Intelligence and Security Careers Day: Recap

Career Administrator

Last Friday, September 22nd, marked the date of the UVA Career Center’s inaugural Intelligence and Security Careers Day program. We had over 20 representatives from seven different intelligence and security agencies in attendance, including the CIA, NSA, FBI, DIA, and more. Over 130 students from all years and academic majors attended and reported an overall positive and enlightening experience.

If you were unable to attend this event, it’s possible that you may have missed some valuable insights related to the hiring practices and upcoming opportunities promoted by various agencies. Below, you’ll find a few of the key takeaways from agency representatives around different aspects of the application/hiring process that you may find helpful as you continue to explore this field.

Agency Panel Discussion Highlights:

What opportunities are available within each agency and where can I find them?

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA):

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI): 

  • Refer to website for open positions:
  • Collegiate Hiring Initiative: recruits graduating seniors or individuals who have graduated with an undergraduate, graduate, or PhD degree to begin their careers
    • Deadline October 15th
  • Honors Internship Program: 10-week, paid internship for college undergraduate and graduate students. While exploring our exciting career options, students work side-by-side with FBI employees at our Washington, D.C. area headquarters locations, or in field offices around the country. Open to a wide range of academic areas, this internship offers experiences students can’t find anywhere else.
    • Deadline October 15, 2017

National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC)

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)

  • Summer 2018 Internship Deadline: October 1
  • Current full-time openings listed here
  • Specifically looking for data management positions currently
  • Positions in Springfield, VA and Missouri

Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)

  • Refer to official website:
  • Students can apply for the opportunity to participate in an upcoming Northern Virginia Hiring Event in mid-December
    • Roles include: Information Technology, Security, Human Intelligence, Finance & Acquisition, and Analysis
    • Must apply to postings through DIA careers website; Application Deadline: October 6th
  • All majors welcome
  • Resumes will be reviewed, and then invites will be sent out

National Security Agency (NSA)

What should I know about the application process for each agency?

CIA: Important to show your passion in your cover letter- Why is the job important to you? How do your experiences uniquely prepare you for this job?; All positions require a top security clearance; process takes several months to complete

NGIC: Prepare a custom, tailored resume; Address specific experiences that they ask for

NSA: Application process includes a "Biodata test" to measure mental horsepower, followed by a video interview invitation; Recommend practicing interviews with friends; Application does not accept attachments; need to copy and paste

DIA: After application is reviewed, you will be asked for a writing sample; Writing sample is online, and is timed (around 30 minutes); Based on these two rounds, invitations sent out for interviews in mid-December; Conditional offer may be secured at NOVA hiring event in December

What specific skills do agencies look for?

  • Most agencies likes to see experience with data analytics and data management
  • Classses related to programming and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are more desired by some agencies
  • Overall, the following traits are highly sought after by most agencies:
    • Strong analytical thinking abilities
    • Flexibility and adaptability
    • Take initiative and be self-motivated
    • Work well with others and have strong interpersonal abilities
    • Good judgment and decision-making skills
    • Excellent written and oral communication skills
    • Strong interpersonal skills

What experiences/characteristics do agencies look for?

FBI: Computer Science experience, a resume that emphasizes leadership and management opportunities; demonstration of a holistic, well-rounded person

DIA: Overall academic experience, demonstration of academic rigor through good grades and extracurricular involvements; Experience traveling, global perspective

CIA: Experience collecting, analyzing information; Demonstration of strong interpersonal skills; For STEM majors, demonstration of technical expertise working on projects

NSA: Examples of meaningful extracurriculars and how you have made a meaningful impact in the workplace/through your activities

Additional advice?

  • Apply for entry level jobs. Waiting does not help in the long run; let the agencies pay for you to attend graduate school!
  • Be honest in your applications.
  • Be cautious of what you post on social media.

If you missed this event, never fear! You still have time to connect with these agencies through a number of opportunities over the next few weeks. Here are just a few to keep in mind: