A few weeks ago we wrote about how it’s never too late to make your childhood dream job a reality and it got us thinking, how do you actually make it into that crazy childhood dream occupation? We thought we’d do a series of posts all about how to get into those careers that your seven-year old self was desperate to do.

First up, we thought we’d help out all you James Bond wannabes. Here’s how to go about becoming an international spy.

The advice from the MI6 website says that before even applying there are a number of criteria you must meet. These are being a British citizen, over the age of 21, passing medical and drugs tests, and passing a security clearance. 

It’s also worth bearing in mind that the security service values academic achievement and is looking for people with a 2:1 degree or higher, although they don’t mind in what subject or from which university.

What kind of person is MI6 looking for?
MI6 needs people with different skills, experience and backgrounds to work in the UK and abroad. But there are some key qualities that they expect all employees to share: integrity, team spirit, innovation, and a drive to make a difference. And most importantly, a commitment to protecting the UK from threats ranging from terrorism to regional instability.

The good news is MI6 advertises its vacancies on its website: it’s not quite as secretive as it once was. You don’t have to wait for a man in a nice suit to tap you on the shoulder. That said, you won’t be allowed to tell anyone about your application so if you can’t keep a secret maybe MI6 isn’t for you.

It isn’t necessarily a straighforward job application however – there’s a lengthy process to join MI6 as an intelligence officer. First there’s a short details form and then you’ll be emailed a verbal reasoning test. If you’ve not come across these before they can be a bit tricky so it’s probably worth trying some out online. If you pass the test, then you’ll receive an application form.

Then there’s that annoying wait to find out if you’ve got an interview – like there is with every job. But, if you do pass the tests and they like the look of your application, you’ll be invited to an interview in London where you’ll be tested to see if you have the skills they’re looking for. Oh, and it might be worth doing some politics homework, as you’ll almost certainly be asked about global political developments.

If you pass this, you’ll be invited back about a month later for another interview, this time with an experienced intelligence officer – a real life spy! This is where you’ll have an opportunity to ask any questions you might have about working for MI6 and you might even be allowed to know some of the answers.

A two day assessment is the next stage if you get through the second interview. Here you’ll get to play at being a spy for a day – ok, they probably won’t quite phrase it quite like that but you will face a variety of hypothetical scenarios similar to those faced by MI6 intelligence officers to see how you would deal with things in the field.

If you make it through the assessment you’ll get through to the final part of recruitment, which is the security clearance and medical clearance. Oh and MI6 will also contact your referees (and pretend to be someone else, we assume).

And then, if you pass all of that (and well done you, if you do!) you’ll be offered a job. As a real life spy. Congratulations!


Didn’t want to be a spy when you were little? What was your dream job? Let us know and we’ll find out how you could achieve it. Drop us a comment below, tweet us @GoThinkBig or let us know on Facebook.