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Senior Communications Officer


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Job Description

  • Country: Switzerland
  • Vacancies No: N/A
  • Salary: N/A 
  • No of Jobs: N/A
  • Education: Undergraduate
  • Experience: 9 years
  • Gender: Both

– Develop and implement communications strategies for countries, situations and special projects; identify thematic priorities and target audiences to meet UNHCR¿s global communications objectives.
– Monitor news and popular trends to insert UNHCR¿s messaging into ongoing conversations; identify key moments for proactive communications.
– Forge strategic partnerships with individuals and organizations who can help produce and promote UNHCR content, activities and messaging as well as provide research insights to improve communications; promote the work of engaged businesses and civil society actors.
– Develop news-driven and authoritative content to lead the narrative on forced displacement and show UNHCR’s impact (e.g. interviews, press releases, flagship reports, speeches), create emotive storytelling to generate empathy (e.g. stories, multimedia content) and mobilize action by signposting concrete steps people can take to help refugees (e.g. digital diplomacy, action-driven campaigns, fundraising).
– Ensure content created reaches maximum impact by developing strategies for distribution from the outset, boosting the visibility of our content on relevant UNHCR channels and placing it on external channels.
– Closely monitor the implementation of communications projects and adjust accordingly. Benchmark the results of communications projects against set success indicators; build on communications successes.

Additional duties for news and media roles:
– Strategically lead UNHCR’s media relations work for designated AoR and thematic issues, working with international and national media, acting as a UNHCR spokesperson for their respective areas, doing interviews, speaking on behalf of the Organization at press events, handling media queries and providing comment. Maintaining close coordination with focal points in headquarters, bureaux, and country offices.
– Working in collaboration with Senior Management and assigned focal points, lead development and implementation of communications strategies for the assigned AoR, ensuring close alignment with UNHCR¿s Global Communications Strategy.
– Develop in-depth expertise on their assigned AoR and issues, proposing and developing communications/advocacy initiatives, plans and messaging, securing internal consensus for these, and overseeing rapid and timely implementation.
– Ensure UNHCR’s leading share of voice in a variety of news and social media on all matters relating to refugees and others under the Organization¿s duty of care, by proposing initiatives, and using reactive, opportunistic and proactive communications.
– Draft, research, prepare, fact check, sub-edit and secure clearances for media releases (including reports, media briefing notes, fact sheets, statements and press releases), keeping in mind needs of media and public.
– Engage with media and public on social media in support of UNHCR’s global advocacy objectives on behalf of refugees, the internally displaced and stateless people.
– Ensure messaging and other communications guidance is regularly updated and shared in a timely manner with other communications staff and UNHCR managers and representatives.
– Provide expert communications advice to senior staff, including on strategies and media relations tactics, as needed. Propose communications initiatives, secure internal support for them, and once agreed see them to completion
– Undertake missions and field trips with media and other official visitors, as well as short-notice missions to humanitarian emergencies and other situations as required, and represent UNHCR at media and public events.
– Facilitate the production of multimedia content for the assigned AoR, working with the Content Production Section within UNHCR¿s Global Communications Service as well as staff and freelance contributors.
– Seek opportunities for collaborative advocacy with partners, while ensuring UNHCR¿s distinct positioning and brand visibility.
– Ensure that media contact lists are regularly updated and that effective distribution mechanisms are in place for time-dependent communications products including press releases and statements.
– Ensure highest standards of accuracy and editorial content in all external outputs. Offer editorial guidance and coordinate training activities for communications staff.
– Continually maintain and upgrade communications skills, keeping abreast of emerging platforms and tools, and systematically reviewing media impact results and other measurement tools for learning purposes.

Additional duties for news and media roles within the Global Communications Service
– Oversee coordination of communications work for their designated regions and thematic issues, working closely with communications staff in bureaux and country offices and in collaboration with the senior communications officers/advisers in that region.
– Manage a wide network of relationships at all levels across bureaux, divisions and offices (including the Executive Office) to ensure timely internal information sharing as a foundation for grounded communications, and to build consensus around communications proposals.
– Maintain close involvement in communications recruitment and training needs for assigned regions, keeping in mind UNHCR¿s goals of employing and retaining the world¿s leading humanitarian communications expertise.

Additional duties for news and media roles within Country Offices
– Act as the primary interface on communications matters between their country office and the Global Communications Service.
– Supervise and oversee country communications team and manage related budgetary resources.
– Act as the lead for crisis communications work for countries in their region, alerting the GCS/News & Media Section¿s crisis communications lead to risk issues and ensuring close coordination.

Additional duties for news and media roles within Regional Bureaux
– Serve as primary liaison and interface for advocacy and communications matters between the Bureau and the Global Communications Service. Establish for the Bureau global positioning and advocacy priorities and timelines for these in consultation with Senior Management and assigned focal point.
– Advocate within Bureau for a positive communications culture that takes into account the political and protection landscapes for country operations and UNHCR¿s global positioning needs.
– Supervise and oversee country and regional communications teams and manage related budgetary resources.

– Lead risk assessments and discussions with team(s) to proactively manage risks and seize opportunities impacting objectives. Ensure that risk management principles are integrated in decision-making both at strategic and operational levels. Allocate resources for planned treatments with resource requirements in Strategic Plans. Ensure that risks are managed to acceptable levels and escalate, as needed. If a Risk Owner, designate the Risk Focal Point and certify that the annual risk review is completed and ensure that the risk register is updated during the year, as needed.
– Perform other related duties as required.

Minimum Qualifications

Years of Experience / Degree Level
For P4/NOD – 9 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 8 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 7 years relevant experience with Doctorate degree

Field(s) of Education
Journalism; International Relations; Political Science;
Communications; Public Information; Media;
Film / Video; or other relevant field.

Certificates and/or Licenses
not specified

Relevant Job Experience
Minimum 7 years of professional experience in journalism and/or communications, mainly at international level.

Depending on the specific role, the following areas of experience may be essential or desirable: Experience developing and implementing communications strategies. Strong social media presence. Experience working on advocacy campaigns. Experience working with goodwill ambassadors and other high-profile influencers. Experience with brand management. Experience with measurement and evaluation, especially providing analysis of media coverage, social media engagement, web traffic, etc. Experience reporting, writing, editing for magazines, newspapers and websites. Experience using digital asset management systems. Experience with digital analytics and performance reporting.

Functional Skills
CO-Drafting and Documentation
CO-International Media Contacts
CO-Strategic Communication
CO-Public Speaking
CO-Spokesperson skills
CO-Preparation of key messages/talking points/speeches
CO-Video production for digital platforms (including news organizations)
CO-Journalism (incl. print, broadcast, photography, video, layout & graphics)
CO-Digital content production
(Functional Skills marked with an asterisk* are essential)

Language Requirements
For International Professional and Field Service jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English.
For National Professional jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English and local language.
For General Service jobs: Knowledge of English and/or UN working language of the duty station if not English.


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