Especially in these times, legions of American civilians feel called to join the battle against terrorism, international and domestic. For those so motivated, there are hundreds of federal agencies and departments offering jobs in many occupational fields that contribute to the United States’ vast counterterrorism efforts. Demand for skilled professionals is high and help is available for candidates who choose to undertake the government’s exacting and exhaustive application processes.
Which agencies and departments offer these jobs?
A broad range of federal units employ civilians to battle ISIL and many other terrorist groups. Among the hiring entities: the departments of Defense, Army, and Air Force; the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit; the National Reconnaissance Office; the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency; the National Counterterrorism Center; and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
What’s the range of federal jobs in counterterrorism?
Jobs that contribute to the fight against terrorism range from guarding borders, transit terminals and critical infrastructure, to translating clandestine chatter from foreign terror cells, to using information technology to thwart cyberattacks.
Federal agencies and departments have recently announced openings for intelligence analysts, advisors for analytic tradecraft, security guards, program managers, investigations coordinators, special agents, air interdiction agents, IT specialists, and construction security project managers.
Do the FBI and CIA hire antiterror professionals?
Many FBI and CIA employees spend at least part of their time in counterterrorism activities.
In addition to special agents and intelligence analytics, “the FBI looks for more specialized skill sets to work in a variety of different programs and field offices across the country, including computer scientists and forensic accountants,” says Samantha Shero, a spokesperson for the agency. “We also seek language specialists, political scientists, and experts in international relations, among others.”
The FBI recently announced an opening for a management and program analyst in Washington, D.C., with an annual salary of $77,490 to $119,794.
The CIA employs a number of counterterrorism analysts, who assess the leadership, motivations, capabilities, plans, and intentions of foreign terrorist groups and their sponsors, according to spokesperson Jonathan Liu.
The job comes with one unexpected fringe benefit: “You will never have to talk about your work while away from the job,” Liu says.
The CIA recently posted an announcement for data scientists, paying $62,338 to $160,300 in the D.C. metro area.
Don’t these sensitive jobs require special qualifications?
Some positions have elaborate requirements for specific professional qualifications, but many don’t. A number of agencies and departments offer extensive training in their operations, which are often unique. And yes, background checks and requirements to obtain security clearances can be extensive.
As with any federal job, it’s critically important to prepare a detailed resume organized around the requirements of the open position, to use the right keywords, to demonstrate your qualifications in detail, and to follow all application instructions to the letter.
How do you submit an application?
You can apply for some counterterrorism jobs on USAJOBS, but many federal entities require that you use their own dedicated application web sites and processes.
The FBI has its own extensive application process. FBI employees are required to get a top-secret security clearance and undergo a background investigation, which includes a polygraph, drug test, and in-depth interviews with the applicant’s family, friends, colleagues and neighbors.
The CIA also has an exclusive job application procedure. Take care to note special aspects of the process; for example, when you enter your application information online, you could almost say it’s written in disappearing ink. The CIA site advises: “You have up to three days to submit your application. If you do not submit your application within three days, all previously entered information will not be saved and your account will no longer be available.”
The Resume Place can help you prepare your resume and navigate the sometimes byzantine application processes of the myriad federal departments and agencies that hire for our nation’s critical counterterrorism efforts.
Before reading Kathryn Troutman’s “Federal Resume Guidebook, 6th Edition” I submitted exactly 18 federal job applications and did not receive a single referral. After reading the book and retooling my resume, I was referred, interviewed and selected for the second job for which I applied! Wow!