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Getting into the geopolitics industry

Tips on how to get started in and advance your geopolitics career


Ive been asked by a few people on LinkedIn for advice on getting into geopolitics, OSINT, and intelligence as a career. To be honest, my OSINT skills are pretty much reduced to online research that even a monkey could do at this point, as I no longer do any real online detective work and primarily focus on geopolitical analysis/intelligence.

That being said, most of the advice in this post is applicable to getting into OSINT or other intelligence fields, just use your common sense and where you see the word “geopolitical” swap it out for OSINT or whatever niche you want to get into.

I intend for this post to be a “living document”, much like The Bible from American Pie, so if you think I’ve missed anything out in any of the sections, or that I’ve missed out a section altogether, point it out in the comments and I’ll add it in.

If you find this guide useful and would like more geopolitics content, feel free to add me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my regular geopolitics summary for free by entering your email in one of the boxes dotted around this site.

Why get into Geopolitics as a career?

The geopolitics industry is exploding at the moment. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and more recently the Israel/Gaza conflict has really made companies sit up and take notice of how much events across the globe - even in areas they don’t operate in - can affect their bottom line.

As I wrote in the article “Security: The New S in ESG?”, massive firms such as Goldman Sachs and McKinsey & Company recently asserted that every company needs a geopolitical strategy, and others are slowly beginning to build up their own geopolitical analysis departments. This means that the number of job openings for geopolitical analysts is increasing, and as the needle is shifting towards demand from supply, pay rates are becoming more competitive.

Octavius Finance, who provide a dedicated geopolitical risk recruitment service, recently conducted a survey of specific compensation trends in the UK geopolitical risk sector. Here are their findings:

“Given the specialized nature of geopolitical risk roles and the increasing demand for qualified professionals, competitive compensation packages are becoming the norm. This includes not only base salaries but also benefits and bonuses that reflect the strategic importance of these positions.

Our salary survey delves into the specific compensation trends within the UK geopolitical risk sector, providing a detailed analysis of salaries, bonuses, and benefits for professionals in various roles.”

The survey revealed the following average salary ranges for geopolitical risk consultants:

0 to 3 years’ experience: £30,000 to £50,000

4 to 8 years’ experience: £40,000 to £70,000

8 to 10 years’ experience: £70,000 to £130,000

10+ years’ experience: £110,000 to £250,000

For more information about their survey, or to register with their talent pool, head to octaviusfinance.com.

But being a geopolitical analyst is not just beneficial from an employment point of view. The skills and knowledge it gives you are also highly valuable, and will make you a more rounded individual. You will learn how to research and communicate more effectively, you will be able to put forward arguments with much greater weight behind them, and you will begin to think far more critically - a skill which is only going to become more useful as the amount of disinformation pumped out on the internet continues to grow.

You will also gain a greater situational awareness of what is going on in the world, and why things are the way they are - meaning you will enter those awkward family dinners with opinionated distant relatives far better armed for debate!

Start Writing

I’ve already written an article full of advice and tips for writing about geopolitics. I’ve put this signpost in to that article this early on in this article as I believe writing about geopolitics truly is the biggest advantage you can give yourself in beginning or advancing your geopolitics career. To read it, click the link below:

Necessary Skills and Attributes

There are some skills and attributes that are vital if you wish to become a geopolitical analyst. These are as follows:

An interest in geopolitics

This shouldn’t really come as a surprise, but if you don’t have an interest in geopolitics you probably won’t be a great geopolitical analyst. Sometimes it’s a bit of a slog ploughing through a shedload of articles and social media posts even when you find it interesting, so god knows how difficult it would be if you found it boring.


If you can’t convey your analysis in a form that is brief, clear, and relevant, then your customers either won’t bother reading it, or won’t get the points you are trying to make if they do.


You will need to be able to parse large volumes of information relatively quickly, particularly when reporting on unfolding incidents. There may come a time when you can just ask ChatGPT to skim articles and give you a list of the main points, but it is definitely not reliable at doing that just yet.

Computer literacy

You don’t need to be Bill Gates, but if you can’t operate a computer to a basic level you will really struggle. Don’t worry, the fact you’re reading this means you’ve probably got this covered.

Critical thinking

If you take every piece of information you read at face value your analysis will be useless. You need to be able to discern between reliable and unreliable sources, identify bias and logical fallacies in writing (including your own!), and get good at reading between the lines (i.e. “what is this article REALLY saying?”)

