How to Get Security Clearance

Security Clearance 101 - Application Process

There are many great jobs for which a person might need to obtain security clearance. Many of these military jobs are with the government on either the federal or state level. The term “security clearance” can have many meanings but it is generally the term used when talking about the lowest level of clearance needed to perform a job that is centered on sensitive information but not information that is vital to national security. The process for getting this clearance is pretty straight forward as long as an applicant is thorough and honest.

The questionnaire asks the potential employee to fill out every address they have ever lived at, every job they have ever held, and every school they have ever attended. That person is then asked to provide at least three references that can verify each of those pieces of information. The tough part is that none of those references can overlap. So an applicant’s mother can not be used to verify every address but only one.

Many people find this to be an unfair practice. It is difficult to remember three people from an address they were at when they were five years old. While it is quite hard sometimes, it is the government making sure people understand how serious this type of clearance really is. If the process for gaining access were simple, it would be very easy for threats to national security to obtain the sensitive information. A person that takes the effort to find all of this information is clearly serious about the job they have been presented and that alone impresses government officials.

The next step is to warn people that they have been put down as a reference. There is nothing that angers people more than when they get a letter from the FBI and find out it was just to conduct an interview. Some people are frightened because they have no idea why the FBI is contacting them. So it is only fair that each person be given notice that they might get contacted by the government and that it is nothing to worry about.

It is also vitally important that an applicant is totally honest on the application. It has sections that ask about any past activities that were illegal. If someone on the reference list watched the commission of a crime, it is important that the application mention that crime. The government frowns upon activities such as marijuana but it does not automatically disqualify an applicant. However, lying about taking drugs is an automatic disqualification from security clearance. It is far better to be honest than to hope former fraternity or sorority friends do not accidentally let it slip out.

The process of obtaining security clearance is fairly simple. An applicant must be honest and thorough with their information. They should make sure to warn people that they will be interviewed and what the interview is happening for.