Law + Government

Serve the Public Good

icon of justice scales for careers in law + government

Are you driven to improve your community? You’re not alone.

The numbers don’t lie when it comes to the amount of people who work in areas of Law + Government. Over 22 million people, or 16.7% of the U.S. workforce, work in federal, state, and local governments, over 1.3 million lawyers practice within the United States, and close to 300,000 individuals work as paralegals or legal assistants. 

With so many people working together to build society at its core, opportunities are prime for Gauchos looking to make a difference. Careers in Law + Government share some similarities and a few key differences--learn how you can join the movement of public servants and prepare yourself for a successful future.



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Get Hired: FBI and CIA

For complete information on job search strategies, resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn, interviews, and more, review our starter tips to Get Hired in all careers as well as the specialized tips on this page.

General Planning

Whether you are applying within the FBI or CIA, it is important to begin planning in advance. The hiring process can take at least one year in total, and both agencies perform extensive background checks that include mental health assessments, physical medical exams, criminal history, drug history, drug tests, interviews with those who know you, and more.

Keep in mind that drug policies are very strict for these recruitment processes. The FBI will deny your application if you have consumed marijuana within the last three years, or consumed any illegal drugs besides marijuana within the last ten years. The CIA requires you abstain from illegal drugs (including marijuana) within the last year before your application will be reviewed.

Similar to the unique variances between drug policies, be sure to also review the unique qualifications and application processes for each agency and position. The competition for FBI or CIA positions is very high, with as many as 1,000 applications per open position, so it is important to plan in advance to be as strong of a candidate as possible. 


FBI Recruitment Process

Before you start the lengthy application process for FBI recruitment, learn about FBI Eligibility, which covers citizenship, drug use, tax returns, student loan payment default, and much more. Click below to explore more information.

The Collegiate Hiring Initiative is specifically intended for graduating seniors or recent college graduates, usually within one year of graduation. Career paths for this program include operational support, computer science, data analysis, forensic accounting, budget analysis, personnel security, human resources, and more.

The application opens the August prior to the upcoming program year.

Special Agents is a career path outside of the Collegiate Hiring Initiative that requires strict qualifications, including being between the ages of 23 and 36 years and having at least two years of full-time professional work experience.

The type of work experience required is flexible, but FBI’s Core Competencies are typically sought out through this experience. Review the Application Process for becoming a special agent, which often takes over one year to complete. 

If you want to apply directly to a position and not apply through the Collegiate Hiring Initiative, review the How to Apply page from the FBI. This website provides complete details regarding how to submit an application and prepare your documents correctly.

Take special note that a federal resume has much more detail than a traditional industry resume. You can search for a federal resume template and a federal resume guide for assistance. 

CIA Recruitment Process

When applying to the CIA, read about CIA Eligibility to make sure you are a strong candidate for the recruitment process. Some of the qualifications include that you must be physically located in the United States to apply, and you must not have consumed illegal drugs within the last 12 months. The CIA Application Process allows you to apply for up to four jobs at a time.

Preparation is key when applying for positions at the CIA. You need to have completed and submitted the application(s) within three days of beginning them or your account will be disabled. We recommend gathering all the needed information ahead of time in order to complete your application smoothly within the three days.


Civilian Employment

Some positions in the FBI and CIA require multiple years of professional, full-time experience. Within police departments, there is the option of applying for civilian employment in a wide variety of industries, not just protective services. (For an example, explore Civilian Job Classifications of the Los Angeles Police Department.) This can help you gain experience in departments that align with a number of career paths in the FBI and CIA.

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