Useful Skills and Attributes

There are also a number of “nice to have” skills and attributes that aren’t a necessity but will significantly increase the value you can offer customers, and therefore your employability and earning potential:


Being fluent in a two or more languages will open up more doors than any other attribute in this list. Not only will you find it much easier to secure work in countries which have a language you are fluent in as a first language, but you will also have more job opportunities in your home country. It will also massively increase the number of potential sources you can rely on (and reduce your reliance on Google Translate!)

Microsoft Office (or equivalent)

99% of intelligence products are produced on Word or PowerPoint, so if you’ve got a good grip of these two programs the speed at which you can produce work, and therefore the volume of work you can produce, will be much quicker.

Likewise, many intelligence agencies rely on ExCel to hold their admin together, so being proficient with it will be a huge bonus (particularly in the eyes of your manager who likely lives in fear of accidentally deleting a cell and destroying months of work).


Most agencies will have templates for intelligence products already, but a lot of the time these are dull and have great scope for improvement. Being able to produce superior product templates than the ones the agency already uses is an easy way of demonstrating your value. And it means if and when you decide to go it alone as a consultant, you won’t have to rely on boring generic templates.


Being able to network and build quality working relationships will give you a huge advantage in your career. People are much more likely to share intelligence with people they know and like. The same goes for job vacancies - many of the contracts I have worked on in geopolitical intelligence have come through a contact of a contact rather than a recruiter or a job advert.

Any more?

Feel free to mention any of the need to haves or nice to haves I’ve missed out here in the comments below.

What GCSEs or A-Levels Should you Take?

If you are still at school and are considering a career in geopolitical intelligence, honestly I would not worry too much about what subjects you take.

It’s probably more important that you do something you enjoy for your own personal wellbeing (and you’re more likely to get good grades in something you want to do rather than something you have to do). I didn’t even know what geopolitics was until my mid-twenties, so there’s no massive rush!

However, if I was dead-set on becoming a geopolitical analyst and wanted to choose the GCSEs/A-Level subjects that would give me an advantage in doing so, these are what I’d choose:

A Foreign language: As mentioned above, being proficient in at least one foreign language will instantly make you a more attractive proposition for any geopolitical intelligence agency. If available I would choose one or more of:

  • Russian

  • Mandarin

  • Spanish

  • Arabic

Don’t worry if your school only does French or German (or another language that isn’t one of the above) – it will still stand you apart from other analysts and open up doors for you. As a bonus, learning one second language also makes it much easier to learn further languages.

English: Both English Language and English Literature will make you more adept at reading and writing, and help you draw out facts from literature and put forward logical arguments based on those facts with solid reasoning behind them.

History: As George Santayana said: “To know your future, you must understand your past”. Doing history will give you an insight into how previous major geopolitical events played out, which will make it easier for you to understand, explain, and predict how and why things are unfolding the way they are in the present.

Additionally, like with English History requires you to glean facts from literature and put forward arguments based around these facts – which is pretty much the bread and butter of geopolitical analysis.

IT: The more adept you are at operating a computer, and programs such as Microsoft Office, the more efficient you will be as an analyst.

Law: Like with history and English, law requires you to glean facts from pieces of information and use them to construct reasoned arguments.

In addition to this, you will also learn about constitutions, governments, the rule of law, and other features that shape the way nation states function.

Geography: Unless it is relevant to a specific niche you want to focus on (such as climate change), I wouldn’t bother studying physical geography. You don’t need to know the difference between igneous and metamorphic rocks or how oxbow lakes are formed to become a geopolitical analyst!

Human geography on the other hand is a useful field to study. Understanding the physical environment shapes human communities and behaviour, and the components of population centres and how and why they are formed and develop as they do will obviously be of benefit if you intend to analyse how geography influences politics (and visa-versa).

Politics: Obviously.

Sociology: Sociology is the study of how humans develop societies and institutions, how those societies and institutions function. As with human geography, obviously useful knowledge if you want to be analysing human society as a job.

Economics: Money is one of the most prominent drivers behind all human activity. It is the reason why (and how) many wars have been fought, a huge influencer over the development of population centres, and fundamentally is the facilitator of the exchange of goods and services in 99% of societies. Without it, or in cases where it suddenly disappears, societies can collapse, people can become unable to sustain themselves, and crime-rates can go through the roof.

Understanding economics can help you predict the impact of policies on the finances of the society they are applied to, and therefore predict the likely outcome of those policies.

What University Degree Should you Do?

