Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Job Seekers

Thank you for your interest in Human Rights Watch.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on Internships

 


Q: I want to work for Human Rights Watch. How can I find out about vacancies?

A: All full-time staff vacancies are posted on our website for a minimum of 30 days. Check back periodically to see what new jobs have been posted.

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Q: What kinds of positions does HRW hire for?

A: We frequently have openings for human rights researchers, field investigators, and advocates, either based in our New York headquarters or in one of our other offices around the world. We also hire administrative support staff, managers and directors for our regional and thematic divisions and senior management staff, and communications, fundraising and operations staff.

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Q: I really want to work for HRW, but I have no direct experience. How can I break in?

A: The best way to learn how to prepare yourself for a job at Human Rights Watch is to check the "Qualifications" or "Requirements" sections of our job postings. Recent college graduates usually fill our administrative positions, but for professional positions, most of our research staff come to us with at least several years of experience, including varied experience and skills in international human rights investigation, reporting, and activism. Typically for professional positions we seek related graduate-level coursework, NGO or non-profit work or internship experience, field experience, research and communications skills, international exposure, relevant language fluency, good judgment, and organizational and interpersonal skills. Building your resume with as many of these qualifications as possible is a good way to enhance your suitability for a job at HRW.

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Q: I've called your office with questions but I haven't received a return phone call. Is it possible for me to request an informational interview?

A: Unfortunately, we're unable to respond to individual employment calls or offer informational interviews due to the high volume of such requests we receive each day. The best way to stay informed about jobs at HRW is to check back at our website periodically. This way you'll get an idea of the positions we post and the qualifications we seek.

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Q: How should I apply for a job?

A: Check the posting for the job you're interested in and follow the application instructions. (It's best not to send an unsolicited resume but to apply directly to an open search.) Typically we will request a letter of interest tailored to the position, a current resume, a list of professional and/or academic references we can contact, salary requirements, and an unedited writing sample. Some positions will require academic transcripts.

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Q: Do you want letters of reference or just names and phone numbers?

A: We want to be able to contact your referees by phone or in person so that we can discuss your qualifications in relation to the job for which you have applied, so each reference letter must be backed up with a phone number from the referee. In cases where the referee is unreachable (i.e., a retired professor or former supervisor in a remote location), we will accept such letters of reference as additional supporting documentation, but you will need to provide phone numbers for additional referees. Please be sure to let us know your relationship to each referee and his or her current title.

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Q: What's an unedited writing sample?

A: By "unedited", we mean that it should not be substantially altered in form or content by a second writer. It should not be a law review article or other similar heavily-edited document. It does not have to be long, or necessarily related to the position you are applying for, but it must be representative of your own written style and ability to express your thoughts clearly, concisely, and compellingly. (It is not a handwriting sample.)

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Q: What happens after I submit my resume?

A: Your application will be added to the application pool for review by a staff search committee. Typically, a small number of applicants are selected for a preliminary phone interview, and of that pool a smaller number will be chosen for an in-person panel interview. We conduct applicant testing and reference checks prior to making job offers.

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Q: Should I call you after I submit my application?

A: No. You will receive a letter from us acknowledging receipt of your resume within a couple of weeks after we receive it. In order to reduce the administrative burden of handling large numbers of applications, only candidates chosen for interviews will be contacted after that point.

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Q: How can HRW help me if I do not have US work authorization?

A: HRW usually cannot obtain visas for administrative support positions, but for professional positions Human Rights Watch works with an immigration expert and assumes the costs to assist employees in obtaining necessary U.S. work authorization, so non-US citizens are encouraged to apply. We can also assist with relocation costs.

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Q: Will I have to pay taxes on my salary?

A: HRW is neither equipped nor authorized to provide personal tax advice. Employees are responsible for obtaining personal tax advice and paying all applicable taxes deriving from their employment with HRW.

