A way to validate brags without breaking a pledge of silence was suggested a dozen years ago by Mark W. Merritt, a former keeper of secrets, and author of "Alternative Careers in Secret Operations" (Impact Publications, 1998). Here's Merritt's succinct spook-style advice:
Fast-forward: Because the intelligence sector grew dramatically after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, aim your search toward today's vast security complex. The pay and work are good, and the employers are accustomed to dealing with zipped-lip job candidates. Research these tips:
-- According to a remarkable two-year investigation published in 2010 by the Washington Post, more than 850,000 people have been granted "Top Secret" security clearance in an all-out effort to keep the United States safe from terrorists.
The report explains that America's top-secret invisible universe is housed in more than 1,300 government facilities (some in every state), and that nearly 2,000 private-sector companies are on board as contractors. Search for "Top Secret America Washington Post."
Most valuable part: The report includes an extensive, searchable database of government agencies and contractors that employ intelligence personnel, and it identifies specific occupations or types of skills wanted.
-- Career fairs are happy job-hunting grounds for counterterrorism hiring. Browse for "intelligence job fairs."
DEAR JOYCE: I would like to work in the recruiting industry, preferably working from my home sourcing or screening job seekers. Am I sitting in the pipe-dream department? -- R.E.
Maybe not, says Barb Bruno, an iconic trainer in the hiring industry (goodasgoldtraining.com). Widely known for her recruiting expertise and marketing flair, Barb Bruno writes in her latest monthly professional message, Barb Bruno's No BS Newsletter, that January was a good month for staffing and recruiting firms, and that many of them are hiring virtual teams to help grow their business:
"Virtual employees work from their homes using their computer, phone and the Internet. Some work as a 1099 independent contractor for several employers, rather than as a W-2 employee for one employer. Some employers hire 100 percent of their employees as virtual employees," Bruno explains.
P.S. Now that third party (independent) recruiters are having better days, join them! Search for "The Smart Job Search #6: How to Attract Recruiters Using LinkedIn" by Louise Fletcher on her website blueskyresumes.com. If Fletcher were in the military, she'd be wearing a chestful of medals -- for competence.
DEAR JOYCE: I am looking for a job and have both a master's and Ph.D. degrees. School friends tell me their experience suggests that I omit my doctorate and mention only my master's degree on my resume. They say that in the technology job market, unless you're teaching, nobody wants a Ph.D. True or false? -- J.S.
Your doctorate could be an employment liability for hirers who are concerned about your cost and your satisfaction with the work they want done.
A resume is a sales tool, period. It shows how your qualifications connect with a job's requirements, serving as a basis for checking you out via an interview. If a position calls for a master's degree, you have it. You are not obligated to volunteer information on your resume that is extraneous to your ability to do the job.
My narrow, space-limited answer doesn't address collateral issues, such as the sustained viability of work that doesn't use your doctoral-level skills. Research time! Start with sciencejobs.blogspot.com.
(E-mail career questions for possible use in this column to Joyce Lain Kennedy at email@example.com; use "Reader Question" for subject line. Or mail her at Box 368, Cardiff, CA 92007.)