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How to Get a Job With the FBI or CIA

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Steve Woods at

Jobs with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are highly competitive. In fact, the FBI and the CIA each receive more than 10,000 to 15,000 resumes every month for a limited pool of jobs. As you would expect, the competition for a job will be fierce. If you decide to apply for a job with the FBI or CIA, be sure to give yourself plenty of time. If either of these agencies are interested in you, the application process can take up to a year, so be prepared to wait.

Ensure you meet the general eligibility requirements before you begin the lengthy application process. You must not have used illegal drugs at any point in the last 12 months and you should be prepared to undergo background checks and polygraphs. If there is anything in your background that may raise a red flag, such as a criminal history, it may not be worth starting the lengthy job process with the CIA.

Visit the CIA's career website and click "View all Jobs." The CIA recommends that you submit your resume for a specific job position. The list of jobs that are currently open will be displayed. Click on the job title that interests you and ensure you meet the job requirements.

Click "Submit resume online" at the end of the job description. The website will prompt you to answer several questions about your citizenship, social security number and personal information. There will also be spaces where you should provide information on your educational background, work history, languages and overseas or military experience. Click "I agree" at the end of the form and submit the form.

Be patient as you wait for a response from the CIA. If they are interested in your qualifications, a CIA recruiter will contact you by phone or email within 45 days. If you do not receive a response within this time frame, the CIA is not currently interested in you. However, your resume will be active in the CIA system for one year.

Return to the website and submit your resume again after one year if you are still interested in CIA employment. This will make your application active for another year. It may be worthwhile to make your resume more attractive by studying a new language or pursuing additional education while you wait for a response.

Determine your eligibility for employment with the FBI. You will not be considered for employment if you have been convicted of a felony, used any illegal drugs--except for marijuana--in the last 10 years, used marijuana in the last 3 years, defaulted on a student loan offered by the government, failed a drug test or neglected to register for the Selective Service if you are a male.

Visit to search for open positions with the FBI. Beginning February 13, 2009, the FBI will be using the USA Jobs system to recruit applicants and it will no longer be accepting applications through its website.

Click on "Search jobs" on the website, and then click on "Agency search." Enter FBI in the agency name field and select your desired location before clicking "Search."

When you find a job that interests you, click on "Apply Now" in the job announcement. You will need to create a free account with the website, which involves entering in your basic personal information and choosing a user name and password.

Create a resume on the USA Jobs website by following the prompts. This is required before you can apply for any position with the FBI. Be prepared to submit information on your education, work history and special skills or qualifications that make you a good fit for employment with the FBI.

Submit the resume for the job announcement you located in Step 4, by following the prompts after you complete the resume. You will have a chance to review your resume before clicking the final "Submit" button that will transmit your application to the FBI. You will receive a confirmation email that your resume has been submitted.

Wait for a response. If the FBI is interested, you will receive notification by phone or email to complete the initial interview process. You may also be asked to submit additional information on your work history or qualifications. You can apply for more than one position at one time, so continue to search the USA Jobs site to see if any new job opportunities have been posted.


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