You shouldn’t need a degree to do geopolitics

A large number of job adverts for roles in the geopolitics industry specify a degree as a prerequisite. If you work in talent acquisition and are about to do this in your next job advert, don’t. You absolutely do not need a degree to be a good analyst.

To that end, if you see an advert for a job you think you would be suited for, but you do not have the “necessary” degree, don’t be put off. Apply for it anyway, and if the hiring manager isn’t mental he will hire the best person for the job rather than some useless grad. Be aware though, sometimes the hiring manager will unfortunately be mental.

With that being said, having a degree will make it easier for you to get a job in the industry. Obviously, if you are choosing a degree with a view to becoming a geopolitical analyst, it would be a good idea to choose a subject that is relevant to the field (i.e. any of the ones listed in the previous section, apart from probably IT).

Extra-curricular activities

However, getting a degree is not the only thing you can do at university to boost your geopolitical career. Many universities now have geopolitics societies, and even if you go to one that doesn’t there are student-focused agencies you can join no matter what uni you go to (e.g. London Politica), and you could even start your own (which will offer you a bit of an insight into what it would be like to start your own agency).

You can also look for internships while at university (this list from Alexander Borum is fantastic). If you do, try to avoid unpaid ones. Any agency offering unpaid internships is probably a shitty agency, and even if you are lucky enough to be able to afford to work for free (also known as slavery), you will be putting others at a disadvantage by doing so.

Looking for Work

As much as you may enjoy researching and writing about geopolitics, it is always far more enjoyable when you get paid to do it. To help you look for work, I have created a list of recruiters, job sites, and company careers pages which are likely to have details of vacancies in the industry:

That list is by no means exhaustive, however, so to help you further here are some of the ways I’ve found work in the past, along with some tips about how to get the best out of them.


LinkedIn is the best source of geopolitical intelligence-related roles I’ve come across so far. This is for a number of reasons:

  1. If you have a big network of geopolitics connections, you can just post that you are looking for work and ask people to share it. More often than not at least some people will share it and others will at least give it a like to increase its visibility.

  2. The jobs section is actually quite good for geopolitics roles, and these are becoming more numerous as time progresses. Terms I would recommend searching for are:

    • Geopolitics

    • Political risk

    • Geopolitical risk

    • Threat monitoring

    • Geopolitical risk

    • Geopolitical analysis

  3. You can join the Geopolitics Jobs group, which has listings for job vacancies in the geopolitics industry. It’s worth getting on here as well as conducting your own searches, as some of the vacancies posted in this group can’t be found by searching in the jobs section.

  4. You can also connect with people at companies you wish to work for and speak to them directly about working there. Obviously be tactful with this - don’t just add the CEO and ask him to give you a job (or maybe do - who knows it could pay off!).

Contacting employers directly

Approaching companies directly is always a good tactic to use. First, go to their website and check the careers section (in many cases this will be the only place details of the vacancies will be advertised).

If there is no careers section, or the careers section has no desirable roles, send a speculative email with your CV to the contact email address. This will show you are proactive, and the company may decide to give you an interview even if they don’t have a specific role to fill if they think it may be worth their while. And even if they don’t, they will at least know you are interested in working for them so may get in touch when a suitable role does come up.

Join the military

Provided you can cope with getting a little bit damp now and again, joining the military is a great option for an “in” to a geopolitical intelligence career either directly (for instance by joining an intelligence corps) or indirectly (i.e. joining the army as infantry and then becoming an intelligence specialist).

As well as giving you a host of life skills and a pretty decent wage (particularly when you consider the minimal outgoings you have as a soldier), serving will also make it easier to find and secure roles when you eventually become a civilian. That’s not to say you will be guaranteed a job, but many intelligence agencies have specific programs for veterans, and you will likely get some form of security clearance when you serve which can be a pre-requisite for certain roles.

Job sites/Recruitment agencies

As well as agencies and job sites that specialise in geopolitics, I would recommend also looking for sites that focus on security roles, roles that require security clearance, and roles with national governments.

Some recruitment agencies with geopolitics-related roles include:

If you know of or run any other agencies that have geopolitics-related roles please do get in touch and I will add them to this list.

Checking more general job sites is also recommended, especially Google’s job page (try using the same terms listed in the LinkedIn section).


