How Do You Find a Senior Cleared Position

Posted by Patra Frame

Accenture - job seekerA common theme at Cleared Job Fairs is the number of people who are looking for senior roles in management or professional jobs who lament how tough the job search is. Often this starts with a variant of ‘I keep applying for jobs but I never hear back.’ Few seem to realize that blindly dropping your resume in for every possible job match is not an effective way to get the right job. If this is you — or you don’t want to get to that stage in your job search — read on!

A little background information you may not have thought about:

  • Many companies post jobs internally and externally at the same time – and nearly half of all open jobs are filled with internal candidates.
  • When a job is posted, your application/resume goes into a computer system and only gets seen if it has all the right keywords and requirements matched by the computer.
  • Most recruiters get enough matches in the first day or two a job is posted to meet their needs and do not keep looking at new applicants after that unless a job is unusual, requires a high-level clearance or the needs change.

And one aspect you already know – the more senior the position, the fewer such positions exist.


Tip 1. Develop a List of Target Employers

You probably know many of the employers who hire people with your skills, but also do some research to learn of other possible employers who need people like you. Once you have a list of target employers, go into depth in learning as much about each as you can.  Some questions to research:

  • Does their culture match your goals and needs? Will you succeed there?
  • Is your career field’s function growing or not?
  • Is the organization getting new contracts regularly and growing overall?
  • What is the management like?
  • Are they in transition or a take-over target or an acquirer?
  • Who works there in your field that you already know?

Tip 2. Use Your Network

Once you have passed entry level and early mid-level positions, your best bet to get a new job is someone who knows you or knows of you. If you are not using your existing network effectively and building it out further, you will not be known to be a potential match. Networking is a subject we cover regularly in the ClearedJobs.Net blog, so check out our articles for more ideas on how you can be a better networker .

Too many job seekers do not really connect with people they know and ask for the help they need in their job search. Do not ask for a job – few will know of any. Do ask for specific types of help, starting with the people you know in your target employers who can tell you more about what it is like to work there. Do ask for industry trend information, for other top quality companies to consider, and for referrals to people within your target companies. Build your network at our job fairs. Grow it at professional events and meetings.

Tip 3. Connect to Your Target Companies in Multiple Ways

The best possible connections are those you already know, so do figure out who you know who now works at each target company and reconnect with each person. These people can not only give you insight into the company but can provide referrals to the right hiring manager. Ask your existing connections for contacts they have at each target company and for referrals to those people. Then follow-up with each potential contact and tell them why you are interested in their company and ask specific questions to help assess your interest. As you build this connection, you may be able to convert it into an employee referral. Companies love employee referrals!

Connect with your target companies on social media. Find their company pages on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or whichever social media you use most – and follow them. Look for their corporate recruiters on social media as well and connect with those in your field or function. Search LinkedIn for all the current employees at your target companies and find both those you already know and those your connections can introduce you to – then do that.

Come to our job fairs and talk with the people from your targets who are there. Remember to have a great elevator speech and 1-2 good questions ready when you talk to each recruiter or hiring manager participating. You want to impress them positively after all.

Developing your action plan and executing it is a far better investment of your job search time than simply sending your resume out to every possible job listing. Once you assess where you can succeed and contribute effectively, you can make the right connections to get yourself known in those target companies. Then you build their knowledge of you and your probability of being referred to the right person to hire you for the job you really want.

Patra FramePatra Frame is ClearedJobs.Net’s HR Consultant. She is an experienced human resources executive and founder of Strategies for Human Resources. Patra is an Air Force veteran and charter member of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial. Follow Patra on Twitter @2Patra.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 08, 2016 7:27 am

2 thoughts on “How Do You Find a Senior Cleared Position”

  1. All good tips. I wish I could follow them. The trouble is, I have no network, I don’t follow the mergers and corporate “doings”, and I cannot get worthwhile companies to take me seriously. I am an enterprise architect with a TS/SSBI clearance. I have come across hundreds of jobs that sound great but since I don’t have an /SCI I’m not considered. So, I stumble along with jobs that advertise for EA but can’t even spell it! They are not really looking for an EA they just think it sounds cool (or something).

    Well written article however.

    Wayne Seth MSc MBA PMP EA

    1. Wayne, I understand the frustrations you are feeling. But did want to say that you have a network. Start reconnecting with people you have worked with in the past – use LinkedIn as one way. Take a look at the networking articles here on CJN for ideas too. Ask past bosses to be a reference and see what they know about who is hiring now. Ask others specific questions about potential target employers. Fill out your LI profile to show your past work – yes you can do a lot even within cleared work to demonstrate why you add value and to attract a recruiter’s attention. Join one of the intel community groups locally for more help. And take a look at jobs outside the cleared community too as they also may meet your goals. Good hunting!

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