has changed, chances are good that you could get an interim clearance.

2. Highlight what makes you clearable.

If you have a background that you KNOW should sail through the risk assessment, it’s not a bad idea to highlight this information. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply if you have a more complicated or messy background. It’s all about the whole person. But, if you’ve not had any wanderlust to visit foreign countries and few flags in the adjudicative guidelines, by all means, you should mention this if your potential employer is thinking of hiring you.

3. Highlight your attention to detail.

A key factor in getting cleared quickly is often the application process. Small mistakes or overlooked sections on the SF-86 can be the difference between a long background investigation process and an interim security clearance. This might not be the deciding factor for an employer to hire you before you have a security clearance; however, small mistakes on your resume or in your interactions with them could highlight an individual who might be careless in applying for a security clearance. Everyone makes mistakes, but when you’re trying to get a company to sponsor you for a security clearance, it’s a good time to up your attention to detail.

Your biggest asset to landing the job will be your skills and experience. However, when a job also requires a security clearance or an ability to obtain one, highlighting how you’ll navigate that process can also go a long way in landing you your next job in national security.


Related News

Jillian Hamilton has worked in a variety of Program Management roles for multiple Federal Government contractors. She has helped manage projects in training and IT. She received her Bachelors degree in Business with an emphasis in Marketing from Penn State University and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.