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Benefits of Having Had a Security Clearance

A security clearance granting access to classified or restricted information (often related to national security) is a coveted credential that is only bestowed upon trustworthy individuals with pristine backgrounds. Individuals who possess a security clearance have undergone a rigorous background check far beyond typical background reviews conducted by most employers. Candidates who possess a current security clearance—and even individuals whose clearance has expired, but are still within the 24-month renewal window—have a real competitive advantage in the job market.

A candidate with a security clearance certainly enjoys a level of hiring preference with government-sector employers—both civilian contractors and governmental agencies—because it saves the employer thousands of dollars in application fees and related hiring costs.
For private sector employers, it also signals that the candidate has a clean background free of criminal activity and is less likely to be a security risk. Today, 96 percent of HR professionals conduct some form of background check on their employees. Hiring someone who has already been vetted to the highest standards makes their to-do list a little shorter.

Re-activating an Inactive Clearance

A security clearance becomes “inactive” once a person leaves the military or if their job responsibilities change and their need for clearance ends. Even after it has expired, a security clearance can be re-activated up to 24 months after its lapse date without having to go through the application process again. If a veteran has an active or inactive security clearance, he is still “cleared” and will not have to undergo any more background investigations.

If a security clearance has “lapsed” beyond the 24-month grace period, the clearance process will have to start from the beginning. Still, in many cases, securing a second clearance usually takes much less time than it does for candidates who’ve never had a security clearance.

Private industry employers are usually more willing to hire people who have had a security clearance—even if it’s lapsed. In a time where employers try to protect themselves by acquiring meaningful information about candidates they are considering, just knowing an individual has passed the rigorous clearance process is a good indicator of character, integrity, loyalty and other coveted characteristics. Just as importantly, it offers employers some peace of mind knowing there won’t be any unpleasant “surprises” since a security clearance involves a criminal records check, credit checks and even loyalty and field checks.

If you currently possess or have ever had a security clearance, make sure you indicate your “clearable” status in a prominent place on your resume or application. It will give you a real competitive edge in your job search.