Hello, I have been having trouble trying to put in job applications pretty much every where in my area. I am in the Tucson, AZ area and I have catered my resume to jobs that I had been interested in and have been rejected. I'm currently transitioning into the cybersecurity sector, no certs yet, and I will be starting school in the summer. While in the service I was a security forces member and I had the opportunity to be apart of a FAST team which required me to have a TS/SCI Clearance. I honestly would love to use my clearance be it that they are pretty expensive on the civilian side and I always heard that you could get great jobs having them. if anyone has any input on this or even tips it would be appreciated.
While having a TS/SCI will certainly be a plus the clearance on its own will not get you a job. You need to have the experience and skills to function at the level the hiring manager needs before a clearance becomes a consideration. I recommend you focus on building the experience and skills or education you need to work in the roles you’re targeting first. Maybe consider roles in industrial security that require TS/SCI while you’re working on school and cyber security certs? A place like Raytheon in Tucson would likely have roles like that.
Jason and Daniel’s input is spot-on; the clearance is the icing on the cake. But you gotta have the right kind of cake. If physical security/SRT-type ops are where your experience is, perhaps you seek short term work in that area if immediate income trumps longer term education goals? Your TS/SCI has an expiration date: 5 yrs from date granted or date of last periodic re-investigation. Maybe you can get certs before it expires. Even if it does expire, it would be easier/cheaper for it to be reinstated than it would be for a full BI on someone who’d never held a clearance.
I think Jason said it well. From my experience with a TS/SCI clearance, it didn’t help me much in the civilian world. It is a nice to have, but not something you can lead with when a company is looking for skills and experience as main considerations for filling a role. I had the same problem when applying to government contractors, and found they are mostly interested in new college grads or experienced hires for the skills they want. I wrote an article on here (and LinkedIn) about my transition to the civilian world. I hope you find it helpful.
Best of luck!
To add to the previous answers, you can apply to jobs with contractors, and you can apply for government postings at https://www.usajobs.gov/
Before you apply to a government job, do a search on creating a government job resume. Think of the resume as your first interview. For each required skill/experience, list 3 examples of how you satisfy that skill/experience.
Also, go to your local department of labor office. Veterans get extra help and promoted in job searches. These folks are generally very good at what they do. Find out if your state provides tax incentives to employers for hiring vets, learn how to tactfully insert that into a conversation.
Next, work on the "english to english" translation of your military skills to civilian skills. Your resume should be full of civilian equivalent job titles and experiences. Most HR do not speak military, and the screening applications are less likely to interpret.
Finally, understand that about 70%-80% of jobs are secured through networking. Utilize your connections to find someone. Offer to buy someone a coffee for 30 minutes of your time. Have a one page document listing your skills, and list your target companies. Don't ask your connection for a job, ask if they know people in the companies. In general, people do like helping others. While they may not be able to get you a job (perceived failure on their part), they will most likely know someone in a company on your list (success!).
Keep charging, may God bless your job search.
Everyone who has answered all has extremely valid points. In my personal experience, when I transitioned into banking, having a security clearance was an additional selling point that I made sure to bring up in the interview. Emphasizing that I have been proven to be responsible with sensitive information and therefore would be extremely responsible dealing with customer and proprietary information.
Remember, most civilian employers and hiring managers have very little understanding of exactly how your military skills and training can benefit them. Focus on your resume and cover letter to sell yourself on how those skills translate to their environment and add value in their language.
In addition to LinkedIn, many large employers have very active Business Resource Groups (BRGs) for various types of employees (i.e. Women, African-American, Hispanic AND military). Networking with these resource groups could also greatly increase your odds of landing a good starting spot because you and the military BRG already speak the same language and understand the benefits that a military experience brings to corporate America. Good luck!
It depends on the company and the position. I received a job offer during my out-processing MOSTLY because I had a TS/SCI... they also needed an individual who was flexible enough to get along with a retired PT boat captain. The job wasn't in my wheelhouse at all.
After that, my career took a different path and I didn't use it. But I can tell you, if you are going for a job opportunity and it comes down to you with your TS/SCI and someone else who doesn't have one and it's required for the position, you'll get it. It costs companies a lot to attain a TS/SCI clearance for someone.
As others have mentioned, focusing your efforts on DoD contractor or USG civilian roles would leverage the clearance. Any "civilian" roles will not care about a clearance unless they are in USG or DoD work. Just having the clearance is not likely the only ticket for employment. It is possible, if the employer is wiling to train you into a role. Look for those employers that have transitioning & training programs for veterans.
Blindly submitting applications will have a low ROI on your efforts. In the current economic climate building relationships and providing those "pain letters" showing the hiring manager how you can be a benefit to them and the company.
Best of luck.
Everyone's answer is spot on, when I Retired in 2013, I had a TS/SCI also, many companies were not looking for that as a qualifier. It is using your current skills to get your foot in the door, take your classes in Cyber, and get your certs, start with Net+, Sec+, and any cloud security courses in Skillsoft, that you can take, get your vouchers and take the tests. Start going out the networking events in the evenings. Additionally, companies like Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, etc...are the companies that you need to target if you want to get in with your Security Clearance. You can also look at
ClearanceJobs.com - Security Clearance Required, and build your profile there to target those kinds of jobs.
