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I am up for a job that will get me a Secret Clearance. Between 2006-2009, I was a contractor. I had 5 contracts. 4 of them I was self employed. 1 I was a w-2.

For the w-2 there should be a record of my dates of employment at the contract company. The others were through an LLC and later an S-Corporation. There are no requirements for contract companies to keep records. One of the companies I worked with for a year went out of business.

I might be able to get references for 2 of the contracts from people I worked with. I don't even remember my managers name on some of these.

Not sure what I should provide the investigator? Will this cause a problem? Also, I think they go back 7 years. The company I was at before I contracted is a large company. I have no idea how to contact their HR department. Can I just give the company name? Will they be able to find it?

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3 Answers 3

When I filled out the application for my US Secret clearance two years ago, I did not need to provide references at each company. What I needed to provide was a set of references covering the time period for people who could vouch for my employment and residence.

Your employer (or prospective employer, if this is a new job rather than a promotion) almost certainly has a designated "security officer" whose job includes shepherding people through the clearance process. That person can help with specific details of the application.

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Do you have someone not related to you that can vouch that you were doing that contract and not selling drugs, or knockoffs, or doing time in jail? What they care about most is that you can prove that you were doing something legal that you say you were doing and not something bad. If you have the name of a contact at the company that you were contracting and they can say that yes you were working on that contract around those dates it will usually be enough for basic security clearances.

There are different levels of security clearance that require deeper back ground checks. Some of the checks can take over a year to clear even if you have everything for them. Generally if you can get to the point where they are willing to start that investigation, and your skill is in immediate need they will issue you a temporary clearance. This could be revoked at any time if the investigation hits a snag. I worked with a contractor that lost his clearance for 3 weeks over a wrong phone number. But when the issue cleared the clearance was resumed.

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You should provide more information than they need. Make a list of everything you can find: Who you worked for; Where you worked; Dates; Somebody who worked there. You might have old emails or are connected to some of these people though LinkedIn. You might need to look back at your old tax records. Look at old resumes.

They will decide who they need to interview. The investigators know the farther you go back, the harder it is to find people. People leave companies, they retire, they seem to drop off the face of the earth.

Ask the security office at the company or government agency. You are not the first with this situation. Others have tough challenges too: they moved 10 times while in the military including war zones; they went to college out of the country; they worked for one company but at 7 different work locations.

You will probably be interviewed after you complete the forms, this is the time to bring the box of paperwork so that if they ask for more information you can try to find it. They will go over every line on the form at that interview, if they want more info than you have, then you will be given time to gather the names and numbers.

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