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Legal protection jobs?

September 16, 2015

Q. Dear Nick, 

Thank you for all of the information you have provided. I am a recent college graduate who is looking to work in refugee camps, specially in legal protection. I am a recent refugee to the US and have work in international development in East Africa. I know that I need a law degree to obtain a job in refugee legal protection, however, I would like to gain some experience now in that area. I have applied for internship/job positions at the IRC and U.S. Committee for Refugee and Immigrants. I speak two languages and I have lived in developing countries for the majority of my life.
The problem is that I have not heard back from any of the organizations I have applied to. What do you suggest I do? Do you have any suggestion on where else I should apply?

Thank you, Tiba

A. Hi Tiba,

First off, congratulations on graduating, and good luck in your new home. Without knowing specifically what jobs you’re applying for, and what your resume looks like, I can’t say why you’re not getting interviews. My advice would be to make sure that you are actually qualified for the jobs, and that your resume really highlights that. Those are the two biggest things I see people doing wrong. It’s a very competitive industry, and you need to make sure your resume is really selling your experience. You should also make sure that you are building your professional network.

Good luck,


3 Comments leave one →
  1. Laureen permalink
    September 18, 2015 3:32 am

    Hi Tida,

    Allow me to add to Nick’s advice as a person working in legal protection of refugees. Since you recently graduated from college and are still on your way to getting a law degree, you might want to consider applying for smaller NGO’s working with refugees just yet. Refugee camps are quite difficult to access as an intern, whereas NGOs working in the US might be more easy to approach. You’ll have more chances of getting a reply on your application and probably a more direct access to individual casework than with the bigger NGOs working abroad. The skills you acquire working directly with refugees with grass-root NGOs will come in useful when applying for jobs with the bigger ones later.

    Good luck!


    • September 18, 2015 9:11 am

      Thanks for your input Laureen – that’s really helpful!

      • Laureen permalink
        September 21, 2015 5:17 am

        No problem. I admire the patience with which you answer so many questions Nick. Keep up the good work!

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