Home » How To List A Security Clearance On Your Resume In 4 Steps?

How To List A Security Clearance On Your Resume In 4 Steps?

When applying for a job, not many will get a chance to list security clearance in their resume. Novices will seldom have a security clearance. For the rest, getting a clearance is only possible if one has already worked at a job that involves dealing with sensitive information.

Hence, if you have ever worked a job that enabled security clearance, you can use it to get an edge while applying for the next job. It will be an advantage if you are applying for a government or military job.

There is a common misconception that only those who work at mid-level to senior-level positions in these sectors require a security clearance. But that is not true. Junior staff, security personnel, and even caterers who have access to the premises that store sensitive information require a security clearance.

The level of clearance will depend on what kind of data you are allowed to handle. Sometimes private contractors working for the government or the military will also be provided with security clearance. They also have to sign documents about not disclosing any information regarding the nature of their jobs in this sector.

Hence, if you have ever had a security clearance, listing them correctly on your resume could open new doors of opportunity for you.

Why Listing Security Clearance on Your Resume is Considered an Advantage?

Why Listing Security Clearance on Your Resume is Considered an Advantage

So why can listing a security clearance on your resume gives you an edge?

The reason is not just anybody can get such a clearance. You won’t get a clearance unless you have impeccable records and have successfully completed background checks.

You will have to undergo a check involving your education, residential, employment, financial history, and criminal background checks.

Government agencies provide five levels of clearance- Confidential, Secret, Special Access Programs, Sensitive Compartmented Information Clearance, and Top Secret.

Hence, anybody with a clearance can be expected to be highly responsible. Employers who value traits like a sense of responsibility or discretion will definitely notice this.

Moreover, suppose the job you are applying to also involves working with sensitive data, or a considerable amount of money, or requires client confidentiality. In such a case, your prospective employer will know you can be trusted as a candidate.

When to List a Security Clearance on Your Resume?

You can list your past or current security clearance while applying to any job to increase your chances. However, some occasions deserve special mention.

1. Transferring to a Military or Government Position

Transferring to a Military or Government Position

If you are transferring from one government position to another or applying for a job in the military, listing your security clearance will be an added advantage. Your employer will still conduct the necessary checks, but you will become a more viable candidate.

However, you can’t have too much gap between your checks. Based on your clearance, the most recent background check must be done within the last five to ten years. Also, you can’t have more than two years gap in your employment.

2. Private Jobs That Require Clearance

Although private jobs do not require a security clearance, some sectors do. If you are applying for a career in cybersecurity, aerospace engineering, or business analysis, then this could be a plus.

Since only a few candidates will have security clearance while applying for these jobs, and if you have one, your application will stand out.

It will show that you’re a reliable candidate and know how to keep sensitive data private.

3. While Applying to Senior Positions

While Applying to Senior Positions

Applying to senior positions in companies dealing with money, finance, or banks, having a security clearance can put you ahead as a prospective candidate. These positions involve acquiring the trust of your employers and a lot of discretion and carefulness.

Your employers will know you can be trusted to handle such responsible positions.

Points to Keep in Mind While Listing Security Clearance

Points to Keep in Mind While Listing Security Clearance

While it is okay to mention your security level and whether it is still active in your resume, there are specific points you should keep in mind:

  1. Don’t disclose the details of any confidential projects you have worked on.
  2. Don’t disclose the identities of any colleagues on personal projects as a reference.
  3. Any classified tool, technology, or program you may have worked with that still might not have been brought before the public.
  4. Do not disclose names, locations, departments, and other information related to sensitive information in your resume.

Steps to List a Security Clearance on The Resume

Understanding and following these steps can help you list your security clearance in the best possible manner:

1. Understanding The Requirements

Understanding The Requirements

The first step to listing the security clearance is to understand why you are listing them in the first place.

Suppose you aren’t sure what it entails or the best way to disclose them. In that case, you can go through some of the recommended practices suggested by the National Security Agency or the United States Department of Defense.

In such cases, you can mention that you had undergone background checks, gone through polygraph testing, and the kind of work you performed.

2. Listing The Clearance

The best way to list your security clearance is to include it under a separate heading. You can mention your clearance level and whether it’s still active.

You can also make it stand out by putting it immediately under the resume title in smaller a slightly smaller font, within brackets.

3. Mention it in Your Professional Summary

Mention it in Your Professional Summary

To establish the importance of your security clearance, you can mention it while writing your professional resume summary.

For example, you can talk about your area of expertise and briefly mention how your clearance allowed you to do the job without saying any crucial details. You can discuss your professional skills and explain why you needed the clearance to do your job.

4. Employment History

Another way to list your security clearance is to mention it while writing about your employment history. If you have had multiple clearances, you should first list the most recent one and proceed in reverse chronological order.

You can list your professional achievements in bullets; the clearance will stand out even better when mentioned alongside them. You can mention you underwent a background check to be entrusted with the task, which you completed successfully.

Example of Listing Security Clearance

Example of Listing Security Clearance

Here is an example resume showcasing how to list security clearances:

Robert Jackson, Secret Level Security Clearance

(Contact Details)

Professional Summary

Experienced and diligent IT employee with six years of government digital analysis experience. I hold an active security clearance.

Work Experience

(List your work experience, starting from the most recent and proceeding in reverse chronological order. Mention your clearance in the process.)

  • Held secret-level security clearance while analyzing sensitive data for the government.
  • Train interns at security levels lower than or equal to mine on security practices.
  • Worked with data encryption to improve network security.

Security Clearance

I have one security clearance and held another at the beginning of my career.

  • Secret Level Security Clearance: March 2021 to Present
  • Confidential Level Security Clearance: June 2018 to February 2021


Simply listing security clearance on your resume does not guarantee that you will land a job. For that, you need to go through the entire hiring process successfully. However, it increases your chances, especially if you are applying for a position requiring sensitive information handling.

You must be careful not to reveal crucial data in the process. However, if you can list them correctly, it will help you stand out and get closer to your dream job.