How to Become a Spy - Our Guide
“You got your black hat?” He said
“Super cool handheld pistol?”
Now, most people would think this is all we need to become a professional spy. Take this, add a black suit and a magnifying glass, which you will rarely actually use, and BINGO – you’ve ticked everything you need to become a spy.
Of course, this isn’t how spies work. We have an image of the kind of role a spy would perform daily without our heads, mostly thanks to the endless Netflix movies and tv programs based around the idea.
We all see these kinds of programs, frequently asking ourselves what kind of role these guys might play in the real world. Is it true that there are people employed by the government to avoid laser-booby-traps and use gadgets with all the latest super cool tech features in them?
The truth is, yes and no. Of course, spies play a considerable role in any countries intelligence services, but the ideas that we may have of them, or the roles they play on a day-to-day basis, are very different from what we might expect. That’s why today’s article is going to break down, in as simple terms as possible, how to become a professional spy. We will examine the necessary qualifications and pieces of training that professional spies will undergo across all parts of the world and even outline some tips on how you can begin a journey to becoming a professional spy.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a complete insight into how to begin your career as a professional spy. You’ll be equipped with everything you need to know and already be a step ahead of any other man or woman with hopes and dreams of being a professional spy.
Here at Spy A Lot.com, we eat, sleep and breathe spies. We love the adrenaline rush and satisfaction we get from uncovering the truth and bringing justice to the people who deserve it most. Are you ready to jump right into what makes a professional spy in different countries around the world?
Let’s get right into it!
How to become a professional spy in the UK
I bet that just as you read that sentence. That those nine words triggered images and clips in your head of driving the most expensive range of Aston Martins, owning laser gadgets in your back pocket, and drinking the most elegant martinis in a perfectly tailored suit. Right? Of course, the UK is often the country most associated with spies and intelligence services. Rightly so, too, the MI5 and MI6 were first founded in 1909 and have played a central role in the protection of western security during both world wars.
So when you think about how you could join such a prestigious organization, you’ve probably got images of fighting off a Kung Fu Master on a remote mountain in the middle of Tibet or catching a hair from an extinct unicorn breed. But you can breathe a sigh of relief because the process is a lot simpler. All you have to do is this:
Open up your internet browser. And are you ready for the next step? Are you sure? You might want to take a break before you read this next bit. Okay, this may seem rather intense, but here’s what you have to do…
Yes. Really. That’s all there is to it! It’s as simple as that.
After you apply, you will for through a full vetting process. And this might take quite a bit of time. It’s only to ensure that you haven’t been up to no good before you apply, just to make sure that you keep in line with the law, and you should make it through this section of the process without any significant problems at all.
Now, of course, thanks to the sensitive nature of this kind of role, there are some special requirements that you have to meet. The first of which is to be a British citizen. It doesn’t matter whether you were born British or if you gained citizenship later in life. Next, you have to be older than 18 (sorry to all our young Brits reading – but later in life, you can apply!) You also have to have been living in the UK for ten years, and lastly, you’ll endure a rigorous security background check.
Okay, okay, so now you must be thinking that they’ll be looking for some of the brightest Oxbridge graduates or someone fresh out of a highly ranked corporate role in the City. But in reality, that’s not the case! As long as you e got the right set of skills, then you’ll be the perfect candidate going forward for the role. The MI5 look for a range of backgrounds in their work, which leads to more significant working styles and diversity in the organization!
How to become a professional Spy in France, Germany, or Europe
So if you aren’t a British citizen and would prefer to train as a professional spy in one of their neighbors across the channel, then this section is for you. OK, so at the moment, there is no standard European intelligence agency. However, there is a European Strategy Intelligence and Security Centre (I know – try saying that one ten times fast!), where interns can get an insight into many sources of crime and intelligence while getting some hands-on experience of being a professional spy right at the heart of Europe.
The idea of an unionized Intelligence service may arrive in the future. France is for the concept, but Germany is against it, so for the moment, we’ll just have to contend with individual intelligence organizations. The most prominent intelligence organization in France is known as Groupe d’intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale. Most of the training that they are taken through is very intense and hands-on. They understand fully that no intelligence agency can eliminate all threats and blind spots.
