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Where to start

For security and intelligence work put aside all the images you have of James Bond! Look at the websites of the main recruiters to see their main entry routes. They are much more open and straightforward about their recruitment than they used to be. This description of an intelligence analyst’s role offers a good example.



How to know if you’re suited to this sector

Are you keen to work for the public good, but don’t require social validation for doing so? You will often be working on issues that will hit the national and international press and make a real difference but will not get public credit for it. You may well be at important meetings at the Foreign Office/Whitehall but will need to keep this to yourself.

You will need to be a UK national.

How to get the experience to be credible

Security and intelligence agencies often require specific skills, particularly high-level computing and coding, and languages including Russian, Mandarin, Farsi, and Arabic. You should also gain experiences that will help you to meet their competency requirements.

You will need to be curious about world affairs, and be able to demonstrate a public-centred personal ethos.

Further study or certification required

Not usually required.

How to find employers or training courses

 GCHQ, MI5, and MI6 are the main UK security and intelligence organisations

Tips for succeeding in the application or selection process

As with any other job or graduate scheme, ensure that you demonstrate the competencies for the job in your application documents and interviews, citing clear evidence.

Security vetting is sometimes required. The Security Services don’t mind if you have been a bit wild as student. They just want you to be completely open and honest with them so they can protect you - and for you to be a bit less wild once you start working for them.

The secrets of getting a graduate job with MI5, MI6 or GCHQ from the targetjobs editorial team

What Cambridge offers to help with this career

Several events, including the GCHQ Language Talent presentation, can also be found via the ‘events’ page on Handshake

Other things you should know

You can book an appointment to have a Careers Adviser check your application for these kinds of jobs in the normal way.

What to do next

Now you have looked at this page, think about your next steps. Everyone's journey is different. There are many ways to move forward. Here are some actions you could take now: