It's no secret that the security clearance you gain at a high-security military or government job is something that can add an exclamation point on your resume when applying to other jobs, but what isn't so clear cut is how to make sure that this important qualification will still be valid at your subsequent place of work. While the specifics may vary from employer to employer, there are certain requirements that the government holds constant that will play a big role in helping you keep your security clearance at your next job. Here are some tips for making sure that you can carry over your security clearance jobs to a private job after working for the government.
Timing is Everything
This aspect of the issue cannot possibly be overstated, especially with the immensely long waiting period now associated with starting de novo on a new security clearance. Specifically, you should check and see when the next time your clearance reinvestigation is due, and plan around that. If you're only a few months away from requiring reinvestigation, then it's best to stick with your current job until you have your next clean slate so as to maximize the amount of time you have before you need to undergo another reinvestigation. This serves to give you plenty of time to look for a job without worry of your clearance running out, which would then require you to reapply all over again and endure a long wait period, and possibly not have a sponsor when you are able to reapply.
If your clearance has already run out or you simply have to leave your job sooner rather than later, then you'll still have a window of around 24 months during which time your reinstatement will be fairly painless. If you let your clearance expire for much longer than that, however, then it could get very tricky to reinstate it.
Keep Your Paperwork in Order
It's possible that a private sector job will have a slightly different set of criteria for issuing clearance than the government will, so in order to expedite the process, you should have all relevant paperwork in order. This includes any and all court records that you may have, financial records, history of residence, and similar documents. That way, if your new company has unique questions about the same documents that the government has already asked you about, then you can produce answers that fit any and all questions they may have with ease.