So in terms of joining, first off, you’ll have to get your French citizenship. After living, working, and paying taxes there for five years, you will go through the application process. But on top of that, you’re going to need some kind of military or police experience before you can apply to join the GIGN. As well as this, there are several physical test requirements to be met, including performing 300 sit-ups and a 100m swim within two minutes. It’s also worth noting that you have to be at least 34 years old to enlist for application.
If you’d instead work for their Eastern neighbors, Germany, then you’ll want to be working for the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz. They are welcome to visitors and make clear their focus on terror and extremism in a domestic context. On the website, you will discover information about the fields of work, roles, and a little more about the organization’s history.
To apply to work with them, all you have to do is click on the link for job vacancies and see if you fit any of the roles available! Its academy is located deep into the countryside of Bonn. In an area, which, oddly, offers no Google Street view. Make use of that information as you wish!
How to become a professional spy in China
OK – so becoming a spy in China is slightly different from some of the other recruitment methods we have seen in western countries so far. China’s model of recruitment is a lot more similar to the Soviet KGB style. Its spy pool is extended far beyond regular applicants and contains ordinary business people, diplomats, professionals, and even journalists who collate information to send back to their HQ.
Almost anyone can be of use to the MSS, but schooling is still required. There are approximately eight national intelligence offices around the country. So before you start imagining swift kicks and combat training, you should come to terms with that this job is a lot more about homework rather than physical, stereotypical spy roles. Instead of this, the Chinese model (like those of the western nations) places a lot more emphasis on in-depth data analysis and arriving at conclusions based on this kind of evidence presented.
This means that for any newcomers, you will be faced with intense training in law, business management, and computer science before you can begin any kind of exciting intelligence work. Sounds a tiny bit suspicious, does it? Well, a Chinese intelligence spokesperson claims, “We are just providing the correct skills for our requirements,” before going on to claim that the West has “nothing to be worried about.” Sounds a little bit fishy, right?
But it wouldn’t be right for us to conclude this section of the article without guiding you through some of the rigorous Chinese methods for illegal, foreign recruitment. Just because they’re irresistibly exciting! The first step of this recruitment process is known as ‘spotting.’ A ‘spotter’ is simply someone who identifies potential targets to recruit. They will locate prospects then hand them off to another officer to take the next step.
The next step is assessing the prospect and luring them to join. Professionals use the MICE acronym to describe the methods of persuasion: money, ideology, coercion, or ego. One of these four methods is often what encourages people to become a spy. The next step is known as developing, as developing a rapport with the prospect by asking small favors and questions on the subject of defense. Eventually, this rapport will spiral out of control, according to FBI agents. The next step of the process is recruitment and handling. This is the final and often most delicate stage of managing the relationship with the spy, and was most of them would break down.
Pretty impressive, huh?
How to Become a Professional Spy in Israel
So if you’re wondering how to become a spy in Israel, then this section is for you. Should you decide to work in the premier league of international spy agencies, then the Mossad, based in Israel, is where you should be working. If you head over to their website, you will immediately notice that they are both welcoming and friendly towards all of their applicants. They even go as far as to claim that all applicants, regardless of nationality, occupation, or religion, can take part in a role that can make a difference in protecting their country.
Historically, most of the recruits from the Mossad have come from the Israeli army. But now, that has changed. All you have to do is head over to the job application section of their website and fill out the CV questionnaire, which asks about your details and professional history so far. It’s worth noting that Mossad agents today live relentless lives. From gathering information on Nazi war criminals to monitoring the tense situation in the Middle East, the Katsa is not the sort of people to be messed with. Astonishingly, only approximately 50 of them are positioned in the Middle East and Europe.
Should you make it through their ruthless assessment stage, you are likely to be directed to Midrasha, a town near Herzliya. You’ll spend time completing physical and psychological tests. Then you master a range of tradecraft skills before you are finally ready to do it all for real. It is certainly not for the faint-hearted, but well worth it in the end.
How to become a professional Spy in the United States
Now, this is probably the bit that most of you have been looking for. Let’s get right into it! The CIA has two exact and strict rules in joining the agency as a spy. First of all, don’t tell anyone that you’re applying to become a spy. Secondly, don’t forget the first rule! This set of guidelines (although tongue in cheek) essentially sums up the attitude you need to have if you would like to work for the government as a spy. Do not tell anyone, even your parents or best friend!
