Specialized Skills Officer
About the Job
As a Specialized Skills Officer (SSO) for the CIA, you will join a cadre of results oriented professionals who accept significant responsibilities and embrace accountability for results. SSOs conduct and/or directly support CIA operations by leveraging technical skills in either specialized military fields and/or experience in media, communications, marketing, advertising, issue advocacy, crisis management, or technology development. These skills and experiences often include aviation, maritime, psychological operations, civil affairs and information operations. SSOs are a distinct occupation in the Directorate of Operations (DO) and play a unique role in support of intelligence operations for U.S. policymakers, support to Covert Action programs at the direction of President of the United States, and facilitate CIA’s Covert Action infrastructure.
All DO officers are hired at an entry level and train as they are expected to work – as one team. DO officers begin their careers spending one to two years learning the foundations of clandestine operational tradecraft via classroom training, practical exercise, and on-the-job experience. You must successfully complete this required foundational training.
SSOs serve primarily at CIA Headquarters, but there are frequent opportunities for temporary duty travel and/or assignments overseas.
Our physical requirements for training are as follows:
- Operate a motor vehicle without second-party assistance in daytime and nighttime conditions;
- Traverse uneven terrain, to include climbing and descending staircases, over fixed minimum distances and in varying weather conditions;
- Work non-traditional or erratic schedules;
- Make reasoned decisions under time constraints.
Who You’ll Work With
At the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), we recognize our Nation’s strength comes from the diversity of its people. People from a broad range of backgrounds and viewpoints work at CIA, and our diverse teams are the reason we can keep our country safe.
What You’ll Get
Our benefits support every aspect of a working professional’s life, including health and wellness, time off, family, finances, and continuing education. Our programs include highly sought-after government health benefits, flexible schedules, sick leave, and childcare. In some cases, we also offer sign-on incentives and cover moving expenses if you relocate.
As a CIA employee, you’ll also get the satisfaction of knowing your work is part of something bigger than yourself. Our work is driven by one mission: to keep our Nation safe. Every day is an opportunity to enhance U.S. national security.
- Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution (applicants within one year of earning a four year degree will be considered); there is no preferred major or program of study (degrees from foreign academic institutions are accepted, but you are responsible for obtaining and providing CIA with a credential evaluation from an accredited firm confirming that the foreign degree is the equivalent of a BA/BS and/or MA/MS degree conferred by a U.S. college or university)
- At least a 3.0 GPA on a 4-point scale is preferred
- Personal integrity
- Strong interpersonal and communications skills (verbal and written)
- Action- and results-oriented
- Ability to work effectively as part of a team as well as work independently
- Flexibility, adaptability, and commitment to the mission of the CIA and the Directorate of Operations
- Ability to meet the minimum requirements for joining CIA, including U.S. citizenship and a background investigation
- Competitive Specialized Skills Officer applicants have knowledge and/or experience in any one of the following categories:
- Social media, marketing, advertising, public relations, issue advocacy, crisis communication, or technology development
- Business, finance, or legal fields
- Military psychological operations and/or civil affairs
- Merchant Marine/Commercial Maritime industries and/or military nautical experience
- Commercial and/or military diving and underwater experience
- Military aviation career fields such as:
- Pilot (fixed wing, rotary wing, manned/unmanned)
- Flight engineer
- Crew chief/mechanic
- Avionics technician
- Mission sensor operator
- Forward air controller
- Special tactics squadron
- Aviation foreign internal defense
What You’ll Need to Apply
The following items must be attached to your on-line application (PDF format preferred):
- Unofficial transcripts for all degrees
- Cover letter: please describe your knowledge, skills, abilities, and aspirations not evident from your resume, that make you a good candidate for the Directorate of Operations (1 page).
At the time of application, DO applicants select specific DO occupational specialties (i.e. Collection Management Officer, Staff Operations Officer, Operations Officer, Targeting Officer). Competitive applicants will continue to be asked to identify their DO occupational specialty preference(s) at various stages in the hiring process. It is not unusual for applicants to adjust their preference as they progress and learn more about the expectations and requirements of each occupational specialty.
In a separate PDF attachment address the following questions:
- Why does a career in public service with the CIA appeal to you?
- Why do you wish to work in the specific roles to which you are applying?
- Describe one thing from your academic, military, professional, or personal background that has prepared you for success in the CIA.
- Complete this thought: “I do my best work when…”.
- Outside of the careers to which you are applying, what other careers have you considered?
- Describe a time when you did not succeed, professionally or academically, and what you learned from that experience.