The Career Coach: More Security Clearance Q&A

April 26, 2012 |

Security clearance

Career expert Tom Wolfe has received more questions about security clearance — his answers are below.

You can also see more security clearance guides and job listings in’s Security Clearance section.


Hi Tom,

I’ve noticed that any civilian job working with the military requires clearances, but those expire when one separates. How can we possibly compete if we are working in the civilian sector and or clearances have expired. I am qualified for many positions except for this one drawback.




Yes, an expired security clearance is less attractive to a defense contractor than an active one, but may still be of value, depending on how long it has been expired and/or to what level of access it was granted. It is much cheaper for a civilian employer to re-activate an expired clearance than to initiate one from scratch. And, a recently expired TS/SCI/SBI/SIOP/TK is more attractive than an active CONFIDENTIAL.

Good hunting and thanks for your service.

Tom Wolfe



My question is I have a Security Clearance from when I was in the Navy . It has since expired and was wondering if it would still be advisable to add it to my resume? My career field is in Aviation Maintenance and I’m not quite sure if this would help or hurt any chances of improving my career.   

Thank You, 



As I stated in another thread, having at one time been granted the clearance can be used as a bullet on your resume, if worded properly. There is not downside to listing it, although the fact that it is expired will decrease the odds that a defense contractor will get too excited about it.

Good Hunting and thanks for your service!

Tom Wolfe


 If you have questions, general or specific, about getting started in a civilian career, email them to Tom at, and we’ll feature his answers in this blog.

Tom Wolfe is an author, columnist, career coach, veteran, and an expert in the field of military-to-civilian career transition. During his career he assisted thousands of service members in their searches for employment, placing more than 3000 in their new jobs. Prior to civilian life, he graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy and served as a surface warfare officer. He teaches transition courses, gives seminars on career and job change, writes about the career transition process, and continues to counsel current and former military personnel. His book, Out of Uniform: Your Guide to a Successful Military-to-Civilian Career Transition, was published by Potomac Books in 2011.

OUT OF UNIFORM: Your Guide to a Successful Military-to-Civilian Career Transition

Tom Wolfe, Career Coach

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About Ho Lin

Ho Lin is an editor at His interests include naval history, the New York football Giants, and loud rock music.


  1. Installing security systems or even an administration for tech support is something that former arms personnel could tackle as a career if they worked in the technical communications technology in the AF.