IT Project Manager, US Army Corps of Engineers
Very good answers above! A TS/SCI is valuable to a small sector of civilian companies, mainly Dept of Defense contractors and companies who work with Federal agencies that work with those levels of information. If you'd like to keep your TS/SCI active, you'll need to target those types of companies AND target roles where your skills, knowledge, and experience make you the ideal candidate. For your transition to cyber...I'm not a cyber expert, but I expect you'll have best results targeting entry level positions.
Filling out applications is the least likely path to success. I’d suggest that you network at the target company or industry. Use LinkedIn to find people already working there and reach out to them. Ask them the process they used to get hired and ask them to help you navigate the hiring process and if they are willing, ask them to submit you as a referral. These activities require much more time on your part but in my opinion would greatly increase your chances for success. Good luck!
Great answers above. Just to clarify you would have held a TS/SCI only for the time that it was necessary. The moment you leave active duty or that particular billet where the TS/SCI was necessary after that time you no longer have that clearance and it will go back to a classified or secret. Now on your resume and LinkedIn profile you can let employers know that you previously held a TS/SCI clearance. I've spoken with many a transitioning veteran that believed they still held some type of security clearance years after they left the military. The fact that you have held a clearance your information is good in the JPAS system for anywhere from 5--10 years. So that means a future employer can go into that system and with your SF-86 restore that clearance if need be.
Defense and especially federal contracting companies need to fill positions with clearances so its essential and will see it as a plus. But also larger defense companies have no problem starting that security process from scratch. Its the smaller companies that sub contract in the defense industry that dont have the resources. High demand jobs federal and defense positions in IT and Cybersecurity right now are screaming for individuals with those certifications and that have previously held a clearance. Once you have those IT/Cyber certifications you're GOLDEN. Make sure that you're getting your education from an NSA approved school with an NSA approved (CAE) degree program. https://www.nsa.gov/resources/students-educators/centers-academic-excellence/
All that to say that having held a security clearance by itself is not a resume accomplishment. Networking for the career field you are interested in, is the way forward to your next career. Make sure that you're using your career services office on campus to find your next career. OR let me know if I can help. I'm the Veteran Employment Coordinator in the career services office and work specifically with my student veteran and transitioning military population. Jroman@regent.edu
Absolutely for companies selling to Federal Government. Have not personally seen clearance boost chances on companies calling on State and Local Governments.
Thank you for serving our Country. What an accomplishment! Please elaborate on the kind of difficulties you are experiencing. I would like to provide you additional support to successfully help in achieving your goal of employment.
Help me understand where are you having the most difficulties? Are you getting to the interview or are you being turned down at the application process? This will help in providing some additional support for you. Are you receiving any feedback at all from the recruiters? I would be more then happy to take a look at your resume and the roles you are applying for to confirm they match, key words can make the difference in your resume.
Stay positive! I know it is difficult interviewing and can be exhausting. With the right tools in place you will be able to move forward in your progress.
The clearance itself won't get you hired but it will be helpful, adding to your future IT certs. Since you are starting school, presumably with cybersecurity courses in your academics, use the resources the school has, like internships and career fairs, to connect to employers in Tucson, whether it's Raytheon, TEP, medical centers, etc. Make sure you're engaging on LinkedIn to augment your connections. It's much easier to find a position once those in the local professional community are familiar with your name. It's all part of making yourself competitive.
My "two cents" Sounds like you are limiting your employment interests and geographical interests only to one area.
My suggestion: To get a job, broaden your interests. Get a job and then once having proven your abilities seek to transfer within the organization.
If interested: USAA is a fine company. It was one of my consulting company's clients for many years. USAA has a preference in hiring veterans, and San Antonio is a very nice place to live. Get an entry level job with them, perhaps in Purchasing, prove your worth, and move up their organization chart.
When I retired from the Air Force (AF) I had similar security clearances to yours. As you, I wanted to use the clearances as a bridge to companies that manufactured the equipment I had been using. Prior to retirement I started asking around informally about any leads. A couple of weeks later my commanding officer had a close upfront and personal conversation with me. The message was “cease and desist”. He said that information was classified and on a “need to know” basis. Apparently, the AF did not feel the names of the manufacturers was necessary for my job search. I never did make the transition work.
Also, I suggest you keep your security clearances on a “need to know” basis as much possible for employers and anyone else. Divulge that information only when necessary. In today’s world there may be operatives that would like to talk to you about the classified work you did in the AF that required such high security clearances.
It truly is a “Catch 22”
Thank you for your service. A Top Secret Clearance would be Fantastic especially in the DC Metro area where there's lots of Federal Government and other Contracting companies. It would be better to have a TS Clearance than a Law degree!!! I only wish I could get one!! Good luck.
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