After decades as a spy through the Cold War, the ex Head of MI5, Dame Stella Rimington, tells us why a career in the secret service is perfect for women like you.
1. Women are great at listening, empathising and building trust – all essential qualities when you are building a relationship with a source, a central part of the job.
2. They can keep their cool when things get stressful and also bring a sense of calm to a heated situation. We often send a women in to mediate during a stand-off between two sides whose leaders are male. They are able to cool tempers more effectively.
3. Intelligence is a constant balancing act and women instinctively have a great sense of balance and common sense. An investigation can come in from a tiny tit bit of info from an undercover source. The difficulty is knowing the right point to take action. Too late and a bomb may go off killing thousands, too early and you can struggle to get the information needed to arrest or prosecute the people involved. Women are great balancers.
5. I can’t deny that women possess a degree of ruthlessness. This can be useful when it comes to protecting others.
The spy novel Close Call by Stella Rimington is available. (Bloomsbury, £12.99). Looking for more career inspo? It’s not too late to book tickets for Marie Claire’s @ Work Live, in association with Cointreau and Next. A one-day event on 23 April 2016, featuring advice, tips and inspiration from incredible speakers.