Want to apply for a job at the CIA? The following videos will help guide you through the application process. When you are ready to begin, please browse our available jobs to find a position of interest. If you’ve already started an application, you can go straight to the application center to continue.
Applying to CIA: Introduction
Welcome, and thank you for exploring the outstanding career opportunities available at the Central Intelligence Agency – where you can truly make a difference.
These videos are intended to help you successfully complete the application process. It could lead to a career that will place you at the forefront of your discipline.
Please note, the overall hiring process, from application to the day you start working at the CIA, could take a year or more. Selecting the people behind the center of intelligence is an important process, and we appreciate your patience.
You must be a US citizen. Do not apply if you are not physically in the US or its territories.
Work at the CIA requires relocation to the Washington, DC metro area. All positions are located in this area and some require overseas travel.
For your security, we ask that you do not follow us on social media. Also, please use discretion when talking with friends and family about applying to the CIA. You will receive further guidance on this topic as you proceed through your CIA employment processing.
Use these videos to learn about what to do before you apply, how to apply and what happens after you apply. Let’s get started by finding out what you need to do before you apply in Video 1.
Before you Apply
Are you thinking seriously about applying for a job at the CIA? You are making an important choice for yourself and the entire nation. But before you go any further, please realize that the CIA has specific requirements that you must meet to be considered for employment.
You must be a US citizen to work at the CIA. If you are in the process of becoming a US citizen, you may apply as soon as you are awarded citizenship, but not before.
Second, you must be physically in the US to apply. If you are presently outside of the US or its territories, do not apply or contact the CIA by phone. This will ensure the safety and security of your application and the classified nature of our work. You can apply once you are back in the US.
You must not have used illegal drugs or misused prescription drugs within the last 12 months prior to submitting an application. However, if you were a recreational drug user in the past, this may not disqualify you. Despite the legalization of marijuana under state law, federal statute specifically prohibits CIA and other agencies from granting security clearances to users of controlled substances,including marijuana.
CIA employees are guided by integrity, service, excellence, courage, teamwork and stewardship. You will be entrusted to uphold the highest standards of conduct. Finally, for any employment, including internships and co-ops, you will be required to undergo a comprehensive security clearance investigation, including: a background investigation, where we will interview neighbors, friends, supervisors, and coworkers; a medical examination; and a polygraph examination.
The Careers and Internships section of the cia.gov website contains a lot of information to guide you through job search and application. Within this section, you can use our job fit tool to match your qualifications and interest to specific job requirements. Simply answer the questions and a list of jobs will be displayed for you to explore. You can also review the jobs by career area and title in the Career Opportunities section.
When you find a job that interests you and matches your skills, make note of the requirements for that job so you are prepared. Now add the job to your job cart. You can add up to four jobs to your job cart. Make sure you only add the job or jobs for which you’re qualified. Next select View Cart and make sure all the jobs you wish to apply for are in the cart. If you are ready, press Apply Now and you will be taken to the Career Application Center to complete the online application. Be sure to hit Apply Now before you close your browser. Your job cart will empty when your browser closes. If you are not ready to apply, be sure to make note of the positions you are interested in for future reference.
Once you create an account and begin the application, you only have three calendar days to complete the entire process. So, make sure you have read the job requirements, gathered all the information that’s needed, and have it ready to cut and paste into the application. For the Application for Employment section, you will need the following information: Basic background information, your areas of expertise, work history, education certifications and licenses, foreign area knowledge, foreign language proficiency levels, military experience, preferences, other documents as required, such as transcripts and writing samples.
After you’ve completed the Application for Employment section, you’ll move on to the Personnel Evaluation Form. The Personnel Evaluation Form will request information about the following: Security clearance Polygraph examination, Background investigation, Military discharge and disciplinary proceedings, Selective service enrollment, Employment issues, Drug use and activity, Violations of law and criminal convictions, Delinquent federal debt, Peace Corps employment.
The last section is Equal Employment Opportunity information – which is voluntary. You can choose to answer or not answer EEO questions. Details about completing the application are discussed in Video 2: How To Apply.
