What sort of experience would be better?

Subject: What sort of experience would be better?
From: Jimmy Breck-McKye <jb527 -at- hotmail -dot- co -dot- uk>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Sun, 12 Sep 2010 23:06:23 +0100

I'm a recent graduate looking to enter technical writing, and I need to
make a choice. Quickly.

On the one hand, I'm being offered a dedicated, but unpaid twelve-week
internship at a national charity. I would document the organization's
CRM / donor managing software and create training materials. The work
would be in the center of London, the expensive and formidable capital.
I have just about enough savings to cover my living expenses for the
period. Just.

On the other, I'm offered a paid position with another company in
London. I would be a "Business Support Manager", something between IT
sales and generic tech support, occasionally drafting training materials
and documents for an online application. This would be paid ~ £20,000
(around $30,000 USD) annually. I'd be able to live in London, though I'd
have to scrimp and save here and there.

The question is, when taking a trainee / graduate, which experience
would hold the greater sway with you? Or, more to the point, would the
advantages of the dedicated internship make up for the amount it will
cost me? Would you take much heed of a candidate who offered generic
technical support experience (considering this will include second /
third tier support)?

If it helps, my background is a B.A. in English Literature (Cambridge).
I've produced documentation for my own software, but don't have any
formal training in either technical communication or software development.


Thanks in advance,

Jimmy Breck-McKye

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