Halp!

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I need advice from people who know better.

There’s an NGO in Afghanistan I was intending to submit an internship application to. In fact, I submitted one last year, was accepted, and then couldn’t go, for various reasons. Yesterday, as I was about to reapply for that same internship, I saw that the “officer” level position doing the same thing was open. I’m qualified for it, at least on paper, but I’m not sure if I should submit an application for the job, or for the similarly titled internship. How can I make it clear that I’ll gladly take the internship if I don’t get the job, without ruining my chances of getting either? How should I approach this?

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8 thoughts on “Halp!

  1. Hi Janine,

    There’s no rule that stipulates I can only apply for one, however, as a friend pointed out to me this afternoon;

    1) If I apply for just the job and don’t get it, they won’t offer me the internship, because that’s considered insulting.

    2) If I apply for just the internship, I’ll be telling them I don’t think I’m qualified for the job.

    3) And, if I apply for both, I look desperate and unhinged.

    So, maybe there isn’t any good option. : (

  2. I would apply to both – and I have, before, applied to both a “real” job and an internship and been offered (and taken) the internship. It’s often a good way for them to make sure that you are really the sort of person that they want working for them, with little risk, if you don’t have a TON of experience with organizations that do almost exactly what they do. If you apply for both, you don’t look unhinged, you just look like you really like what they do (it wouldn’t hurt to say, in cover letters and the interview, “I think you are basically the coolest organization ever.” – obviously a little more literately than that…)

  3. I would apply for the job, you are qualified for it (I’m taking your word for that, but since most of us lean towards under- rather than over-estimating ourselves I think that is a safe bet). In the covering letter I would tell them why I was a good candidate for the job, I would also tell them that because I am very committed to the work they are doing, if I were not successful in the job application I would be interested in talking with them about other opportunities to work with them (including internships). I’ve done quite a bit of recruitment for NGOs etc (including in Afghanistan) and I have never been put off by someone applying for a paid job but letting me know that if they were not successful in winning the paid job they would still be interested in unpaid intern work. That’s my two cents worth. Good luck!

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