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How to Prepare an IT CV with Security Clearance (SC)

Updated: Jan 23

Preparing a CV with sensitive information and security clearance (SC) can be hard to achieve. Showcasing abilities, projects and achievements require scrutiny, an eye for detail and knowledge of what is acceptable. Most of you reading this would have signed an NDA and maybe even signed the Official Secrets Act.

Security Cleared IT jobs are found in many government organisations such as the Secret Intelligence Service, Intelligence Agency, UK Police Force and the Armed Forces as well as many private organisations handling highly sensitive information such as aerospace, energy, IT and engineering infrastructure.

Vetting provides a certain level of assurance as to an individual's suitability to have trusted access to sensitive information and essentially means background checks and a vetting process, where the more restricted the information / area the deeper and more rigorous the checks.

There are 3 security levels:

  • Counter Terrorist Check (CTC): is carried out if an individual is working in proximity to public figures, or requires unescorted access to certain military, civil, industrial or commercial establishments assessed to be at particular risk from terrorist attack.

  • Security Check (SC): determines that a person’s character and personal circumstances are such that they can be trusted to work in a position which involves long-term, frequent and uncontrolled access to SECRET assets.

  • Developed Vetting (DV): in addition to SC, this detailed check is appropriate when an individual has long-term, frequent and uncontrolled access to ‘Top Secret’ information. There is also Enhanced DV.

In general IT professionals with Security Clearance accreditations are in demand – especially with a current shortage of experienced IT professionals across the country. Being Security Cleared can open doors to many employment options that may not have been opened otherwise.

Preparing a CV with sensitive information can be hard to achieve. Especially when you want to showcase your abilities, describe the types of projects that you have worked on and demonstrate the value you have delivered. I know this first hand having previously been cleared to a high Government standard. Bigger Fish Executive Branding suggests you use an ATS-friendly CV template to increase your chances of securing an interview.

When preparing a CV or resume for a security clearance application, it's important to be mindful of the sensitive nature of the information you include. The goal is to provide enough detail to demonstrate your qualifications and experience while avoiding the disclosure of information that could compromise national security or violate clearance protocols. Here are some general guidelines on what information to omit:

  1. Classified Information: Do not include any details about classified projects, programs, or operations. This includes specific names, codes, locations, and any other information that is classified.

  2. Sensitive Assignments: Avoid disclosing details of sensitive assignments or duties that could potentially compromise security.

  3. Specific Locations and Dates: Be cautious about providing specific details about your work locations, especially if they are related to sensitive or classified projects. Additionally, avoid listing exact dates for certain assignments or activities.

  4. Security Clearance Details: While it's common to mention that you hold a security clearance, avoid specifying the level or details of your clearance in your CV. This information is typically provided separately during the clearance application process.

  5. Names of Contacts: Refrain from listing the names or contact information of colleagues, supervisors, or references who may be associated with classified or sensitive projects.

  6. Technical Details: Be cautious about providing highly technical details of your work that may be considered sensitive or classified. Focus on general skills and qualifications without revealing proprietary or classified information.

  7. Personal Identifiers: Avoid including personal information that could be exploited, such as your home address, personal phone numbers, or specific details about family members.

  8. Previous Employers and Clients: Exercise discretion when discussing previous employers or clients, especially if your work with them involved sensitive or classified information.

  9. Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs): If you have signed NDAs, make sure not to violate their terms by disclosing restricted information.

  10. Social Media Links: Remove or limit information on your CV that might lead someone to your social media profiles, especially if they contain details about your work or associations.

Always follow the guidelines provided by the agency or organisation conducting the security clearance process. If in doubt, consult with the security officer or clearance investigator to ensure you are not including any information that could jeopardize your application or the security of classified information. You can download a recommended CV or Resume template here.

There is a thin line to tread when preparing certain sections, and we suggest when mentioning any of the above that you use "a descriptor" rather than state the actual name of the project, facility, technology or location. Being less specific when it comes to secure roles is fine and expected by most recruiters and hiring managers. Locations such as towns or cities can be changed to counties or countries and specific technologies / solutions can be described as secure cloud-based systems. We suggest you use the premium version of Grammarly to enhance your writing style when developing your CV.

Partial Information Source: and content written by Lee Woodrow

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