Q: I see that there are many government and government subcontractor jobs available. What is the secret to getting hired by these employers? What type of background check do they do? I see jobs being posted with different clearance levels but I am not sure if I am supposed to get the clearance level (or already have it?) or the employer handles this?
A: Getting hired by the government or by a government subcontractor in some ways is no different than getting hired by a non-government employer. First, compare your qualifications to the requested qualifications for a specific role. If you believe you are a strong candidate, you should apply according to the steps indicated – it may be submitting a resume and cover letter via email or mailing the requested documents. Or if you have an internal contact at the company, that may be another avenue to submitting your information.
I consulted Maryanne Cromwell, Director of Human Resources for Quantech Services, Inc. Quantech Services provides a wide range of services to many clients, including the US Navy, Department of Defense and Department of Transportation. Cromwell explains the background check process:
The background checks can be very detailed for a security clearance. Most government and government contractor positions require a secret clearance. You must be sponsored by a company or the government in order to receive a clearance. If a position requires an immediate clearance they may not be able to hire you for that specific position. If the company is willing to hire you with a contingency of securing a clearance they will start the clearance process before you are hired. It takes about two weeks to secure an interim secret clearance. You must complete detailed paperwork which includes a background investigation for this clearance. Some of the items that are asked involve your Foreign Interest (if anyone owns property abroad), Drug or Alcohol abuse, Credit History (Bankruptcies, Liens etc…), Military History (Dishonorable Discharge). If you don’t have positive history with these types of items then you will most likely be denied the clearance. You must also be a US Citizen to be eligible for a clearance.
In 2008, the Federal Government employed about 2.0 million civilian workers (excluding the postal service). For more information about job opportunities and trends in hiring and employment in the Federal Government, review the visit Career Guide to Industries, 2010-11 Edition (www.bls.gov).
The author is solely responsible for the content.
about this blog
e-mail your question
Meet the Jobs Docs
Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
Cindy Atoji Keene is a freelance journalist with more than 25 years experience. E-mail her directly here.
Peter Post is the author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." Email questions about business etiquette to him directly here.
Stu Coleman, a partner and general manager at WinterWyman, manages the firm's Financial Contracting division, and provides strategic staffing services to Boston-area organizations needing Accounting and Finance workforce solutions and contract talent.
Tracy Cashman is Senior Vice President and Partner of the Information Technology search division at WinterWyman. She has 20 years of experience partnering with clients in the Boston area to conduct technology searches in a wide variety of industries and technology.
Paul Hellman is the founder of Express Potential, which specializes in executive communication skills. He consults and speaks internationally on how to capture attention & influence others. Email him directly here.