Applying & Interviewing for a Field Placement
After you have selected several externships or internships that are of interest to you:
- In addition to checking the database for application information, also check the organization website. If there is different information, or a different contact listed on the website, apply via both methods.
- Review your resume and cover letter with the Office of Career and Professional Development.
- Apply for your externship just as you would for any other job. At a minimum, you should be prepared to submit a cover letter and resume. Some organizations will also request a writing sample or transcript.
- If you speak with the supervising attorney or externship coordinator; you may wish to ask what follows the review of your resume and when interviews will be scheduled. After you have mailed your resume, it is a good idea to call the organization to ensure that it was received. Be polite, but persistent in following up to set an interview. Most agencies are very busy, and occasionally applications, resumes, or students' telephone numbers are lost.
Above all, be professional in interviewing for and accepting your externship or internship. Do not accept an externship or internship and then drop it for a better offer. Call offices promptly to accept or decline their offers. Although it is somewhat easier to locate an unpaid externship than a paying job, your externship is a dress rehearsal for what is to come in your professional life.
WHEN TO APPLY:
There is no one deadline for all field placements. If the field placement is listed in the database, check to see whether a deadline is listed. If not, you should contact the organization directly.
Generally, it is not necessary to apply before end of December (at the earliest) for a summer externship. However, government agencies that require a security clearance, may have early applications deadlines (see below). Most organizations review resumes in January, February, March, and sometimes April. If you are applying after April, you should contact the Externship Program Office for assistance.
If you are seeking an externship with a government agency, find out whether a security clearance is necessary (most DOJ positions require a clearance). If a clearance is required, be prepared to apply earlier than you might otherwise. If you are applying for a summer externship, you must assume that it will take at least another 8-10 weeks to receive your security clearance, after you have received your job offer. Generally, you will not be able to begin working until you have received your clearance, which could affect your eligibility for externship credit.