Five Thoughts from a Recruiter on Your Cleared Job Search

Posted by Chrissa Dockendorf

5 tips for cleared job searchBeing a cleared job seeker changes the parameters of your job search. The company pool you are swimming in is different, the job descriptions are different, and the process to get a job is often different. There are steps you take in a job search and interviewing process that someone without a clearance would not take, and the process will most likely take a little longer to get to your start date.

Understand Your End Goal

One thing I see often is that job seekers go into a job search with only the intention of finding their next job.

While that is your goal, you need to be a little more specific in your ask. You need to ask yourself some questions before kicking off your search:

  • What type of company do you want to work in?
  • What kind of work do you want to do?
  • Are you open to an opportunity that isn’t 100% what you want if it leads to something you do?
  • Where do you want to work?
  • What benefits are important?

The list can go on and on, and should be customized to you; your wants and your needs.

Don’t just go into a job search with the intent of getting a job. Go in to a job search with the intent of getting the right job for you.

Be Clear in What You Seek

Knowing what you want is worthless unless you are clear with the hiring team about what you are seeking. During your initial conversations with the hiring team or recruiter, you should have a talk about what you are seeking in a new job and a new employer.

However, you don’t want to come off as someone who is inflexible. If there are places you’re willing to bend or negotiate for other perks, make sure that is discussed. But if there are things that are non-negotiable, let that be known up front as well.

Your Resume Should Reflect What You Want

I am a Technical Recruiter and have been for most of my career. I used to work at a small company where we had to wear many hats, and one time I was tapped to lead a proposal response.

It was a small response to an IDIQ and required me to coordinate all the team members, get the pieces for the proposal together, edit the documents, and make sure everything was submitted on time. It was something outside of what I usually do, and I added it to my resume.

When it came time to find my next adventure, the proposal bullet was on my resume. For the next few weeks, I received tons of calls and emails from recruiters looking for a Proposal Manager.

Was this the type of role I wanted? No. I immediately removed that bullet, and received calls closer to what I wanted in a new job.

By creating a resume that highlighted the skills that I wanted to use in my next job, I was able to attract the right responses from the right recruiters.

All that knowledge around what you want is great to have and talk about in the interview, but you have to get to the interview step first. Make sure your resume reflects the type of work you want to do, and not just what you’ve done in the past. Don’t add skills or experiences that aren’t relevant for the job you seek. It may lead to opportunities you do not want, and cloud your search.

Do Your Research

Having knowledge of the position and company before you go into an interview can give you an edge over other candidates. It shows that you are excited about the role and the company and want to be there. Even if you are cold-called by a recruiter, you should still take the time to learn more about the role, company, and relevant personnel.

Use your call with the recruiter to ask specific questions that are important to you about the opportunity. Get as much information out of the recruiter as possible. You can even ask for them to email you additional information so you can dive deeper.

While you might not be able to have a frank conversation about the specifics of the work, you will be able to get information about what it is like to work there and the types of work that company does, so you can understand growth opportunities. If a recruiter won’t give you the information you need, then it might not be the right opportunity or culture for you.

Be Patient

When landing a cleared job, it isn’t always as easy as accepting a position and putting in your notice. Unless the company is willing to let you sit on overhead, you will need to wait to give notice to your current employer until after your clearance transfers or badging in completed.

The waiting can be frustrating and often nerve wracking. You might feel the need to continue your search and even continue to interview, just in case something happens during the clearance transfer process.

While my recommendation would be to wait for the clearance transfer process to be completed, I understand if you feel like you should still look for another job. If that is the case, make sure you let any new recruiters know that you have an offer in place, but you are waiting on the clearance transfer or badging to be completed. They should understand that you intend to accept your current offer once the clearance transfer process is done, but you are open to discussing other opportunities in the meantime.

This could go 1 of 2 ways. Either they will suggest you contact them once you work out the details of your current offer, or it will invigorate a competitive recruiter to try and bring you over to their side.

Remember though if you take an interview and they extend an offer for a job that also requires a clearance, you will most likely be in the same situation, waiting as you were before. Be sure you know what you want.

Make sure you take the time to prepare yourself for your job search. Throwing a resume out there and hoping that someone will respond will almost never lead to results. Take your time, have a full understanding of what you are looking for, research the company and role, and be patient. What’s that saying? Good things come to those who wait.

You got this.

Chrissa DockendorfChrissa Dockendorf is a recruiting resource manager and employment branding specialist for G2, Inc., supporter of transitioning military, a coffee addict and BoyMom to 4. Follow Chrissa on Twitter @MissionHired.


This entry was posted on Monday, May 29, 2017 12:48 pm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of updates to this conversation