If you are fresh out of school or the military and are not sure how to get your in with a group like the United States Intelligence Community, fear not. Not all paths to the IC look the same, and there are a variety of options depending on your background.
Find a Job in the Intelligence Community
The IC is made up of 18 separate agencies supporting intelligence operations that help protect our country. And there are a few ways to start the process to becoming a distinguished member of the IC. You can come straight out of college or another industry. You can join the military, take on a GS-level federal government job, or land a spot at a defense contractor.
Check the Requirements
First and foremost, you will want to note the security clearance requirements for the jobs you are interested in. If you have a clearance, be aware that reciprocity is getting better, but if you maintain a DoD clearance currently, you will need to manage expectations for when you check on your clearance crossovers with the agency / company’s FSO.
Get a Clearance
If you are interested in the IC after university, you will want to find a company or agency that can sponsor your clearance and hang tight as you fill out the SF-86, go through subject interviews, and all the checks required.
Tailor your Resume
If you want to join the IC because of your intelligence background in the military, you should tailor your resume and add any interfacing you did with IC agencies as you were collecting intel, performing joint-ops, or any briefing you did with IC officials when you were active. Following your transition, note your security clearance on your applications, whether that be to a defense contractor or directly for an IC agency.
If you are currently working for a defense contractor with, say, ODNI, but would love to join the FBI to do intelligence directly, that is certainly an option! Many contractors are advertising for a variety of roles like cybersecurity specialists, analysts, threat hunters, psychologists, and more. There are many paths into the IC.