Tech & Work

The security clearance dilemma

We're all familiar with the old dilemma: No one will hire you without job experience, yet you can't get job experience without a job. Here's a variation of that dilemma.

We're all familiar with the old dilemma: No one will hire you without job experience, yet you can't get job experience without a job. Here's a variation of that dilemma.

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A TechRepublic member wrote in asking about security clearances. Basically, this person previously had a security clearance, but it lapsed because it was unnecessary for his current position. Now he's interested in a job that requires security clearance. He's also concerned about not being allowed into security clearance fairs now that he doesn't have the credentials.

Unfortunately, individuals can't obtain security clearances on their own. In order to be sponsored, one must be employed by a cleared contractor (or hired as a consultant) in a position that requires a clearance. According to ClearanceJobs.com, there is an exception:

A candidate for employment may be submitted for a clearance if the cleared contractor has made

a binding offer of employment and the candidate has accepted the offer. Both the offer and acceptance must be in writing. The offer of employment must indicate that employment will begin within 30 days of receiving the clearance.

The TechRepublic member and I agreed that he should try to get past the "gatekeeper" at the place he's looking to get hired on. If he could somehow explain the situation to the hiring manager, he could get his foot in the door.

Anyone who may find themselves in this situation going forward should keep one thing in mind: If you're moved to a position within the same company or for the same contractor that doesn't require clearance but you anticipate a future need for it, you can have your clearance administratively downgraded or withdrawn until such time that you need it again. (This is provided your security investigation has not expired.) Under those circumstances, your clearance can be restored.

About Toni Bowers

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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