Things you need to know before getting a job in the UN
The United Nations, with offices in 193 countries and 37,000 employees, is the world’s largest universal multilateral international organization. It encourages people from around the world to join its mission of maintaining peace, increasing human rights, and promoting justice, equality, and development.
Securing employment with the Organization can appear like a daunting task, but as the scope of its work is global and multidimensional, there are many various entry points for nominees of varied educational backgrounds and diverse professional experience.
United Nation System
The world looks to the United Nations for answers to complicated global difficulties. Working around the clock, the Organization’s 37,000 staff members help 193 Member States develop friendly relations, maintain international peace and security, promote sustainable development, and foster human rights. Among UN staff, you will find people who monitor elections, disarm child soldiers, coordinate relief in humanitarian crises, and provide administrative support to carry out complicated mandates.
The United Nations System is made up of the UN Secretariat as well as UN funds and programs such as UNICEF, UNDP, and UNFPA, specialized agencies such as UNESCO, WHO, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, and other entities such as UNHCR and UN Women. This series will focus on working for the UN Secretariat.
Working within the UN system, comprised of 6 main organs and offices and organizations around the world, is an exciting opportunity for many people. There are 4 main UN offices: New York (UN Headquarters), Geneva, Vienna, and Nairobi, 13 active peacekeeping operations, and 25 special political missions. The UN also has five Regional Economic and/or Social Commissions: the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in Addis Ababa, the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) in Geneva, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Santiago, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in Bangkok, and the Economic Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) in Beirut; 60% of the UN staff work in the field.
The UN provides an exciting and inclusive workplace in which diversity of cultures, genders, sexual orientations, beliefs, and other attributes are welcomed and appreciated. In addition to a competitive advantage and compensation package, the UN is also a family-friendly workplace, and staff are entitled to flexible work arrangements, maternity and paternity leave, family health insurance, a pension plan, and extensive professional development and learning programs.
Job opportunities at the UN
At the UN, there are 9 job networks and 45 job families. Job possibilities are available for people with all educational backgrounds, not only international relations. Whether you are a lawyer, political scientist, economist, journalist, engineer, architect, logistics expert, web developer, translator, librarian, or a recent graduate with little or no work experience, working for the UN could be an exciting career track if you want to make a distinction and contribute your skill to serve humanity.
You can find UN jobs and opportunities here.
Ideal nominee for UN employment
The UN is looking for people who truly represent the Organization’s core values such as integrity, professionalism, and respect for variousness. Prospects who are willing to learn new languages and skills and are open to working anywhere in the world or traveling at a moment’s notice will make outstanding employees of the Organization. The United Nations is also a geographically diverse working environment. People from all over the world are motivated to apply and once employed, they must show respect for various points of view and illustrate this understanding in their daily work and decision-making.
As a general rule, and in light of the international nature of the UN’s work, language proficiency is needed for all positions, in particular English and/or French, the two working languages of the UN Secretariat, as well as other language(s) that might be appropriate to the requirements of the job and the duty station. The six official UN languages are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
Tips for your application at United Nation
The UN categorizes its job postings based on the international nature of a position, the types and/or length of contracts, and the years of work experience needed. For young applicants with little professional experience, consultancy positions, internships and special entry programs such as the Young Professionals Programme (YPP) and the Junior Professional Officer (JPO) Programme are the most common ways to start. For those interested in working in the field, United Nations Volunteers (UNV) mobilizes over 8,000 UN volunteers annually to contribute to peace and growth projects, either in their own countries or overseas.
The United Nations obtains a large number of applications every day. Here are some tips to make sure your application stands out:
- Before you apply, find out what types of jobs match your education, experience, and location preference;
- Take time to make your personal history profile (PHP) in the UN recruitment system, Inspira;
- Create a job alert to automatically accept notifications for all applicable new jobs;
- Let your application tell the story of how and why you fit this position;
- Be sure to demonstrate your level of language proficiency for all languages that you read, write, speak, and understand;
- Be precise in your cover letter, double-check for errors, and express your motivation in a genuine and honest fashion.
Check this: How to make a winning application for UN jobs