How To Answer "Do You Have Any Questions For Me?"

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - Reprinted with permission

It's almost the end of the interview and the interviewer asks "Do you have any questions for me?" How do you respond to this predictable job interview question and what does the interviewer really want you to say? If you have wondered how to answer "What questions do you have for me?", you'll find examples of questions you can choose from. Why would the interviewer ask this question during the interview? At first glance it can seem unnecessary, especially if you've been asking questions throughout the job interview. But there's a method to the madness. The interviewer may ask you this to: Provide you with a chance to ask your questions, Assess your interest in the job, See how well you've been listening, Be polite, Kill time.... Read more

SAVE LIVES Act allows VA to soon provide COVID-19 vaccinations to all Veterans, their spouses and caregivers

By VAntagePoint Contributor | VAntage Point Contributor © 2021, Reprinted with permission

All Veterans, their spouses and caregivers can soon get COVID-19 vaccinations from VA under the SAVE LIVES Act signed into law March 24. For the latest information, Stay Informed here. Covered individuals can receive a vaccine from VA due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency. Under the bill, covered individuals are: Veterans who are not eligible to enroll in the VA health care system; specified Veterans who are eligible for hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care abroad; family caregivers approved as providers of personal care services for Veterans under the VA's Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers; caregivers of Veterans participating in the VA's Program of General... Read more

How To Respond To A Job Rejection Email (With Samples)

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - Reprinted with permission

Writing a thank you message after you've been rejected for a job may seem like a crazy idea, but replying to a rejection email might just work. But before you learn how to respond to a rejection email, I want you to think about how the whole situation typically plays out. Here's how it usually goes: Sarah wanted the job, badly. She went through four rounds of interviews and loved the team. Her qualifications checked all the boxes, and then, one Friday she got the email... Thank you for your time and interest...we've decided to go with another candidate blah, blah, blah. She was devastated. She was sure they were going to offer her the job, and this unfortunate turn of events took her by surprise. Put yourself in her shoes. What should she do now?... Read more

VBA has safely resumed in-person exams nationwide

By VAntagePoint Contributor | VAntage Point Contributor © 2021, Reprinted with permission

Although the pandemic has caused Compensation & Pension examinations to accumulate, VBA has now safely resumed in-person exams everywhere in the country and will schedule them as soon as possible. VA has implemented policy changes that enable broader use of the virtual Tele-C&P and Acceptable Clinical Evidence examination procedures by both the VHA and VBA contract examiners. VBA's recently established Medical Disability Examination Office (MDEO) will provide oversight of the contract examination program, to include monitoring contractor production, timeliness, quality and invoicing. While using multiple approaches to reduce the backlog, VBA's primary concern will always be the safety of Veterans and examination... Read more

Applying to Positions with Clearance

By Thomas Braden | U.S. Navy Vet and Author of A Veteran's Guide to Transition: Active Duty to Government Service

Considerations and steps of application process to a position with security clearance or access requirements... Read more

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AUTOMOTIVE TECHNICIAN - Seattle Land Rover Jaguar - Lynnwood - WA
  • A Veteran's Guide to Transition: Active Duty to Government Service

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How To Answer "Do You Have Any Questions For Me?"

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - Reprinted with permission

It's almost the end of the interview and the interviewer asks "Do you have any questions for me?" How do you respond to this predictable job interview question and what does the interviewer really want you to say?

If you have wondered how to answer "What questions do you have for me?", you'll find examples of questions you can choose from.

Why Interviewers Ask This Question

Why would the interviewer ask this question during the interview? At first glance it can seem unnecessary, especially if you've been asking questions throughout the job interview.

But there's a method to the madness. The interviewer may ask you this to:

  1. Provide you with a chance to ask your questions
  2. Assess your interest in the job
  3. See how well you've been listening
  4. Be polite
  5. Kill time

The truth is, it could be any or all of these reasons.

The worst possible answer you could provide is: "No, you've answered all my questions."

Always have questions ready to ask because that shows you are interested in the opportunity and that you've been paying attention.

Keep in mind, your mission during the interview is to determine whether you are interested in the job. And you want to make a good impression. One way to achieve both of these objectives is to have a well thought-out response ready when an interviewer asks you this question.

