Monday, August 3, 2009

Part 6 -- Beyond Borders (How To Get A Job In Intelligence)

Part 1 -- Introduction
Part 2 -- The Intelligence Job Market From 20,000 Feet
Part 3 -- The Good News!
Part 4 -- Even Better News!
Part 5 -- Beyond The Big Three

So far, I have really only talked about intelligence and intelligence analysis positions within the US. There are actually quite a few ways to find good jobs outside the US as well. There are many reasons to take a job outside the US -- travel, cultural exposure, learning a language, etc. Some of these jobs pay quite well, many are very rewarding and almost all of them are good resume builders.

The first, and probably the easiest, way to get an overseas job is through a US agency or company. Almost all of the US national security intelligence agencies have slots for intelligence professionals overseas and I am not just speaking about covert operatives. Any number of locations (such as the Joint Analysis Center in Molesworth, England) have both civilian and military analysts. Most of these kinds of jobs can best be found through a careful search of

Companies -- and not just US companies -- also sponsor any number of jobs overseas. You can find these jobs by searching various employers' websites and some of them will get listed on the major job boards such as or A keyword to know, however, is "expatriate" (sometimes abbreviated as "expat"). The community of people who are living and working outside their home countries is quite large and the internet has helped this community become better organized. It has been some time since I left this community so I am not sure of the reputable sites out there anymore. If any reader has a lead for the rest of us, please pass it on.

  • One quick tip: Before you take any job in a foreign country with a company or organization you do not know well, touch base with your home country's embassy before you accept the offer. Not everyone is a fly-by-night operator but they do exist. I can't speak for every country's embassy employees but I know the hard working consular officers who manage US citizen services in US embassys would prefer to talk to you before you go rather than after you are in trouble.
Another oft-overlooked place for employment is the International Civil Service Commission. This is the place to look if you want a job in the United Nations system. Though not as well organized as USAjobs, this website gives links to all of the UN agencies and, yes, you have to search each site for jobs within each member agency. Remember as well that the UN doesn't do "intelligence" so what you are really looking for are intelligence-like jobs.

Also remember that the UN works on a quota system. It has an obligation to hire people from around the world so it will not allow certain jobs to get filled up with Americans and Europeans. For non-westerners, this gives you a bit of an edge if you are otherwise qualified but come from a developing country.

Other international organizations are often looking for people with analytic skills if not for "intelligence analysts" per se. Many of them have special hiring restrictions. For example, EUROPOL requires its candidates to be from the EU while INTERPOL is mostly looking for police and other officials who have been seconded by a hosting country to the organization. One good place to look for jobs with international organizations is (as already mentioned in the comments to this series) on

Next: Beyond Borders -- Europe, India and South Africa
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