How To Apply
Once you have gathered all the necessary information and filled your job cart, you are ready to apply. First, you need to create your employment account in the Career Application Center. Make sure you read and agree to the consent agreement. You cannot proceed with the application unless you agree to the terms of the consent forms. After you have filled in all of the requested information you will receive a user ID. You will then be asked to create an account password. Make sure you write both down. This will allow you to easily return to the online application and will serve as a reference in all future activities. Remember; write down your user ID and password and save them in a safe place. You will have up to three calendar days to complete your application. Time starts once you create your account.
After three days, you will no longer have access to your application. Prepare ahead of time so you can get it all done within three calendar days. Review your jobs to make sure they are still within your job cart – and that you’re qualified for those jobs. If not, you can add, delete or select different positions by using the job search function.
For the Application for Employment section, you will need the following information: Basic background information, Your areas of expertise, Work history, Education, Certifications and licenses, Foreign area knowledge, Foreign language proficiency levels, Military experience, Preferences, Other documents as required, such as transcripts and writing samples.
Next, you’ll move on to the Personnel Evaluation Form. The Personnel Evaluation Form will request information about: Security clearance, Polygraph examination, Background investigation, Military discharge and disciplinary proceedings, Selective service enrollment, Employment issues, Drug use and activity, Violations of law and criminal convictions, Delinquent federal debt, Peace Corps employment.
Last, is the Equal Employment Opportunity form – which is voluntary. You can choose to answer or not answer EEO questions. Truthfulness and candor are very important in all information you provide. Prepare and make sure that everything you provide is accurate and complete. The Career Application Center has strong security measures in place because of the nature of the CIA’s work. So please pay attention to the guidance in this next section to manage your application properly.
Once you have completed the entire package, save and/or print your forms. As you move through the hiring process, you may need to refer back to these forms.
You are now ready for the final section of the application. This section requires you to enter your personal information. You will also have the opportunity to upload your resume and any supporting documents – like transcripts and writing samples. Does the position to which you are applying require these supporting documents? Take this time before submitting your application to review the position description to be sure you’ve attached all required documents. Attachments not included with your application may prevent you from being considered for employment at CIA.
Your application package is now complete and ready to be submitted for review by CIA recruiters. Upon successful submission of the application package, a confirmation message will appear on your screen, but you are not done yet.
Within two business days of submitting your application package, you will receive a confirmation message in your account on the Career Application Center. You must log back in to your account to confirm that your application package was successfully received. If it was not received successfully, please resubmit. If it was successful, do not submit again. After you have confirmed, your account will be deleted, and you will no longer be able to access your application.
It is important that you DO NOT submit multiple applications or apply for jobs that you are not qualified for; this will only slow the review of your application and delay processing. That’s it. You’re done – except for preparing yourself for what’s next, which will be discussed in Video 3.
After you Apply
Congratulations – if you did everything right, your application has been submitted. In the previous video, we told you about the last steps needed to complete your application.
Let’s review those steps again before we move on to the final steps in the application process. Within two business days of submitting your application package, you will receive a confirmation message in your account in our application system. Log back in to check its status and if it was not received successfully please resubmit. If it was successful, do not submit again. After you have confirmed, your account will be deleted and you will no longer be able to access your application. DO NOT submit multiple applications; this will only slow the review of your application, and delay processing. While you’re waiting to hear back, continue to learn about the Agency and its mission. If there is interest in your application, CIA will contact you within approximately 45 days. Do not call the CIA. A CIA recruiter will contact you by phone, postal mail or email with a .gov extension. Please check your spam folder to ensure receipt of these emails.
If you are not accepted, you can reapply after one year’s time. If you are asked to move forward in the process, the next steps could include testing, informational events, phone screenings, or live interviews. If you are found to be competitive, you will be contacted with information about your interview location. The live interview may take place at a secure site and no phones or electronic devices will be allowed in the facility. You must present a valid ID. For more information, review the Real ID Act on the cia.gov/careers Application Instructions page, which discusses approved forms of identification accepted by the Federal Government. You will participate in online aptitude and personality assessment tests. More details will be given to you by your CIA recruiter.
So remember: Do your research.Be prepared. Be yourself. And most importantly, be 100% truthful. Think of this process as the first step in building a bridge of trust between you and the Agency. Candor is an essential ingredient in the establishment of that trust. For your security, we ask that you do not follow us on social media and use discretion when discussing with your friends or family that you have applied. And there you have it. This is your chance to show the CIA that you are qualified for the work of a nation at the center of intelligence.