If you decide to start writing about geopolitics, be that a blog, newsletter, or just posting regularly on LinkedIn, there’s a good chance it will be noticed by people looking for geopolitics analysts. I’ve gained a number of contracts for ad-hoc taskings and interviews for jobs that weren’t even being advertised simply because someone at the company in question had read my work and was interested in working with me. And, who knows, if your writing is good enough you may even be able to make a living out of that via subscriptions or sponsorship!


The more people in the geopolitics industry you have in your network, the more work you are likely to hear about or be offered. Loads of work in this industry is ad-hoc or contract based, and people will often be more receptive to hiring someone based on a recommendation from someone they trust than choosing from a pile of faceless CVs and hoping for the best. Check out the next section for advice on networking.

Setting yourself up as a consultancy

If you don’t want to work for a company but do want to work in geopolitics, you can set yourself up as a consultancy. I wouldn’t recommend doing this without having any prior experience though, as you will likely lack the skills, contacts, and reputation to go it alone.

The pros of working as a consultant are that you can often earn far more than you would as an employee pro-rata, you aren’t tied down, and you will get a wider variety of opportunities.

The cons are a lack of job security (it’s much easier to get a mortgage as an employee for instance), no employment benefits (sick pay, holiday pay etc), and you have far more admin to do (tax, pensions, companies house etc).


As mentioned in the previous section, the more people in your network the easier you will find it to get work. There is also a bit of a snowball effect bonus with networking as well, as the more people in your network on LinkedIn, the more people are likely to engage with your content. The more people that engage with your content, the more likely it is to be seen by other geopolitical enthusiasts. The more geopolitical enthusiasts that see your content, the more your network is likely to grow, and so on.


You get around 100 connection requests per week on LinkedIn. Use the same search terms I suggested above for job vacancies but for people, and max them out every week.

Post frequently, if you add value people will likely want to connect with you (there is no limit to the number of connection requests you can accept).

You don’t need to build rapport with people before asking them for a quick call. They might say no, but most people are generally quite happy to have a quick chat with you about their role and give you some advice. However, make sure you aren’t pushy - if someone doesn’t have the time to help don’t take it personally, just say no problem and move on.

In theory groups on LinkedIn are a great idea - forums with thousands of like-minded people on that you can communicate to all at once. In reality though posting on groups often won’t bear much fruit, as if people aren’t engaged with those groups on a regular basis posts to that group won’t show up in their feed.

Since writing this article, I have created a list of LinkedIn members who post high-value geopolitics content that are worth following or connecting with. Click here to view it.

And finally, give as much as you get. If someone asks you for help or advice, give them the time of day if you can. Not only will you be doing your good deed for the day, but the person you are helping now might be the person giving you help in the future.


There are loads of security/defence/risk expos that take place in the UK. Unfortunately, the majority of these are in London, so if you want to go to them try and book a hotel early - particularly if it is a massive one like the DSEI expo - as they tend to get more expensive closer to the time.

Obviously it is a good idea to dress relatively smartly when going to these things, but do yourself a favour and wear trainers. Walking around in shoes for eight hours gets uncomfortable pretty quickly, and in the case of multiple-day expos it can be frankly horrific.

Most of the time expos will publish a list of exhibitors ahead of the event. Go through this list and note the companies you want to speak to, and learn a bit about them. This will eliminate the risk of you just aimlessly wandering about and not really achieving much.

Online conferences/lectures/forums etc

These are a great way to make contacts with people that have a high level of experience and a great reputation in the industry. Connect with the key-note speaker and other attendees on LinkedIn if appropriate.


Unsurprisingly one of the best places to meet people with an interest in geopolitics is at a geopolitics-related job. Keep in touch with people who you can trust to do a good job and have a good working relationship with, for three main reasons:

  • They might need someone to fill a role in future, and are more likely to think of you if you are in touch with them

  • You might need someone to fill a role in future, and it is far easier to do this if you have a good pool of analysts you can trust

  • A third party might need someone to fill a role in future. If you can suggest high-quality candidates to them, you will not only go up in their standing but the people you suggest will be massively appreciative as well.

Don’t just converse with people via email. Pick up the phone and talk to them or better yet video call them. People are much more likely to help people they have a “real” relationship with rather than some anonymous person they’ve just been swapping emails with.

Don’t burn your bridges. Even if you get fully mugged off by an employer, try to leave your role without kicking off as in the future (from experience) you may regret it.

Chat groups

There are loads of groups on messaging apps dedicated to geopolitics. Unfortunately, these are seldom advertised anywhere, so you will often need to know someone involved to get an invite (hence the value of networking!)

