Top Secret Clearance

I embellished my oldest job on my resume’. I didn’t realize that my correct title was changed as I was copying and pasting information. I realized the difference after I was offered the new job and had begun. I am in need of a Top Secret clearance for this position and feel just awful about everything. I literally don’t know what to do with this stupid mess-up. Should I inform my managers and probably lose this position? Its the right thing to do. Also I don’t want to destroy my career by this goof up. Please offer constructive suggestions.

On a resume (not a security questionnaire)? BS-ing a little on job title? And on an “oldest” employment listed job title (i.e., not current and second most recent)? And “I didn’t realize that my correct title…”?

Here are my two cents as a former investigator for a long time who has seen a lot.

I would say that from my experience it’s fairly common for people to BS a little about their experience and job titles in trying to sell themselves (resumes, LinkedIn, etc.).

IMHO you are being overly conscientious. Which is not a bad thing unless it causes undue stress. This reminds me of the line from Renaissance philosopher Michel de Montaigne, “My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened.”

I certainly wouldn’t mention it to any managers, coworkers, or colleagues. Not that it rises to any level of seriousness but that it would create in their minds a kind of suspicion towards you. “The guilty flee when no one pursueth.” In other words, they’ll immediately think there’s something more that you’re hiding because why else would you make this confession over a relatively innocuous, almost irrelevant, thing?

Re: your clearance investigation, it’ll sail through easily. Don’t give a second thought. Just fill out your SF-86 honestly and accurately and answer every question in the interview candidly without much or any unnecessary commentary. A TS investigation almost never involves what someone listed on a resume unless it develops into an issue. E.g., falsely claiming degrees to get a job, claiming past employers/employments they never had, etc.

I wouldn’t give the issue you raised a second thought. Let it go. This time next year you’ll probably feel embarrassed that you even thought it was a big deal.


This inconsistency is big. Its the difference between an Administrative Assistant and a Software Engineer.

I appreciate your feedback. I have also heard that the investigator will have a copy of my resume and will end up relaying these discrepancies to my fso which will inform my managers. At that point in time they will find out about the inconsistency in my resume and will fire me. I am obviously very concerned. I’m not a liar and I feel so ashamed of this issue.

The investigator will definitely not provide any information to any managers/supervisors/coworkers.

Nb: Chances are good the investigator will not be able to get a copy of the resume. But even in those rare cases where they can, they won’t unless the reviewer makes it an issue. Also, resumes aren’t scrutinized in clearance investigations in my experience.

That said, accurately listing information on the SF-86 is required (and criminal if not done so). Just fill out the SF-86 honestly and accurately and be candid in your interview. You’ll have nothing to worry about.

Something like job title these days is often diffuse and not a descriptor of the job function. It’s especially true in business/tech.

Just Google “bulls**t job titles” and you’ll see BS job titles (and BS-ing about job titles) it’s a common things these days and so expected in business and tech that everyone already assumes you’re somewhat BS-ing on resumes and LinkedIn. It’s not good, and is the subject of a lot of mockery, but sadly it’s commonplace.

Again, I suggest you let it go and not give it a second thought. Just learn from it and make it spur you on to work ten times harder than anyone else so on your next resume you can undersell yourself with confidence.

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Resumes are often included with the case papers and are required to be briefed out along with the SF-86. Gonna be a crap shoot if you get an Investigator worth his/her salt and whether this will open into a bad can of worms for you.

In my view, admin assistant vs. software engineer is fraudulent misrepresentation. If your resume contains a job description, is that accurate to the incorrect title? Hopefully so, if there is no job description or the job description describes the ‘embellished’ title, we would have to have more discussion.

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Thanks for your input fed-inv. I didn’t know resumes were part of the documents. When I worked on BI cases there were so many changes it made my head spin.

Nostrovia69 needs to fill out his SF-86 accurately and honestly and answer all investigator questions fully and forthrightly.

But read his initial characterization of the issue, which is no doubt more likely to be accurate than his obviously hyperbolic characterization of it in his response.

“I didn’t realize that my correct title was changed as I was copying and pasting information. I realized the difference after I was offered the new job”

Do you really think this a ‘admin asst. vs. software engineer’ issue? Maybe I’m misreading it but it sounds fairly innocuous and an honest error.

Not sure if you are asking me but the Original Poster him/herself stated under your first response the difference in job title.

Couldn’t agree more on the changes we face constantly as well as filling out the SF86 honestly.

I noticed the thread today where the guy claimed a Master’s degree on his resume but did not have one disappeared into the ether. Is telling. There is embellishment and there is outright telling a big fat lie.

Embellished: make (a statement or story) more interesting or entertaining by adding extra details, especially ones that are not true.

If you truly embellished your resume, you have a problem. If you were copying/pasting and “software engineer” was somehow pasted instead of “administrative assistant”, and you didn’t falsify anything on your resume to support the job title of “software engineer”, then you may not have an issue with your clearance— explain what happened during the interview. Either way, when it comes to your employers, honesty is the best policy. And the longer you try to conceal a turd, the worse it is going to smell. Stating that you were a sanitation engineer instead of a garbage man is one thing. Stating you were a software engineer instead of an administrative assistant is worlds apart.

If your resume is part of the case papers, the difference in job titles likely will be brought up (every agency/contractor likely has different policies regarding investigators reviewing resumes, but in my experience, it is required). Not likely that your resume will be in the case papers, but I have seen them. Either way, I repeat, honesty is the best policy.

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If the discrepancies are between calling yourself a carpenter or a woodworker probably not a big deal. A job title that obviously requires a degree and one that obviously implies no degree is required is a bigger deal. There is a big difference between RN registered nurse or NA nursing assistant.

Provided vital role in the interpretation, organization, and disbursement of testing data.
Provided technical support in the implementation, analysis, revision, and maintenance of human resources and other applicable automated systems.
Created Access databases, forms, tables and queries as needed.
Codes, Tests, and maintains the software/scripts used to implement fixes and commercial software upgrades in a tactical communications system.
Interfaced between the validation and development teams ensuring effective communication.

I did work on coding and testing using my own laptop to study the delivery modules to get more familiar with them and to learn the systems,

Should I inform my managers of the copy paste error and do you think I will lose my job based on this error?

Your job description looks like one for a Software Engineer not an Admin Assistant, not even close.

I suppose your statement about doing coding/testing on your own is supposed to justify the fact that coding/testing was not part of your actual job duties?

To me, this looks like you completely made up a job title and job duties you did not have.

I have no real advice for you. I hope this is the only ‘embellishment’ of this type but if it is as egregious as it seems to me, I doubt it.

Good luck.

How long ago did you work this position? If more than 7 years ago then that employment won’t even be covered in the investigation. This may cause issues however if you need a poly in the future.

I told my managers the truth of the matter. I feel much better in doing so. They did not include my resume with the packet to the FSO. My managers say this will not be an issue. I hope they are right. I have learned a valuable lesson in making sure my resume is accurate. I will keep everyone informed as to what happens. Thank you for your feedback.