If you’ve applied for a security clearance recently you know the reality of the process: It’s easier to get denied than it is to get approved. It’s the secret that a lot of security clearance candidates won’t tell you. This blog will help you understand the most common mistakes we see candidates making. Here’s what not to do when applying for a security clearance.
Don’t Do These Things When Applying for Security Clearance
Personal conduct is one of the areas we typically see tripping up security clearance candidates. The government has clear guidelines on this that include the candidate failing to honestly disclose issues that would affect their security clearance application. This could include:
- Refusing to comply with security clearance processing requirements such as failing to comply with medical or psych testing.
- Refusing to cooperate with security processing or failing to be truthful in your answers to investigators.
- Refusing of failing to complete forms required by the process.
However, refusing to comply with the process isn’t the biggest reason for failing the security application process. Sometimes a simple lack of documentation or forgetting to fill out a section is a common snag that many candidates experience. Typically, we see the following items commonly missing from security clearance paperwork:
- Employment details.
- Social security number of a spouse.
- Information on your relatives.
- Selective Service registration details.
- Debt or bankruptcy information.
- Employment reference information.
- Incomplete employment history.
- Incomplete explanation of drug use.
Some of your other “don’t” for your security clearance application include:
- Failing to submit your fingerprints on time.
- Release and certification forms are missing the date or have improper formatting.
- Sending an illegible form to the investigators.
- Discrepancies in birth information.
If you think this process is designed to trip you up, you’re right. The reality is that a good portion of people that apply for security clearance have to do it multiple times before they even are accepted into the process. It’s terribly frustrating because it’s so easy to transpose a number or miss a section that you mean to go back to later. Even putting your name on the form is tricky; if your legal name has initials use them and enter “I/O” after. If you have no middle name you must put “NMN” after your name. There are rules for how you enter date of birth, too, with the required formatting being month/day/year.
Some other common mistakes we see include:
- Entering your birthplace incorrectly by failing to follow the “City, County, State, and Country of birth”—in that order.
- Forgetting to put down aliases, nicknames, or a maiden name that the investigator uncovers later on.
- If you were born overseas but are now a U.S citizen, there are specific guidelines about the forms you must include and the document numbers you must record.
- Failing to provide 10 years of residency information. This means you literally have to list the timeframe you lived at each address. You even have to provide information on who you knew locally when you were at that address.
The security clearance application process is maddening, we know. But it is very achievable as long as you follow the rules.
Blackstone Talent Group works with security clearance professionals in the IT world to help them find the best jobs. If you need help finding and then moving on to your next job opportunity, we can help. Contact us.