Honesty, I think most candidates are mentally exhausted by the end of an interview and just want to put on some comfortable yoga pants or sweats. But as tempting as it is to dismiss this question, it's always in your best interest to have several questions ready to go.

Tips For Preparing Your Answer

Your answer to "Do you have any questions for me?" shows the interviewer how well you've paid attention and processed the information provided during the job interview.

The questions you ask also signal to the interviewer what elements of the job and company are important to you as you evaluate their opportunity. Additionally, asking questions also sends a signal that you are seriously evaluating this opportunity as an important step in your career.

Here are some tips to make sure you're ready for this question.

Ask the Right Questions At the Right Time

It's important to keep in mind, the interview process can be lengthy and typically involves several rounds of interviews. During the early interviews, your questions may be more general, but as you get to the final round of interviews, the questions you ask will be more specific and build off of the information you've acquired during previous interviews.

For example, asking about salary, vacation or other benefits is best left until the final interview. It's up to you to gauge the questions you ask based on where you are in the interview process.

Research

As part of your pre-interview preparation, you'll want to carefully review the job posting, research the company and the people with whom you'll be interviewing. This research will help you identify questions you want answered. Here's what to look for when researching each.

Job Posting: The posting is usually a high level overview. It may not address the day-to-day tasks or flow of work. Formulate questions based on what isn't explained in the posting. Some questions to explore include: what portion of your time will be spent in the different responsibilities, how this role will interact with other teams or departments, or about processes or procedures.

Company Research: Is there news about new products or services? Does the company make reference to their mission statement? Has the company been mentioned in the news for other reasons? Ask questions that will help you understand why the company is growing, shrinking, redefining themselves.

People Research: What do you have in common with the person you'll be interviewing with? Did you attend the same school, belong to the same professional associations, did you both work for the same company previously? You can ask about something you have in common or ask how their college, professional association or previous job has impacted their career.

Prioritize Questions

Before diving into your questions, prioritize the two or three that are most important. You may only have five minutes or so before the interviewer has to conclude the interview and you want to make sure you ask the most important questions in case you run out of time.

Don't Wait Until the End

You don't want to wait until the end of the interview to ask all your questions. There simply won't be enough time. Plus, it may be easier for you to ask a question while the topic is discussed.

FYI, an interview feels more like a conversation when you and the interview take turns asking questions. (As you look at some of these questions, some may make more sense to ask earlier in the interview.)

Have a Hard Copy

Write your questions out and have them easily accessible during the interview. And yes, you can refer to your list of questions if you need to. It shows you've prepared for the interview and are thoughtfully considering the opportunity.

Maintain Your Energy

Smile, show respect and maintain your energy when answering "Do you have any questions for me?". Your positive vibes will get noticed and may leave a memorable last impression.

Always Have Questions

It is highly unlikely that all of your questions will be answered. But if you aren't sure what questions you still need to answered — just ask yourself, if I was to start this job tomorrow, what would I need to know? However, if you still feel your questions have been answered, you can always ask the questions mentioned below in the interview process section.

Here are examples of questions you can use when asked this during an interview.

Some Example Questions To Ask

Not every question may be suitable or relevant for you. While a question may sound good, ask yourself if it will provide a meaningful answer and one that will help you determine whether you want the job or not. My advice for selecting from the example questions is to focus on the questions that will provide you with information you feel is important in your decision making.

Review these questions and think about what is most important to you when evaluating your next job opportunity.

Questions About The Role

You want to fully understand the job requirements and what you are expected to do in the role. You also want to understand how your work will be evaluated. If you've done a similar job in the past, don't assume the role will be exactly the same. Here are some you may not have thought to ask.

  • Can you tell me more about the team I will be working with?
  • Are there any other important aspects of the job that we haven't covered?
  • How many hours a week is required for this position? Is overtime expected or allowed?
  • Is working remotely an option for this position?
  • Is there anything I should know about this position that wasn't included in the job listing?
Company Culture Questions

It can be hard to uncover a company's culture using online research. But culture is a key factor in your satisfaction on the job. It's also difficult to describe culture, so you'll notice these questions evaluate things like leadership style, recognition, feedback and professional development.

