Public Interest Job Search Tools

In addition to being an advocacy center at Columbia Law School, the Office of Social Justice Initiatives (SJI) offers advising for careers in public interest law, government, and international human rights. This page contains information to help you begin your public sector job or internship search. Be sure to also meet with an SJI adviser who will help you construct a plan and guide you through the resources below – the earlier the better. 

Job Search Toolkit

Many of the resources on this page are found along with other helpful information in our Public Interest Job Search Toolkit. It is a comprehensive guide that serves as a one-stop resource for the public interest job search and is available below.

Public Interest Job Search Toolkit

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Résumés and Cover Letters

Our Resume and Cover Letter Guide will help you through the process of revising and reformatting your materials to get them in the best shape possible to be compelling advocacy documents for your candidacy.
• Resume Training (video forthcoming)
• Cover Letter Training (video forthcoming)

If you are a 1L or LL.M. student seeking a quick review of your resume and/or cover letter, you can submit a request through our portals. 
1L Resume & Cover Letter Review Portal
LL.M. Resume & Cover Letter Review Portal

 

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Keep Track of Positions

As you research organizations and job openings, take note of ones that interest you. Keep track of the position, application requirements, deadlines, and your application date and status. This will help you follow up with employers as needed. 

• Job Tracking Chart Template

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Interviews and Offers

Public interest employers give great weight to the interview, especially for 2L summer internship and postgraduate positions. Our Interviewing Guide explains how to prepare for the interview, what to expect, and how to communicate with employers after interviews, particularly when you have received an offer. We encourage you to schedule a mock interview with one of our advisers via Symplicity in preparation for your interviews. 

• Sample Interviews & Tips (videos forthcoming)

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Networking

Networking is a very important tool not only for learning about fields of practice and finding the right one for you, but also for finding a public interest job, internship, or fellowship sponsor. Even though it may be daunting at first, networking is an essential part of your public interest journey and our resources will help you navigate it.

• Networking Guide
• Networking for Grads: Building Your Team (video)

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Specialized Areas of Law

Some areas of law have varied job search processes, and thus specific resources. If you are interested in jobs or internships in public interest law firms, the government sector, or international public interest law, please consult our page dedicated to resources for these areas. 

Specialized Job Search Tools