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Advice on landing your first job at Dragonfly

We understand that breaking into security and political risk intelligence and analysis is challenging and highly competitive.

We don’t recruit often and there is always a large number of applicants competing for each position. There are no industry-specific qualifications, and the backgrounds of the people who work in our sector are quite varied. 

Each company has its own requirements and approaches to recruitment, but we’ve put together a few tips to help you with future applications with us across different roles.  

All of our current vacancies are posted on our vacancies page. We do not accept speculative or work experience applications or CVs posted to other web forms or general email addresses. We get a lot of these but are unable to respond to them and they are routinely deleted.

Qualifications

The minimum qualification for a role in our intelligence and analysis team is a 2:1 or equivalent undergraduate degree from a leading university in a relevant subject. A first class or equivalent grade at undergraduate and/or a postgraduate degree from a leading university in a relevant subject is a significant advantage. For analytical roles, relevant subjects are political and social sciences, international relations, history, economics, security studies, regional studies and languages.

Skills and aptitudes

We place significant emphasis on high quality written English skills. We generally advise that recent graduates and postgraduates look to improve their written style to a highly professional standard.

Analysis requires certain skills and aptitudes, including an enquiring and curious mind, the ability to challenge one’s own assumptions, to be open to alternative possibilities and ideas, attention to detail and facts, and an ability to grasp complex issues, and the ability to communicate clearly and engage with others. 

Research skills are essential to all of our roles. This includes understanding how to assess source reliability and validate information, process and collate large volumes of information, sift out what is irrelevant, and collect data from a range of sources ranging from polls to social media, and human source reports to detailed primary source material. 

Fluent to native level foreign language skills put applicants at a distinct advantage. For research and analysis roles with a regional emphasis they are essential. Data analytics, scripting and modelling skills are also highly advantageous.

Work experience

Prior experience in our sector is advantageous, but we do not view having undertaken an internship as a prerequisite for employment. Not everyone can afford to undertake unpaid work experience and we recognise that.

When we select candidates at graduate or postgraduate level, we look at their academic records but also what they have done with their time, and how they have equipped themselves for taking up a position as an analyst. We look for evidence of being a team player with a strong work ethic, maturity and wider life skills.

We seek self-motivated, knowledgeable and enthusiastic people, with a flair for writing and research, and sharp analytical minds capable of original and creative thought. We also seek people that can demonstrate they can be successful in a commercial environment, thrive under pressure, work with clients, have strong interpersonal skills, and endlessly strive for and deliver excellence.

Advantageous prior work experience is therefore wide-ranging: it can typically include working in journalism, think tanks, non-governmental organisations, charity work, consultancy, academia, government, and business to business commercial experience.

Tips for applying

When we make first round selection for initial interviews, we only have your CV and cover letter to go on. We look for candidates who demonstrate the skills and aptitudes laid out in the job description, and what other experience or personal qualities that seem relevant and interesting, all as succinctly as possible.

When you apply:

  • Read the application instructions carefully and follow them precisely.

  • Make sure your CV is relevant and prepared specifically for the role to which you are applying. You are competing against others who will have.

  • Keep your CV short and tailored to the job for which you are applying.

  • Remember that cover letters provide the first opportunity for you to sell yourself and give us a glimpse of who you are.

What to expect during selection

If you are successful in passing first-round screening, you can expect a multi-stage selection process. This will vary from role to role. Increasingly we use a video interviewing system for the first round, followed by a face-to-face interview. There may be second or third round interviews, and in most cases there will be some written tests, either under controlled conditions or in your own time.

We use interview techniques that focus on competencies. These typically involve asking for examples of past experience to demonstrate competencies, as well as questions in which the competency is integral to the answer. Be prepared to give answers that prove where your competencies lie.

Entry level opportunities

We do not offer unpaid internship or work experience opportunities. 

Instead, our Junior Research Analyst (JRA) positions are paid, temporary, full-time, entry-level roles that provide a unique opportunity and gain practical experience and skills. JRAs work directly within the team and play an active role to its success, and are included in our training programmes  We offer a limited number of spaces on our JRA programme each year. 

If you are interested in working for Dragonfly please check back on our careers channel for when we are recruiting. You can also follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to get notifications of new vacancies.