Before selecting your questions, think about what you want (or don't want) in your next company and choose questions (or craft your own) based on the elements of company culture that are most important to you.

  • What do you like best about working here?
  • What communication methods are most commonly used in the workplace?
  • What type of work do you delegate to your staff?
  • Has anyone on your staff been promoted over the last couple of years? If so, what was the reason this person was promoted?
  • What are three things that your peers would say you do extremely well?
  • Does the company welcome celebrating special occasions? What was the last occasion your department celebrated?
  • Are employees expected to stay up-to-date on their emails over the weekends or while on vacation?
  • What opportunities do you make available for professional development and training?
  • What type of recognition have you recently given to one of your staff?
Questions About Your Candidacy

One of the questions you would really like to know the answer to is whether the interviewer is interested in moving you forward in the interview process. Without directly asking that question, you can use one of these questions to prompt the interviewer. Asking one of these questions gives the interviewer a chance to ask you about any missing qualifications or gaps in skills.

  • Is there anything else I can provide to help you with your decision?
  • This job sounds like something I'd really like to do — do you think there is a fit here?
Questions About The Process

Whatever you do, always ask these three questions about the interview process. You need the answers to these questions to understand what your next steps are and when you should follow up.

  • Do you have an ideal start date in mind?
  • What is the next step in this process?
  • What is your timeline for getting back to candidates about the next steps?

What Not To Do

There are a few things to avoid when responding to the question "Do you have any questions for me?".

Don't ask obvious questions

Ask questions that show you were paying attention. Don't ask questions about topics that have already been explained during the interview or can easily be researched online. However, if you are confused or unclear about some aspect of the job or company, you can ask for clarification.

You might preface your question by saying "You touched on the topic of [issue you want to learn more about] earlier and I was hoping you could explain how that works in greater detail."

Avoid self-serving questions

During the first interview, do not ask about salary, benefits or Paid Time Off (PTO). Focus on topics that show you are interested in the role, company and performance expectations. All those topics will be discussed later in the interview process.

As important as these things are, if the job and company isn't the right fit for you, you probably won't be a happy and engaged employee.

Don't ask "yes" or "no" questions

Don't ask questions that can be answered with "yes" or "no." Asking open-ended questions allows the interviewer to give a more complete answer. You'll also learn more about the topic.

Don't get personal

Avoid questions about family and relationships. These step over the boundary and feel like you are invading their personal space. You wouldn't want to or shouldn't answer those types of questions in a job interview either.

Conclusion

When asked, "Do you have any questions for me?" during an interview, it might be tempting to reply that everything you need to know has been covered. However, you definitely want to use this as an opportunity to show your interest in the job and the company.

Take the time to think about your potential responses and use the examples above to help you prepare. You'll be glad you did.

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SAVE LIVES Act allows VA to soon provide COVID-19 vaccinations to all Veterans, their spouses and caregivers

By VAntagePoint Contributor | VAntage Point Contributor © 2021, Reprinted with permission

All Veterans, their spouses and caregivers can soon get COVID-19 vaccinations from VA under the SAVE LIVES Act signed into law March 24.

For the latest information, Stay Informed here.

Covered individuals can receive a vaccine from VA due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency. Under the bill, covered individuals are:

  • Veterans who are not eligible to enroll in the VA health care system;
  • specified Veterans who are eligible for hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care abroad;
  • family caregivers approved as providers of personal care services for Veterans under the VA's Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers;
  • caregivers of Veterans participating in the VA's Program of General Caregiver Support Services; and
  • caregivers of Veterans participating in the VA's Medical Foster Home Program, Bowel and Bladder Program, Home Based Primary Care Program, or Veteran Directed Care Program.
  • Civilian Health and Medical Programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs recipients.
  • Veteran spouses.

VA must prioritize the vaccination of (1) Veterans enrolled in the VA health care system, (2) Veterans who fail to enroll but receive hospital care and medical services for specified disabilities in their first 12 months of separation from service, and (3) caregivers accompanying such prioritized Veterans. Additionally, vaccines furnished abroad are authorized to be furnished in a geographic location other than a state regardless of whether vaccines are needed for the treatment of Veterans with a service-connected disability. This includes those participating in a VA rehabilitation program.

