For many professionals, working as a defense contractor seems like the perfect fit. The jobs are often surprisingly stable, incredibly engaging, and excellent for boosting resumes through skill acquisition.
However, job seekers without prior experience in the defense industry aren’t always aware of what comes with these roles. Before you pursue these positions, here are five things to know about defense contract work.
1. Reporting Requirements Are High
Many defense contractors – regardless of their field – will need to submit a variety of reports that outline the tasks they’ve completed in a certain period. Some may involve status updates showing progress on assigned projects. Others may involve cost center-based breakdowns to ensure the proper departments are billed for the services you’re providing.
Since that’s the case, defense contractors usually need to take notes during the reporting period to track their contributions. That ensures creating the report when the time comes is simpler and that the resulting document is suitably accurate and comprehensive.
2. Communication Restrictions Are Significant
Communication is critical in any defense industry job, but it’s also highly restricted. Along with limits on what you can say to whom, how communication flows is often subject to specific policies. In many cases, defense contract jobs are governed by a hierarchal structure, and circumventing it isn’t permitted. As a result, you may be barred from reaching out to the client directly, instead needing to route through a designated supervisor or manager for questions that require client input.
3. Security Policies Are Strict
Defense contractors must adhere to Department of Defense (DoD) security policies, and the rules are stringent. Additionally, there are security procedures issued by the contracting organization, and some may go above and beyond what’s required by the DoD.
Security policies can govern anything from what’s required to send internal emails to building access. As a result, you need to spend time learning every guideline to ensure you’re fully complying.
4. Security Clearances Are Typically Required
As a defense contractor, you’ll typically need a security clearance. The level will vary depending on the nature of your work, altering the type of background check that will occur.
Security clearance background checks are far more comprehensive than those at traditional employers. As a result, you’ll need to provide significantly more information and documentation than you may expect, including addresses going back up to 10 years, multiple references, and more.
5. Caution Is Required During Subsequent Job Searches
If your contract position is short-term, you’ll usually start seeking out new opportunities right before it comes to an end. Navigating a job search as a defense contractor is potentially tricky, as you’re limited in what you can share with prospective employers.
Mentioning specific projects, security procedures, and similar details are potentially barred if the work is in any way sensitive or confidential. As a result, you’ll need to self-audit as you create a resume and prepare for interviews, ensuring you don’t reveal the wrong details. Fortunately, most defense contract organizations understand that restrictions are commonly in place, so they’re reasonably understanding if you openly say that you can’t share certain details.
Ultimately, understanding the points above helps you ensure a defense contractor position is right for you. Are you interested in a contract job in the defense sector? Partner with the Staffing Resource Group to gain access to fantastic opportunities. Contact us today.