So when it comes to training, there are few basic requirements that you will have to pass. First of all, you have to be 18 or over. Secondly, you have to be free of drugs for at least 12 months, and lastly, you have to be from either a scientific, engineering, or some kind of business background. On top of this, it may be useful to know one or more foreign languages at a fluent level. After this, you will go through a rigorous training assessment in Langlee, Virginia.
Now, this kind of training is on another level of intensity. You will be exhausted, exhausted, sleep-deprived, and forced to focus right in the face of danger. There is a range of training programs based on firearm handling, with more ‘clandestine’ training sessions, which last up to a year. Now there isn’t a lot of information available for what happens after this. Still, you are sent overseas for what is known as an ‘unstructured operation’; all we can be sure of is that it will be intense and very exciting.
Now for a moment, let’s talk about the FBI, the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Joining the FBI is also a lengthy process. It consists of an online application, followed by multiple tests. Should you be lucky enough to pass one of these tests, you will be directed to Phase 2. Phase 2 is essentially an in-person interview and another written test. If you give this phase, you will receive a letter of appointment.
Now once you do get this golden letter of appointment, your work isn’t done yet. You’re going to have to pass some more tests before you are officially hired. You will have to give a special agent fitness test, measuring the maximum number of push-ups and sit-ups you can do within one minute while also measuring how fast you can run a 300m sprint and 1.5-mile run. There is a scoring system for these kinds of tests. Once you score enough points, you will undergo background checks and a medical exam to check your hearing and vision.
Now, there is only one step left in the process. You’ll undergo a stringent 20-week training regimen, with concludes nearly 1000 hours of training on firearms, academic and operational skills. Once you pass another physical exam, you will officially be an FBI agent.
Just remember – you can’t tell anyone, though!
Some more advice on how to become a professional spy
Well, folks, that’s it. Above is all the necessary inflation that you will need to go on out and fulfill your dream of becoming a professional spy and answers the burning question of “How do I become a spy”. You will have to keep in mind, however, that these roles can be extremely competitive, and you will need to give it your all if you would ever like to fulfill them – especially in the United States.
So having said that, this last section will be a compilation of some top tips and tricks to ensure that you stand the very best chance of becoming a professional spy.
“How do I become a professional spy” – some top tips
So first thing, and perhaps the most obvious to remember, is don’t get into trouble with the law. If you have any criminal record, it may well end up on your application and will thus severely harm your chances. Secondly, and also linked to the first point, is don’t do drugs. All applicants will be tested for drugs at one stage or another. There is a zero-tolerance approach to drugs. Keep in mind that most intelligence offices around the world will expect their candidates to go to university and thus to have a degree on their application. Additionally, be prepared to travel all around the world if needed. There are spy roles available without travel, but not many, making them even more competitive.
Keep in mind, however, that the CIA, FBI, MI6, and many other global intelligence offices hire people in many roles. Including data analytics, computer science, law, and translation. They may not be as glamorous, but still just as vital in protecting national security.
So when you finally dare to send off your application, here are some of the things that may help you.
Firstly, it may not be a bad idea to learn a foreign language. Ideally, that of your countries main enemy. Alternatively, an obscure language would help you stand out from the competition. You’ll also need to keep in good shape, so having some sports on your CV won’t look bad. You’re also going to have to show you can work long hours. Being a spy involves plenty of life or death situations. This means that sometimes you won’t leave the office until a critical case is resolved.
On top of that, if you have ever run into trouble with the law in the past. It’s best not to hide it, because one way or another, they will find out eventually. Doing so will only make you look untrustworthy and unreliable. Lastly, as much as you can, keep yourself out of financial trouble. Don’t go into too much debt, as it may indicate irresponsibility.
Wrapping it up
So, in conclusion, then, the steps outlined above on how to become a professional spy are invaluable and transferable across all countries. Whether it be the US, China, Europe, or anywhere in the Middle East, these tricks should help you rise to the top and give you a good base point for beginning your journey to working as a professional spy.
Just keep in mind that the most important thing is that you never give up. On your journey to becoming a spy, you will come across set-backs and disappointments. The most important thing is to get back onto your feet as quickly as possible and prove that you are willing to do anything to make this dream become a reality.
We hope you have found this piece meaningful, entertaining, and useful.
Thank you for reading!