More information

To learn how to get COVID-19 vaccine from VA, visit blogs.va.gov/VAntage/84404/veterans-designated-caregivers-can-get-covid-19-vaccine-va.

Find answers to general VA COVID-19 vaccine questions at va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine.

To receive ongoing updates about VA's COVID-19 vaccine efforts and to indicate your interest in getting the vaccine once you're eligible, visit va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/stay-informed.

Read the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet at fda.gov/media/144638/download.

View the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet at fda.gov/media/144413/download.

Read the Janssen COVID-19 fact sheet at fda.gov/media/146305/download.

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How To Respond To A Job Rejection Email (With Samples)

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - Reprinted with permission

Writing a thank you message after you've been rejected for a job may seem like a crazy idea, but replying to a rejection email might just work. But before you learn how to respond to a rejection email, I want you to think about how the whole situation typically plays out.

Here's how it usually goes:

Sarah wanted the job, badly. She went through four rounds of interviews and loved the team. Her qualifications checked all the boxes, and then, one Friday she got the email...

Thank you for your time and interest...we've decided to go with another candidate blah, blah, blah.

She was devastated. She was sure they were going to offer her the job, and this unfortunate turn of events took her by surprise.

Put yourself in her shoes. What should she do now?

I'm sure many candidates are tempted to send a big "F you" message after receiving a rejection email. But thank goodness they don't. It's normal to feel rejected and hurt. You've invested a lot of time and energy into the process. But you'll never really know the full story behind who the company hired or what was going on behind the scenes.

Things happen and you may never really know the reason why you weren't selected for that job. Did they:

  • Hire the CEO's daughter
  • Put the position on hold and not hire anyone
  • Promote an internal candidate

It doesn't really matter who they hired because, at the end of the day, you did the best you could do. What you can do now is let the company know that you are still interested in roles that might become available in the future.

But here's what I want you to remember. A rejection email doesn't mean the company never wants to hire you. It just means they aren't interested in you for that specific job.

You want to leave the door open for future opportunities with a company and that is the very reason to write a thank you after being rejected for a job.

Sending a thank you email after being rejected helps you stay on top of the backup list in case something happens. For example:

  • Sometimes candidates don't make it past the first 60 days
  • Candidates sometimes receive better offers and never start
  • And new opportunities open up within companies all the time

It's always easier for the employer to pick someone they've already interviewed rather than starting from scratch. Why wouldn't you want to be considered as a backup option in case their first choice falls through or they need to hire someone new?

A Rejection Email Response Success Story

Years ago, when I hired someone (actually my boss hired her, but that's another story) I received a nice response to the rejection email from the candidate we didn't hire. I saved her note in my desk.

Three months later, when the person we hired didn't work out, I reached into my desk and pulled out the note from the candidate we rejected and showed it to my manager. He called her immediately and hired her within days. If I hadn't gotten her note, I may not have thought to contact her.

Why It's Important To Reply

Responding to any email is just common courtesy. First of all, the person wants to know you received their message so they'll appreciate your response. But there are other reasons why responding to a rejection email is important.

Shows You're Still Interested

Responding to a rejection email is one way to show you are still interested. If you don't respond, the employer will never know how you feel about their company or may not think to consider you for future opportunities. Or they may think you have moved on to another company and are no longer interested.

Makes A Good Impression

While you may not have been a fit for a particular role, that doesn't mean you won't fit in the company at all. When you take the time to respond to the job rejection email, you show future managers that you have maturity, emotional intelligence, and it makes a good impression overall. Often, companies maintain what they call a talent pipeline. It's a queue of people that the company considers potential candidates. You want to stay in the company's queue.

How To Respond To A Rejection Email

Your response to a rejection email doesn't need to be lengthy, in fact, it's just three to four short paragraphs. Keep it positive and focus on the future!

Express Gratitude

Thank the person for their time and the opportunity to learn about the job and the company. If there were multiple people involved, make reference to them too.

You are also thanking the person for letting you know their final decision, though you don't actually have to say this. Too often candidates don't receive any update after a job interview so appreciate the fact that you know the outcome.

