You applied for a security clearance, the background investigation is underway, and now, you wait. Depending on your clearance level, a decision can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. While patience is a virtue, the waiting game is never fun, especially when your career in the security and defense industry hangs in the balance. Frustration and anxiety are natural reactions to uncertainty, but here are a few tips to keep in mind to make the waiting game a bit more manageable.   


A comprehensive vetting process is crucial to our national security and the safety of government employees, contractors, and civilians alike. Factors such as the complexity of the background check, the volume of applications, and changes in regulations can all contribute to processing delays. Remember, you are not alone in this situation; countless others are also stuck in limbo. 


Take the opportunity to gather any additional documentation that might be requested. Being proactive and staying organized can help expedite the process once your application is under review.  


Reaching out to your Facility Security Officer won’t speed up the process, but it will ensure you remain top of mind. They can answer your questions, and if necessary, reach out to their government partners to check on your status.  


While it may feel like your entire life is in limbo, it’s not. Shift your attention to aspects of your life that you can control. Engage in hobbies, invest time in self-improvement or spend time with loved ones. Maintaining a positive outlook and pursuing personal growth can mitigate the stress of waiting. 

Remember that the waiting game is temporary and that your diligence and cooperation will ultimately contribute to a thorough and accurate clearance process. In the meantime, seek temporary employment or ask your company if there are non-cleared projects you can work on. To keep up to date on the latest security and defense news, visit  

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Phoebe Wells is the Public Relations & Partnerships Marketing Manager at ClearanceJobs and loves every aspect of her role. Creating content and working with the CJ team to connect cleared candidates with employers is incredibly rewarding, as the work ClearanceJobs does ultimately supports the mission of the U.S. As the daughter of a veteran and former cleared worker, she knows the sacrifices security and defense professionals make. She is honored to assist them in leveling up their careers. Plus, she gets to work from home in the Adirondack Mountains with her partner and two huskies!