I listened to a story last week on Sirius radio and downloaded a podcast on NPR* about security clearances. My take is that the value of security clearances is on the rise for current and former military. My opinion is partly based upon increased demand due to the current administration’s proposed, significant investment in military spending.
The reporter for the NPR story interviewed a defense-industry employment recruiter named Eric Who. He works for a defense contractor. Mr. Who emphasized the importance of clearances by saying, “We only hire people with security clearances. We mostly look towards military reserve, retired military and current contractors.”
According to clearancejobs.com there are some 25,000 open jobs available which require various levels of security-level clearance. The costs of obtaining a security clearance range anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 and employers usually pick up the tab. Saving this cost is another factor which motivates hiring organizations to offer jobs to applicants who already have their security clearances.
Timing and time involvement present additional barriers to those seeking security clearance which holders can avoid to their advantage. The application to file for security clearance is 100 pages long and current waiting periods run anywhere from 2 months – 2 years. According to analysts, wait periods are longer during the year of a new Presidential administration.
While having a clearance by itself is no assurance of getting a job it does give military leaders an edge over qualified civilian counterparts and other applicants who do not have their security clearances. Military applicants should also research jobs, conduct information interviews and have conversations with mentors and sponsors who are familiar with employment openings, especially those who can provide references and referrals. Having a security clearance and doing everything possible to excel and standout through the employment process will lead to more options and your best opportunities for finding the right job.
* Scroll the page to What does it take to get a security clearance? and listen to the 3-minute segment which starts at 6:00 minutes and runs until 9:00 minutes.