If you want to reference a specific moment during the interview process that was important, feel free. But you don't need to go into a lot of detail. The thank you email you wrote after the interview probably already mentioned that.

State You're Still Interested (If applicable)

If you are still interested in working for the company, either in a different role or in that same role, be sure to mention this in your email message. It may seem obvious, but stating that you are interested in future opportunities might be just the reminder the hiring manager or recruiter needs to keep you on the top of their list of upcoming roles.

However, if you are not still interested in working for the company, you don't need to say anything in this section. It's still a good idea to send a thank you though, because the hiring manager or recruiter may have contacts in other companies and may refer you to openings outside their company.

Emphasize Skills and Desired Role

You should remind the hiring manager or recruiter of your skills and the specific roles you are interested in. People can easily forget or may get you mixed up with another candidate. Rather than just saying "keep me in mind," remind them of your top two to three skills.

Stay In Touch

Your final paragraph includes a sentence or two about your interest in staying in touch. You can let them know you will be monitoring their website for future opportunities. You can also ask if it's okay to connect with them on LinkedIn.

Don't expect people to contact you if there is an opening. It is up to you to take ownership of your job search. It's a good idea to stay in touch and keep an eye on the company's website.

Focus On The Subject Line

Writing a strong subject line for your email serves two purposes: to get the reader's attention and to reference the subject of the email. In each of the rejection email responses below, take note that the subject line references the job title and your name.

Include An Email Signature Block

Every email you send should include an email signature block which makes it simple for someone to contact you. It's a good idea to include your job title, phone number and LinkedIn URL in your signature block.

Rejection Email Response Samples

Finally, let's look at some example ways that you can reply! These samples will help you see exactly what to say and visualize how to respond to a job rejection email in a natural and effective way.

Sample 1

Subject: Business Analyst role decision

Dear Dana Smith,

Thank you so much for meeting with me to discuss the Business Analyst position at ABC Company. I appreciate the time invested and the information you and your team shared. I particularly enjoyed learning how the teams share information so freely to help tell the most accurate business story.

While I am disappointed to learn that I was not selected for the role, I am still very interested in future opportunities with ABC Company. I am interested in roles similar to Business Analyst, and I noticed there are employees who serve as data analysts and financial analysts. I would be open to pursuing one of those roles.

I will continue to monitor your career page and will be in contact if I see future openings of interest.

Thank you again for the conversation and the chance to learn more about ABC Company. And I wish you and your new hire all the best.

Sincerely,
Susan Smith

Business Analyst | MS Business Analytics
Phone number
LinkedIn URL

Sample 2

Subject: Marketing Vice President — Sally Jones

Dear Sam Smith:

Thank you for letting me know about your decision regarding the Marketing Vice President role at PDQ Ltd.

I enjoyed learning about PDQ Ltd. and remain interested in pursuing opportunities in marketing. If a similar position becomes available, I'd be interested.

As I continue my search, I am grateful for the chance to meet outstanding leaders like yourself and hope we can stay in contact. I'll be sending you an invitation to connect on LinkedIn.

Thank you again for your time and consideration and good luck to you and the PDQ Ltd. team.

Sincerely,
Sally Jones

Marketing Executive | Consumer Goods & Services
Phone number
LinkedIn URL

Sample 3

Subject Line: Rachel Carpenter — Customer Service and Support

Dear Ms. Sharon McArthur:

Thank you for letting me know your decision regarding the Customer Service and Support role at Ajax Corporation.

I still remain interested in working for Ajax and would be open to considering other opportunities that might be a good match for my data entry and communication skills.

I wish you and your team the best of luck! Thank you again for your time and the opportunity.

Sincerely,
Rachel Carpenter | Customer Service
Phone number
LinkedIn URL

Sample 4

Subject Line: Pat Brown — Customer Service and Support

Dear Mr. Scott Price:

Thank you for considering me for the Software Developer position at Data Corp. I appreciate your time and consideration.

Should there be a similar position that would be a better fit for my experience and qualifications, I would be interested. I hope you will keep me in mind.

Best of luck to you and Data Corp in the future. Thank you again for your time and the opportunity.

