Intelligence Careers

One of our most popular employer groups in government, the intelligence community comprises 18 different agencies within the U.S. federal government. Intelligence careers include covert operations, back office jobs such as finance, accounting and human resources, and even have spots for those interested in modeling, makeup and artistry.

The Cawley Career Education Center has prepared two documents to help you get started in your internship or job search process, which provide application deadlines and featured opportunities generally popular among Georgetown students:

For tips and opportunities, check out Cawley’s past newsletters.

Be sure to look on Handshake where there are materials on resumes and personal statements from leading intelligence community employers. 

Intelligence agencies commonly look for students who demonstrate leadership, teamwork, advanced critical thinking skills, superb communication skills (oral and written), and a commitment to the common good. Contrary to popular opinion, working in intelligence does not mean accolades galore — rather, you will work in the shadows, often with people close to you never knowing what you do at work. You will have access to lots of information, and be able to speak to many of the issues you see day-to-day in the media, but will be unable to even hint that you know what is going on. The work can be hard — but incredibly rewarding. And leadership and career opportunities abound! 

On this page, you will find multiple resources designed to help you start your search for opportunities within the intelligence community. To begin, be sure to bookmark and to learn more about the agencies that make up this broad and interesting community, and to begin searching for opportunities. 

There are a few things that make intelligence jobs different from other jobs. One is the application timeline (Popular Federal Internships and Programs page for more timeline information). For intelligence positions, you should plan to submit an application at least one year before you anticipate obtaining a job or internship. This allows for the time necessary to complete the extensive background investigation process. Some agencies, like the CIA and FBI, have specific deadlines for their summer job and internship opportunities. Others have more general, rolling admissions. 

Secondly, the background investigation process is often a requirement for jobs in this community. If you are considering a career in intelligence, you should keep your nose clean. Stay away from:

  • underage drinking
  • use of illicit substances (which includes marijuana, and misuse of prescription drugs, including Adderall or Ritalin)
  • large amounts of credit card debt and a shaky financial situations (be sure to pay all your bills on time).
  • illegal downloading of music, textbooks, etc.

Above all, be honest in your application. Do not think that investigators won’t find out about a time you made a poor decision that resulted in disciplinary action (or worse). And be honest about any medical situations you may be facing — including mental health issues. None of these declarations will render you unfit for service, but lying about them might. 

In our Handshake resources, you will find some specific tips and information about different intelligence agencies such as the CIA and FBI. DIA and DHS also have active employer profiles on Handshake.

Making Connections

Attend employer information sessions, industry events — on and off-campus, and connect with the local chapter of popular professional organizations. Professional associations host a variety of professional development, educational, and networking events. If the cost of membership is prohibitive, contact leadership and ask if there are sliding scale prices for students. Volunteering for a conference, educational, or social event is another great way to connect with leaders in the industry. In fact, to be successful in a career in government (any level) requires that you make good use of your network, as it is often the way to find out about incredible opportunities.

Develop a LinkedIn profile that communicates your personal and professional brand. Joining groups related to your industry is a great way to meet new people, find mentors, contacts, and ask questions. Reach out to alumni through Hoya Gateway, Georgetown University’s alumni page on LinkedIn, and via Georgetown University’s Alumni Career Network. The Cawley website provides helpful guidelines on networking and LinkedIn shares tips for building your student profile

Take advantage of the informational interview! This is a great way to build your professional network as well as explore career opportunities and/or paths that you may not have known about before. Check out Cawley’s guide on Informational Interviews.

Also, check out Cawley’s Youtube page for various videos on networking, resume and cover letter drafting, and general career exploration.

Intelligence Community Unplugged with Michael Cassidy

To learn more about the intelligence community, including insights about culture, lifestyle, the security clearance process, check out this presentation from Michael Cassidy, a coach at the SFS Career Center.