5 Tips for Getting Hired by the NSA

NSA Hiring Tips

  • Use Discretion
  • Get a College Degree
  • Get a Security Clearance
  • Consider an Internship
  • Attend an NSA Hiring Event

If you'd like a rewarding, challenging career in the government sector, obtaining employment with the National Security Agency, or NSA, could be the answer. It is estimated that the agency currently employs anywhere from 30,000 to 40,000 people, and positions span many areas of specialization. Pick up tips for securing a job with the NSA to increase your odds of success.

1. Use Discretion

Assuming that you get to the point where you must undergo a security and background check, you won't want to worry about things that you may have posted on the Internet and social media. Therefore, lock down your public profiles, and be extremely careful about how you conduct yourself online and in general. It is far better to avoid having questionable activities out there than having to explain them during the security check process.

2. Get a College Degree

Getting hired by the NSA without a degree is virtually impossible. Of course, just any degree won't work; it needs to be in an area that is relevant to what the agency does. As an intelligence organization, the NSA hires people with many backgrounds and credentials. However, the agency overwhelmingly hires mathematicians. In fact, it has confirmed that it is the largest employer of mathematicians in the United States, so earning a math degree is a good option. Degrees in foreign languages and computer science are also very valuable to anyone who desires to be hired by this organization.

3. Get a Security Clearance

If there is any way for you to obtain a security clearance prior to applying at the NSA, make it happen. However, keep in mind that security clearances can only be obtained through current and prospective employers. In other words, private individuals can't apply for them on their own. The security clearance process is very complicated, costly and time-consuming. It can take as long as two years depending on the level of clearance that is required. The NSA requires a top secret security clearance, so you can expect the process to take up to two years.

4. Consider an Internship

Competition is fierce for jobs with the NSA. Increase your odds of being hired down the road by completing an internship with the agency. The NSA offers competitive three-year programs for those who are interested in pursuing life-long careers with the organization. These programs train professionals at all levels of skill and experience, so they are a far cry from internships for private corporations and the like. Assuming that you have the ability to support yourself, completing an internship with the NSA is an excellent way to get your foot in the door.

5. Attend an NSA Hiring Event

Although the NSA doesn't have any trouble finding suitable candidates, the agency still conducts hiring events around the country on a regular basis. The NSA strives to hire the brightest and best, and these events give them the opportunity to tap into new reserves of talent. Be on the lookout for hiring events in your area. If one rolls around, make sure to attend it. Update your resume beforehand, and have a new cover letter printed and ready to go. At the very least, you will be able to learn about job openings with the agency in your area.

Getting hired by the NSA isn't easy. Some of the most talented people in the country vie for jobs with the agency. With the right degree and other credentials, however, your odds of being hired will be better than most.

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