If you do get invited to one of these groups, and it is ok with the admin, introduce yourself, say what your niche is, and include a link to your LinkedIn profile. When other people introduce themselves and suggest adding them on LinkedIn, do it.

Try to add as much value to the group as possible, just don’t spam it.

Build up your Source List

To be a geopolitics analyst you need to keep abreast of the events unfolding both in your area of intelligence responsibility (i.e. “The Middle East) and globally. You should also read up on historical geopolitical events to understand why things are like they are the way they are, as not only will this make you more knowledgable in your chosen niche but also help you predict the second and third-order consequences of how current events are playing out.

Many paid sources of geopolitics information are aimed at enterprise clients (aka big business), and therefore cost the equivalent of a small country’s GDP to subscribe to. But fear not, there is also a plethora of high-quality geopolitics information available for free, you just need to know where (and where not) to look.

TV News Channels

Yes, main stream media. The scourge of tin-foil hat wearers across the globe. Generally I will just have this running while working or pottering about the house. It’s great for getting an insight into the major events taking place across the world, and acting as a basic alerting system for unfolding incidents.

Be aware though that TV news channels tend to only tend to cover events and incidents they think their viewers will care about. That is why they have blanket coverage of the Russia/Ukraine conflict, but next to nothing about other objectively far greater humanitarian crises such as the current conflicts in Sudan or the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is why you cannot rely on TV news alone for your geopolitics information.

News Agencies

Online news agencies are great for getting a general overview of what is going on in the world. Many of them are (relatively) unbiased, but you still need to be careful as even those that are unbiased 99% of the time can have an agenda on certain issues (i.e. Al Jazeera is pretty straight down the line for most things but can be a tiny bit impartial when it comes to Israel).

Generally speaking, the more wider the geographical scope of coverage of a news site, the shallower its depth, so if you want to get really granular coverage of a particular region, you are better off looking at a regional news agency than a global one.


Listen on the way to work or while you’re working, easy way to expand your knowledge with minimal effort.

Email newsletters

If you sign up for a lot of these I recommend creating a separate folder on your email client and diverting them all to that to avoid clogging up your inbox. Also sign up for the OSINTSUM if you haven’t already.

The majority of intelligence/risk agencies will put out some form of free geopolitics newsletter on a regular basis, the sign up form is usually located somewhere on their website.

LinkedIn newsletters

There are some great independent newsletters on LinkedIn that are worth checking out. They are often passion projects written by people who really love the niche they are writing about, and as such can be more insightful than a lot of the more professional ones out there.

Social media

Twitter used to be great, now not so great. There are still quite a few accounts putting out good quality content though. Recommend avoiding the “for you” feed and sticking to the “following” one so you don’t end up getting sucked down some conspiracy theory-laced rabbit hole.

Avoid getting your geopolitics news from TikTok. Aside from the fact it’s essentially a data collection program disguised as a video-sharing app, it more heavily pushes videos that China wants you to see.

Threads seems to be kind of like how Twitter, or to give it its proper title “X formally Twitter”, used to be in the before time, but hasn’t reached “critical mass” yet. As with Twitter, you need to switch the feed to “following” from “for you” to avoid getting spammed with irrelevant nonsense.

YouTube is great for deep-dives into current events and historical explainers, but be wary that no matter how well produced a video looks, it can still be biased.

There are some really great think pieces posted on LinkedIn, and loads of links to useful websites, intelligence products to download, people to connect with and much more. A really valuable source of geopolitics information. Try to avoid getting into debates on there, you will never change someone’s mind with a social media comment if they are heavily opinionated in a certain direction, so don’t waste your time. Check out the link below for a great list of people who post valuable geopolitics content on LinkedIn.


There are books about pretty much every major geopolitical event that has ever occurred, and the more important the event the more books will have been written about it. For instance, there are over 1,200 books about World War 2 listed on Goodreads alone.

They can be expensive to buy but your local library will have many titles available to borrow for free, and sites such as archive.org will let you (legally) download many for free as well.

Note: If you can’t be bothered looking yourself, I will be creating directories for some of the source types listed above, and will post on LinkedIn once complete. At present there is already a very basic directory of geopolitics newsletters on here, which you can view by clicking here.


Thanks for reading this far down - I hope it has been helpful for you and given you some pointers about how to get into the geopolitics industry. If you have enjoyed the article, feel free to add me on LinkedIn and get in touch if you have any questions.

If there is anything you think I’ve missed out on here, please add it in the comments so I can update the article and make it more useful for future readers!

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