By Kinga Jaromin, EST Ambassador to Poland. OSCE (The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) is an intergovernmental organization specialized in international security, arms control and the promotion of human rights.
On 2nd of March Kinga Jaromin, EST Ambassador to Poland organized a meeting with interns and former interns working in OSCE/ODHIR office in Warsaw. Students from various Warsaw universities were able to join the meeting and acquire practical knowledge on application process and the work of the ODHIR interns in Warsaw.
The meeting was held in the framework of EST Coffee Talks which implied its limited size and friendly, open atmosphere. Students that attended the event were able to ask any questions regarding the internship and they did not hesitate to use this opportunity! Many topics were raised during the meeting, including:
How to obtain the internship at OSCE?
The very first question that appeared just after the short presentation of each guest regarded the successful application for the internship. Some students already had an experience in applying, others were only thinking about doing so. How to make sure that the submitted application will be the right one?
First of all, it is necessary to find oneself a position that is suitable for one’s interest and experience. OSCE gives the opportunity to apply for internships in the Secretariat in Vienna, as well as in its other locations for example Warsaw, Yerevan, Sarajevo etc. Applications can be submitted only for opened positions, which appear throughout the year depending on each institution’s needs.
To find an internship at OSCE, click HERE
After finding the position, one must make sure to fulfil all the requirements. To check general requirements for the internship, click HERE
Finding a suitable position and fulfilling all the requirements is not a success yet, as the competition for the internship is really high. As all our guests agreed, the key is a perfectly tailored motivation that will demonstrate the interest of a person in the issue, but also will prove that the applicant is as suitable for the position as he claims.
Spending a long time on polishing the cover letter might be a crucial part of the application. It is good to not only show that a person has everything that is demanded but also demonstrates some distinguishing features for example even limited knowledge of interesting language or atypical interests.
Difficult application process
Application is only the first stage of the process. Short-listed candidates will have to later pass the knowledge test which is considered difficult and detailed, as well as the interview (by Skype) usually conducted by the head of the department they applied for an internship to. There is no recipe of how to successfully go through this stage of application process. While some interns admitted they have profoundly prepared themselves to the interview, others tried to be spontaneous. What questions applicants can expect from the interviewer? There will definitely appear some “standard questions” such as “why shall we hire you?” and it is advised to come up with a creative answer. Besides that, usually the interview is tailored for the position. The team already knows what project the intern will be working on and they would ask very specific questions to ensure that chosen person will be able to deal with the duties. As our guests admitted, it is a very efficient way of hiring people as all OSCE interns and workers are persons with wide knowledge and perfectly-tailored skills for positions they hold.
Characteristics that increase the chances for the internship
What are the characteristics that are crucial when applying to OSCE internship? One of the most important things is at least limited knowledge of Russian language, which is (besides English) commonly used in the organization. It is not a condition, but it might increase chances of successful application. The same with relevant experience, even volunteering one. It proves the interest and well as increases the knowledge about the field that OSCE is working in. The thing that might appear very useful is the topic of Bachelor or Master thesis that is relevant to the OSCE field of interest. Any way of proving the engagement and concern in the issues that OSCE works on is very welcomed.
Typical tasks and duties
How the internship at OSCE really looks like? Do the duties of the intern include copying or making coffee? Not at all! As we got to know, the intern at OSCE receives serious and responsible tasks from the very beginning of the term. Usually it includes research, drafting reports or speeches for high OSCE officials. It also gives an opportunity to cooperate with other international institutions on common projects.
The best things about being the intern at ODHIR office
Our guests, when asked about the main advantages of the position at OSCE, pointed out a friendly atmosphere at work. They all admitted that interns don’t really feel like interns, as they are treated as full staff members. Their opinion is heard and taken into consideration, they are able to learn, being sure that no one will turn their questions down. The feeling of being respected and important is quite common and is confirmed by the important tasks they are given to fulfil. Those feelings are a reason that our guests fully recommend the internship to everyone.
How to be successful with your application? Best tips
- Don’t give up – apply till you get the position. It usually takes couple of times to finally get the position, so don’t get discouraged, constantly improve your CV and keep sending applications.
- Develop characteristics most wanted by OSCE – increase your chances by getting what they want, learn languages, specifically Russian, volunteer, get a job in the field, do everything to be more attractive applicant.
- Think through your application – don’t hurry with submitting it, make sure you have fulfilled it correctly and that you indicated all the reasons that make you suitable for the position.
- Focus on your motivation –it is the most important part of the application. It happened already numerous of times that very qualified people didn’t get the position, because their motivational statement was weak. So write it very carefully and don’t forget to mention why will you be useful for the organization, what are the skills that distinguish you from others.
EST would like to greatly thank all participants of the meeting, especially: Anastasia Fusco, Igor Artemov, Rashid Khasanov, Jonathan Kohler, Karina Levina, Andrei Luca, Francesco Marchesano and Serena Pescatore for their openness in sharing their knowledge and experience!
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