Sincerely,
Pat Brown | Software Developer
Phone number
LinkedIn URL

Final Thoughts

While it's not a skill you ever want to use, knowing how to reply to a rejection email is an incredibly powerful tool to have during your job search.

When drafting your response to a rejection email, remember to keep your emotions in check. This is your chance to show your professionalism, your continued interest in the company and keep the lines of communication open. The right thank you email does exactly all that.

When you take the time to write a thoughtful reply to a job rejection email, you are far more likely to stay in the recruiter's queue for future job opportunities. And that's exactly the outcome you want.

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VBA has safely resumed in-person exams nationwide

By VAntagePoint Contributor | VAntage Point Contributor © 2021, Reprinted with permission

Although the pandemic has caused Compensation & Pension examinations to accumulate, VBA has now safely resumed in-person exams everywhere in the country and will schedule them as soon as possible.

VA has implemented policy changes that enable broader use of the virtual Tele-C&P and Acceptable Clinical Evidence examination procedures by both the VHA and VBA contract examiners.

VBA's recently established Medical Disability Examination Office (MDEO) will provide oversight of the contract examination program, to include monitoring contractor production, timeliness, quality and invoicing.

While using multiple approaches to reduce the backlog, VBA's primary concern will always be the safety of Veterans and examination providers during the pandemic, and it remains committed to continuing this mission. To mitigate concerns, VBA has established safety procedures and protocols to complete the examinations that Veterans need to receive a decision on their benefit claims.

If your in-person examination was not completed due to the pandemic, you can reschedule directly with the contract vendor identified in your original appointment letter. All examinations completed at contract examination facilities are held to the same safety guidelines as those conducted at VA facilities.

For more information

For answers to commonly asked questions about the resumption of VA claim examinations, visit the VA claim (C&P) exam resumption site. To obtain information on the examination process, visit VA claim exam where you will find information ranging from what to expect at a VA exam to how to schedule a VA exam and what happens after a VA exam.

For general information on Disability Compensation, visit Compensation Home (va.gov).

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Applying to Positions with Clearance

By Thomas Braden | U.S. Navy Vet and Author of A Veteran's Guide to Transition: Active Duty to Government Service

Editor Notes

This article is written by Thomas Braden, the author of A Veteran's Guide to Transition: Active Duty to Government Service, available on Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/B08Z83W9BK/

In the article author describes considerations and steps of application process to a position with security clearance or access requirements on USA Jobs. While the focus here is on government positions posted on USA Jobs, the considerations are also applicable to positions with clearance requirements posted by other organizations and on other job boards.

On Veteran's Job Center you can specify security clearance when you create a job seeker account and update it here

Taking the mystery out of USA Jobs' security clearance requirements

When you're applying for position on USA Jobs, you should find a job that meets your interests and takes advantage of your background, skills and abilities, first. If you're in doubt as to whether the position is a good-match for you, expand the Requirements section and preview online self-assessment or job questionnaire. If you're not honestly able to give yourself the highest category of response for most (if not all) questions, then, perhaps this job isn't a good match for you, at this time. So keep shopping and find a position where you can give yourself the highest scores and you feel like it's a "good fit."

Then, you should the focus on is the requirements for a Security Clearance. Why? Because the security clearance process is likely to be the longest and most time consuming part of your journey.

Security Clearance information is often listed several times throughout the Vacancy Announcement. Unfortunately, it is not standardized and is likely to be mentioned in:

  • the "Responsibilities" section;
  • the "Requirements" section; and
  • the "Background Checks and Security Clearance."

This last section is the most common format across all positions on USA Jobs. It will break it down for you, telling exactly what is required.

Security clearances come in several levels.

Background Check or Public Trust

The easiest/lowest level is a public record "background check" and it is not an actual clearance, as it doesn't provide access to classified information. This is called a "public trust," and might be utilized for positions that require base/building access, but do not require access to any classified information to perform their jobs. A good example might be the janitors or landscape gardeners on a secure base.

Access to Classified Information

If the position requires access to classified information, it will then state the level or type of clearance required. Normally you'll see this listed as Secret or Top-Secret, and this covers the vast majority of USG personnel who require access to classified information in the course of their daily tasks. If this is the level of clearance that your prospective position requires, you'll be asked to fill out an e-Qip form online listing all of your information. This process can be laborious and frustrating, as you'll be asked to either update it (since the date of your last clearance) or provide data going back for the last ten years. You'll need all prior address and reference points of contact so they can call/email and verify your history.

