Should You Disclose Your Security Clearance?

Within the contracting community, the word on the street is that individuals should mention their clearances on their resumes to be more attractive to potential employers.

In the context of the job market, this makes sense: a security clearance automatically makes an employee more valuable. claims that “an established security clearance can increase your salary anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000.”

Man wearing business suit, with Caution tape over his mouth
Stock photo.

Some contracting companies are even known to hire on clearance alone, figuring that it’s easier to train a cleared employee to perform the job’s tasks than to hire a fully qualified employee who must then wait months or even years to begin work, depending on the clearance level required.

With that sort of incentive, it’s very tempting to plaster your cleared status everywhere. But should you? Advice ranges from placing the clearance prominently at the top of the resume to discreetly stating that you’re “eligible for a security clearance.”

Margaret Dikel at has excellent advice for cleared job seekers:

  • “Do not list your right-to-work or security clearance on any resume you plan to post in an online database. If you are submitting your resume to a specific employer who requests this information, then list it, but don’t place it in databases on third-party job or recruiting sites. Employers or recruiters who find your resume will contact you and request this information if they like what they see and have a need to know your status.
  • Never disclose what kind of security clearance you have nor the level of your clearance except in an interview. Just note the fact that you have a security clearance by a simple listing: SECURITY CLEARANCE: Yes. The details will be discussed during that interview. And remember that information you provide will be verified, so this is definitely not the place to ‘inflate’ your qualification. “

[You can find the full article on GovWin]

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Kathleen Smith


I would like to politely disagree with your post. There are things to put on your resume and things not to put on your resume. SSN and home address would be two that come to mind for any job seeker to not put on a resume.

As to security clearance, while this was the case more than 10 years ago, to not put your security clearance on your resume and as Susan Joyce says that at one time you were to report any one who asked about your clearance to agency officials, but it now it is accepted practice .

Times have changed.

It is true that having a clearance will improve your job opportunities in certain communities but in others it doesn’t matter. It depends on the type of work you want to do. If you are committed to doing cleared work with all the benefits and challenges this represents, it is a worthwhile endeavor, but don’t do it just to get the money.

There are many aspects to a job search and posting a resume in an online database does have its consequences which is why the job seeker must review where they are going to post their resume. Company sites of cleared facilities employers and job boards that only allow cleared facilities employers to view the resumes have been approved for those with security clearances to post their resumes.

In this community recruiters are looking for security clearances to be stated on the resume of a candidate and will not look at a resume otherwise. With all this said, it is up to the job seeker to make the final choice as to how they will share their information and to utilize the same security protocols that they are trained with offline, online as well.

Lindley Ashline

Hi Kathleen, I’m the original author of the article. Thanks for your feedback!

I think we’re in violent agreement here. The rest of the article talks about the actual government rules for disclosing clearances (or lack thereof), but points out that yes, clearances on resumes are pretty much standard practice these days.

Allen Sheaprd

As a contractor no. While those in the military may be given some lee way, contractors where not cut the same slack.

In fact anything other than the basic three levels (confidential, secret and TS) is never discussed.

With that said people may say I’ve had/have a clearence or “I’m clearable at the ______ level” This is done face-to-face. There may be other questions.

As for a resume’ – you never know who’s hands they fall into so no.

Gregory Butera

Lindley, I don’t understand. What reason is there for not displaying your clearance or level on your resume? Some employers only spoke to me because they knew that information in advance. I can better understand not including the level, (as recruiters might eliminate you from consideration if it isn’t high enough) but you make it sound like it is dangerous for some reason, and then don’t explain why. What dangerous things could occur if someone gets a copy of your resume and knows you have a top secret clearance? The comment by Allen suggests identity theft…but I am just not connecting the dots. Please share more if so inclined…

Lindley Ashline

Hi Gregory, that’s a great question! Revealing your clearance level in public — and job sites are certainly public — doesn’t put you in danger, per se, but it puts you at increased risk of being targeted for bribes, coercion or blackmail by adversaries.

Every contractor and agency I’ve worked for requires all its cleared employees and contractors to go through yearly briefings in which they warn against revealing your clearance and job details (and in some cases, even which agency you work for) due to this risk.

There’s a thread over at FederalSoup where a commenter says, “There is a secret handshake and it makes picking up girls in DC bars a lot easier.” Someone else replies with, “Wait you mean that hot russian chick I just met doesn’t like me for me?” They’re joking around, of course, but that scenario has happened, and if you reveal your clearance information in person or online, the risk increases.