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Advice on landing your first job at Risk Advisory

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

Companies like Risk Advisory don’t have frequent vacancies 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 for roles in our business intelligence, investigations, security and political risk practices. Other parts of the business, such as employee screening and security consulting, as well as support functions like finance and marketing, have their own specific criteria, which will be laid out clearly on the job description.

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 business intelligence, investigations, political risk or security analysis teams 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 security and political risk roles relevant subjects are political and social sciences, international relations, history, economics, security studies, regional studies and languages.
  • These subjects are also commonly studied by candidates in business intelligence and investigations, but legal qualifications are also particularly relevant, as well as business and management and wider arts subjects.

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 challenges one’s own assumptions, to be open to alternative possibilities and ideas, attention to detail and facts, and an ability to grasp complex issues.

  • 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 to corporate records.

  • 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.

Work experience

While it is certainly true that prior experience in our sector is advantageous, we do not view having undertaken an internship as an essential 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 are seeking 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 includes journalism, think tanks, non-governmental organisations, the law, charity work, consultancy, academia and research positions, the civil services, 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.  

When you apply:

  • Read the application instructions carefully and follow them precisely.
  • Make sure your CV is relevant and prepared specifically for the role you to which you are applying. You are competing against others who will make that kind of effort.
  • Keep your CV short and tailored  to the job for which you are applying.
  • Remember that cover letters provide an opportunity for you to sell yourself and give us a glimpse of who you are.

What to expect during selection

It will be a multistage process, which will vary a little from role to role. Increasingly we use the Shortlister 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. Any entry-level roles will be advertised on our website. These typically break down into three categories:

  • Paid internships, which are either full-time or part-time time-limited roles, which normally last from a few weeks to a few months and are created as need arises.
  • Our Intelligence and Analysis practice has a number of London-based Junior Research Analyst (JRA) positions, which are paid, temporary, part-time roles. We offer a limited number of spaces and recruit around a dozen people to our JRA programme each year.
  • We have a number of apprenticeships in some of our support functions in the UK (e.g. IT and marketing) and are evaluating whether graduate-equivalent apprenticeships may be suited to other roles. Like all other vacancies, these will be posted on our website.

If you are interested in working for Risk Advisory, 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.

Further information

Ben Kinley from Lawson Chase has published a couple of articles on LinkedIn that cover the subject of how to get a foothold in our industry that you may find useful.