NEWS + ADVICE
Cleared Job Search Tips from Brigit Freedman of PAE
I’m Brigit Freedman, the Director of Talent Acquisition at PAE, and I’ve been with PAE for almost four years. We do the gamut in government contracting – everything from roads and commodes, to highly cleared Intelligence Analyst positions.
We currently have a merger in the works with Amentum. It’s a really exciting time because after the merger, we will be the second largest government contractor in the world. It will add even more depth to our cleared openings, with more technical positions. I’m super excited about this because the Intel community is something that I absolutely love and adore.
What Types of Positions Are You Hiring For
We’re looking to fill some really interesting jobs. We have a Crime Gun Specialist, a Red Cell Analyst, White Cell Analysts, and forensic people that we’re hiring for with clearances. We also have positions for Construction Surveillance Technicians in Alaska. If somebody is into the outdoors, the Alaska opening is perfect.
We’re hiring on every continent, to include Antarctica. If somebody is looking for that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, it’s there for them. The positions in Antarctica are really cool, and they’re not just for scientists. If somebody is a cook, mechanic, electrician or an HVAC/R, we have a spot for you. Those don’t require clearances, but a lot of times we’ll pipeline somebody for a clearance when they go to the ice. So when they come back, they’re in the cleared community.
Many of our positions are now remote, positions that historically were in the office. But with many of the cleared positions, the work has to be done in a SCIF. So those are not remote—it’s hard to fix somebody’s AC if you’re not going into the building where the AC is. But we do have lots of remote opportunities.
How Does PAE Support Gaining and Maintaining a Clearance
PAE has agreements with the government that allow us to pipeline someone for their clearance. They get an offer from us, and go about their daily work. After their clearance comes through, then they can start working for us in the cleared community. And once they get that clearance, the opportunity to upgrade their clearance is something that we also have available.
We’re able to bring a healthy bunch of people into the cleared community this way, and from what I’ve been reading, a lot of people have been leaving the cleared community. There are more positions open than we have people with clearances, so we’ve got to build up that pool of people.
How Can Job Seekers Improve Their Resumes
There are two main things. The first is, take time to look at the job description. Then tell the recruiter why you are a fit for that job in your resume introduction or objective. Spell it out, because the recruiter may not understand something like your military MOS unless they’re a military recruiter.
The other thing is, remove your home address from your resume. It can be in the Applicant Tracking System where it’s supposed to be, but take it off your resume. This helps to avoid having the hiring manager or recruiter assume you’re not going to want to make the commute. You don’t want them to look at your address and then move on to somebody else. They shouldn’t do it, but it can happen. If you take your address out, it gives you the opportunity to decide if you want to make the commute. Is that drive to Arlington or Fort Meade too far? Are you planning to relocate there? That’s none of their business. Get that interview, get in the door, and get the job.
How to Leverage LinkedIn in Your Job Search
Get your LinkedIn profile up-to-date. Put your accomplishments on there and make connections with people. If you’re applying to a job, find people inside that company. It’s so important because a lot of recruiters are going to look at your profile on LinkedIn and see who you’re connected to. So, if you applied for a job, go back and try to find somebody in the company on LinkedIn. It’s a really good way to move things along.
A personalized message is awesome when making those new connections. Something simple, to the effect of, “I’m very interested in your company. I saw a job posting that I’ve applied to already. Here’s the req number. I’d like to connect with you to see if I can get some help getting the interview.” It’s not off-putting for anybody – you’re not demanding the job. People like to help others from my experience.
Overall, I think you should be on LinkedIn. It’s a great way for people to find you if you’re looking, but you shouldn’t put your clearance out there. You don’t want to attract the wrong kind of people to your profile. Make sure it’s your sanitized version. I’ve seen some people do it wrong – they list they have a Full Scope Poly in their LinkedIn header. As recruiters in the cleared space, we can tell you have a clearance without you writing it on your profile. For instance, we might recognize a job title that you listed from our experience in the community. We can pull things together.
How to Master Follow-Up in the Interview Process
Follow-up is near and dear to my heart. I don’t like it when recruiters ghost candidates any more than I like it when candidates ghost recruiters. Everybody needs to make sure they’re treating their counterparts the way they want to be treated. As long as you’re being polite, there’s never too much follow-up.
When you’re talking to a recruiter, find out what the timeline is. Ask them when you should expect to hear back from them. You might say, “I’m interviewing with your manager on Thursday. When should I expect to hear back from you?” Then if you haven’t heard back from them by that point in time, you need to follow up.
The best advice is, after you have that interview, call or email the recruiter to give them feedback. Also follow up with a thank you email to the hiring manager. It could be, “Thank you for that interview. That was fantastic. I really can see myself in this job.” Whatever you want to say to them, follow up.
Tips for Meeting with PAE at Cleared Job Fairs
If you speak with a PAE recruiter at an upcoming Cleared Job Fair, ask them about the opportunities that they have open. Sometimes the recruiter that you’re talking to might not have the opening you’re looking for, but you can ask them for the contact of the person who does have those openings. Our recruiters meet every week, all 100+ of them, and we go over all the open requisitions. They know who has what across the company, so they can share the contact. So my advice is to always ask for that referral.