Navigating the policy job environment

(Issue areas, International Law, International Public Interest, Public Service in the private sector, Non-Profits, Public Interest Organizations, Government/ government agencies, employment settings)
WorthyAngel

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Navigating the policy job environment

Post by WorthyAngel » Sat Feb 29, 2020 10:00 pm

I'm a HYS 2L with prior military experience going to work at a major national non-profit this summer under a policy fellowship. My question is: what the hell do I do once I graduate? Most law fellowships only sponsor direct services work, and I've been told that I should be aiming for a post-grad fellowship (1-2 years) that will allow me to practice policy (or at least one focused on research/writing). However, most of the policy fellowships that I have looked up are aimed at those graduating from undergrad, not law school. Is that still what I should pursue? I'm pretty sure the organization I am at this summer does not hire directly out of law school, so I assume that is not an option.

Lurk2020

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Re: Navigating the policy job environment

Post by Lurk2020 » Wed Mar 25, 2020 1:30 am

First, look for ones focused on people finishing graduate degrees more broadly. There are a lot of MPP, MPA, and general masters graduates out there and there are fellowships geared towards them.

Second, policy is pretty broad. So, one question is whether you want to do policy-related work inside or outside of government and if inside, whether you want to be a GS employee or a political. And are you trying to stay law-related or just go all-in on policy type work?

If you want to be outside or go political, you may also need to "pick a side" for some of them. For example, Third Way (center-left political think tank) has a NatSec fellowship: https://www.thirdway.org/about/fellows- ... ity-fellow. They also have a Climate and Energy Fellow, Social Policy & Politics Fellow, and an Economics Fellow. Now if you are currently in FedSoc or NLG, you probably dont want to touch the Third Way with a 10-foot pole, so look for orgs hiring graduate students more in your lane.

If you want to jump into a GS role, consider the PMF program- it's one of the best ways to jump right into a policy job straight out of grad school. You're a fellow for two years at a government agency, and do a rotation at a separate office or agency to build out your experience. Most (but not all) agencies will then take you on full time. The application is in the fall, and there is a personality test, so take the time to prepare for that if you are interested.

Have you taken any classes at the Kennedy School? Try talking to some folks over there as well if you can. They may be able to point you in a few additional directions.

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