Sensitivity and Risk

The third and perhaps rarest form of a security clearance will be for those positions which discriminate based upon the position's responsibilities and duties:

  • Sensitivity equates with the position's potential impact on the national security of the United States;
  • Risk equates with the position's potential to damage the public's trust in the Federal Government.

As opposed to the landscape gardener in the previous example, these highly sensitive, high-risk positions might be responsible for negotiating treaties with foreign countries and would require access to information that is either sensitive, risky - or both.

USA Jobs explains all of their security clearance requirements, with additional detail, here and if you're certain to pursue positions which will require a security clearance, it may be worth checking out the latest information, guides and instructions specifically for the e-Qip, here

Is Security Clearance a Prerequisite?

The question you should be asking and combing the vacancy announcement to answer is:

Is the security clearance required as a prerequisite to apply? Or can I get it, IF they hire me?

Well, the answer is, "That depends." You'll need to read the vacancy announcement closely. As stated, previously, there is no standardized answer or language... you need to read it closely.

The best-case scenario, for both you and the hiring manager, is when you have a Secret clearance and the position requires a Secret clearance. Easy and done - be sure to call that out in both your resume and cover letter (and interview!). While they're unlikely to hire you merely because you have the required clearance, it may be a tie-breaker (as you're a proven entity) should another candidate not have it. (If you're interested in getting hired for your clearance, or in taking a contractor position which will allow you to maintain that clearance, please check out: www.clearedconnections.com for good options as well.)

The second-best possibility is when the security clearance requirement is listed as "must be eligible to attain." This means that IF you're selected for hiring, THEN they will assist you in obtaining the necessary level of security clearance required to fulfill the position. (Caution, while they're willing to invest in you to obtain the clearance, this may take up to a year. You're VERY unlikely to be hired - and paid - until its complete, so don't quit your day job!)

The third possibility is that the vacancy announcement states "must currently possess." In this case, if you don't currently have the required level of clearance, you may be found ineligible to even apply and be rejected outright by Human Resources. Does that mean that you shouldn't apply? I say No, make them do their job and sort you out... but don't be too annoyed if/when they do. Remember the exact wording in the vacancy announcement is what matters for your eligibility.

Why all of this is so important

Why is all of this so important to stress? Because, as stated earlier, the security clearance may be the longest part of your hiring process, and that's if/when everything goes smoothly and you're prepared to provide the USG with every bit of information and everything that you have done for the past ten years. A few show-stoppers worth mentioning:

  1. Drug testing. If you're pursuing a position that requires a security clearance of any level, you're going to be required to conduct a urinalysis prior to hiring and then be subject to random drug-testing throughout your tenure. (A side note here on the ubiquitous use of marijuana in America today. While some states have legalized it for recreational and/or medical use, the Federal Government has not. Similarly, investments in "pot stocks" may not help in adjudication of your case.)
  2. Domestic violence. Some positions may be subject to the Lautenberg Amendment/ Domestic Violence Misdemeanor Amendment to the Gun Control Act of 1968. If you have any previous record of domestic violence, this may impact your ability to obtain a security clearance.
  3. Foreign contacts. "A foreign national is defined as any person who is not a citizen or national of the U.S. You must indicate whether you have, or have had, close and/or continuing contact with a foreign national within the last seven years with whom you, or your spouse, or legally recognized civil union/domestic partner, or cohabitant are bound by affection, influence, common interests, and/or obligation." You will need to disclose any foreign contacts that meet this definition, as well as any foreign investments; again, this may affect your case.

None of this is meant as a deterrent in applying for secured positions. The better informed you are about the exact requirements and process - and how they match with your specific background and circumstances - the easier it will be for you to select and apply, only to those positions which are truly a "good fit," making your transition to the civil service as smooth as possible.

I cover this - and so much more - in greater depth and detail throughout my book, A Veteran's Guide to Transition: Active Duty to Government Service, now available on Amazon for less than the cost of a cup of coffee, I might add! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08Z83W9BK/

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