Q: Dear Ms. Hale,
As a little girl, I dreamed of being in the CIA but never thought it was actually possible. What advice do you have for youth who would like to learn more about serving their country? Thank you!
~ Seeking to Serve
A: Dear Seeking to Serve,
It always makes me smile when I get letters from young people throughout the United States who have a passion for public service. There are tons of different ways you can serve your country ‚Äì like the military, community service, law enforcement, paramedics, education, infrastructure, and social services, among others ‚Äì and of course, coming to work for us!
I know it sounds generic, but to work at the CIA, there’s no “right” college major, background, or even skillset. We’re a very diverse workplace, both in terms of the types of jobs we staff as well as the people we hire.
The best advice I can give is to do well in what you’re interested in: whether that be science, computers, history, law, medicine, art, literature, mechanics, or something else, and get good grades in school.
Most careers here require at least a college degree.
Other than that, learn as much as you can about the Agency and the different types of jobs we have. Go to career fairs, talk with Agency recruiters and former officers if you get the opportunity, ask a lot of questions, and do a lot of research.
A good place to start learning about the Agency is CIA.gov. There’s lots of great information hidden in the nooks and crannies of our site. Poke around and see what you can find.
Of course, the careers section is a must-visit for anyone interested in working here. (We have an entire area dedicated to student opportunities, which has a lot of great information). I’d also recommend checking out our “Day in the Life” series. Agency employees, and even some student interns, share their experiences and usually provide some good advice. Here’s a few to get your started:
- A Day in the Life of a CIA Cyber Operations Officer
- A Day in the Life of a CIA STEM Scholarship Student
- A Day in the Life of a CIA Leadership Analyst Intern
- Using Foreign Languages at CIA
- A Day in the Life of a Field Utility Systems Specialist
- A Day in the Life of an Environmental Safety Officer
- A Day in the Life of a CIA Cartographer
- A Day in the Life of a CIA Scholarship Recipient
Hopefully that’s helpful! Whatever you decide to do, I think it’s wonderful you want to serve your country. I wish you luck in all your future endeavors.