In Serious Need of Advice

Hey there,

Like my title states, I am in desperate need of advice on my situation with trying to obtain a DOE L Clearance. I graduated with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering in December of 2021. It took me some time to get a job offer as I previously had no experience with internships or co ops. After 8 months, I got an offer with a DoE contractor in August of 2022. Here’s what my timeline has been since receiving the offer:

September 17, 2022: eQIP application submitted to the federal government

November 01, 2022: interview with contract investigator for DCSA to discuss my eQIP application and my contact with a foreign national (one of my roommates from college)

December 02, 2022: Investigation Results Received according to ATS website

January 24, 2023: After contacting security personnel at the company, I learned my application was under review with a federal adjudicator

June 14, 2023: Received copy of records for background investigations using FOI/PA. OPM assessment is F - No Issues

July 05, 2023: Notified that my request for adjudicative records using FOI/PA has been received but have not heard anything else regarding this.

December 05, 2023: After speaking with security personnel, they contacted their local government office and shared the following: I spoke with our government office, unfortunately they do not share much information. The local office reported you investigation is with a partner DOE office for review, they would not speculate on how long this would take.

December 05, 2023: Submitted request for help with a federal agency to my congressional representative.

January 04, 2024: Caseworker for my congressional representative responded with an interim update from the agency: This has been submitted to our casework team, please note that the process can take some time as they work to address your constituents’ concerns.

My security clearance application was submitted 521 days ago. My investigation was received by adjudication 445 days ago. I have been researching and going down every possible avenue I can find to get my security clearance application adjudicated, but I am coming up short every time. I still have not gained any experience since graduation, and at this point, I have no hope of getting any other offers as I have not done anything. I need this job to start my career. My life has been on pause during this whole process and I am stuck. Is it possible that my application has been misplaced? Would it better for the company sponsoring my application to withdraw it and restart the process in hopes that I can obtain a now approved interim security clearance? I don’t know what I should do and I just feel stuck. Any advice or information you have for me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

I will let the experts handle the adjudication questions (AFAIK, you can’t force them to speed it up). Re: the process and job questions, I would not start over. That could end up doubling the time. I would let it continue and just start looking at other jobs in the meantime. Best of luck.

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You say you received investigative records in June 2023 with a code of F. That is not your investigation, that is the special agency check run with your fingerprints, which is the beginning of all investigations. I would guess your investigation did not actually get completed until December. All you can do is wait.

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I have been looking at other jobs and applying. I haven’t even gotten an interview with any of them. I don’t know how I’m ever going to get experience where I am now unless my clearance is approved and I can start the position I accepted the offer for back in August of 2022 (one and a half years ago).

According to the ATS website, my investigation results were received by DoE on December 02, 2022 (over 400 days ago). My investigation has been closed since that date and has been sitting under review with a federal adjudicator since at least January 24, 2023 (that was the day I learned that it was under review with a federal adjudicator). How is it possible that my application has been under review with a federal adjudicator for this long with no decision made?

Welcome to the 21st century job market.
Catch 22 problem:
“I can’t hire you, you have no experience.”
“Well how do I get experience if no one hires me?”

Solution: You might want to think about an internship. That way, at least you’re getting some experience while you wait for the clearance.

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Lmao I wish I could even get to the part where a human being tells me I can’t hire you, you have no experience. Most the time I submit an application and here nothing back

You really want to get a job? Find a niche technology and get certified in it. That will get you way further than the college degree.

Do companies have internships for people who have already graduated though? The only internships I find require you to be currently enrolled in a university.

Have you tried Zintellect? Plenty of fed agencies looking for post-Bach engineers for internships.

I have not. I will be sure to check it out, thank you for the recommendation.

Just curious, did you report any adverse information on your application? Any adverse information is holding applicants up. The legality of THC, financial, mental health, police contact, are holding up cases right now.

This part alone is sobering. I used to work at a place that hired a lot of software developers and believe me, most grads did not even get to the in-person interview. Those internships/co-ops are really important for tech companies.

Regarding the adjudication, as others have noted there is not much feedback or insight into this phase. About the only time you get any is if the adjudicator needs some additional info and reaches out for a follow-up, sometimes going through an investigator, sometimes contacting the applicant directly.

As for a niche technology, Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) is pretty hot right now. You probably don’t want to spend a lot of your own money on a boot camp or the exam but check it out online so maybe you can speak about it intelligently during an interview.

Best of luck and keep us posted.

Yes and also entry programs. And if you know a niche tech the agency needs, they’re far more likely to get you in on an Interim clearance while you wait for adjudication to complete. NSA has a great one and have been struggling to fill spots. A good idea would be to pick where you want to work and get trained in a tech they need. For ex:
NSA = GIS, encryption
FBI = Cyber
DOC = GIS, data warehousing

Unemployment rates are the lowest they have been in decades. Volunteering or working in a job or skill that you are overqualified is definitely an option. School subbing, temp workers, etc. If your investigation is taking this long there is most likely something that might become problematic in your background.

Don’t put career on pause. Take any job you can while waiting. Once cleared, give notice and take the cleared position. Never put all your eggs in one basket

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The only adverse information on my SF86 was that I had close contact with a foreign national (one of my roommates in college). That’s what triggered my interview with a contract investigator for DCSA.

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Update: ATS shows adjudication date of 3/14/24, and I have been granted the clearance more than 500 days after submitting SF86.