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Q: I've applied for three different positions at Human Rights Watch and haven't even made it to the interview stage. What am I doing wrong?

A: We understand that it is disappointing to be so interested in a field like human rights or an organization like Human Rights Watch and not seem to be able even to get your foot in the door. Keep in mind that landing a job or even an internship with us is a highly competitive endeavor -- HRW typically receives anywhere from 100-700 applications for every vacancy! Our best advice is to check our website for postings, review the desired qualifications, and build your resume around those skills. Each vacancy is a "standalone" search, meaning that you should apply repeatedly with separate applications as different positions catch your interest.

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Best wishes with your job search!


How do I find an open internship?

All currently available internship opportunities are advertised online at http://www.hrw.org/about/volunteering.

Divisions with available internship openings will post their opportunities here on our website.  Not all divisions will have current openings for interns, though, and for summer internships, you should apply well in advance.  To find out which divisions are recruiting interns now, please visit our internship page.

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How do I apply for an internship?

Check the posting for the internship you are interested in and follow the application instructions. Typically, we will request a letter of interest tailored to the internship opportunity, a current resume or CV, a list of professional and/or academic references we can contact, and an unedited writing sample.

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May I apply for more than one internship?

Yes, you are welcome to apply for additional opportunities.  For each listing that you are interested in, please send in a separate application.  

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Is it a good idea for me to just submit an unsolicited (speculative) resume?

No. Candidates should apply for posted internships only.

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What's an unedited writing sample?

By "unedited", we mean that it should not be substantially altered in form or content by a second writer.  It should not be a law review article or other similar heavily-edited document. It does not have to be long, or necessarily related to the position you are applying for, but it must be representative of your own written style and ability to express your thoughts clearly, concisely, and compellingly.  (It is not a handwriting sample.)

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What happens after I submit my resume?

Your application will be added to the application pool for review by the division. Only complete applications will be reviewed. Typically, a small number of applicants are selected for a preliminary phone interview, and of that pool a smaller number will be chosen for an in-person interview. Due to the large number of applications, only short-listed candidates will be contacted further. No calls or email inquiries, please.

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Should I call you after I submit my application?

No.  We do not take email or phone inquiries about positions.   Due to a large numbers of applications, only candidates chosen for interviews will be contacted.

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I called your office with questions but I haven't received a return phone call. Is it possible for me to request an informational interview?

Unfortunately, we are unable to respond to inquiries about internship opportunities or offer informational interviews due to the high volume of such requests we receive each day. The best way to stay informed about opportunities at HRW is to check back at our website periodically. This way you'll get an idea of the positions we post and the qualifications we seek.

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How long do I need to commit for?

Internships vary in length and the expected commitment is listed on the posting.

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Will there be an opportunity for overseas travel?

Generally, no.   At this time, we are unable to offer interns the opportunity for international assignments.

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Do you have paid internships?

Internships at HRW are generally unpaid.  For certain exceptions, the posting will provide more details. Students are often able to arrange academic credit, as HRW internships often offer direct exposure to the workings of an international human rights organization, close supervision by the HRW staff, interaction with other international organizations and foreign and domestic government officials, and opportunities to attend lectures, trainings, and special events relating to human rights.  Students should check with their individual academic institutions for requirements.

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How do I know if an internship position is still available?

Generally, internships postings are removed from our website when the position has been filled or is no longer available.

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How can HRW help me if I do not have work authorization?

Applicants who are offered an internship in the US, but who are not US permanent residents, US citizens, or in possession of a valid student visa, must apply for a J-1 visa through a sponsoring organization.  The J-1 application process can take several weeks and applicants will have to incur their own costs.  For our other office locations, valid work authorization is also requested.

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If I don’t qualify for an internship, can I volunteer instead?

When available, volunteer opportunities will be listed on our website.  At this time we only accept applications that correlate to available opportunities.  Please view our postings online at http://www.hrw.org/about/volunteering and follow the directions there to submit your application.

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