Step 4. Strategically apply for UN Jobs
The very last step to secure a job at the United Nations is to strategically select and apply for vacancies which are:
- In line with your career goals (determined during Step 1)
- A good match with your background (determined during Step 2)
- Within the job category and level you fit into (determined during Step 3)
The following websites are of great help when searching for jobs at the UN:
- Inspira is the UN official electronic application processing system to be used for jobs search and applications;
- UNjobs is a website that publishes hundreds of vacancies daily (by copying them from other websites). Though the UN puts effort into consolidating all vacancies in one place (Inspira) there are many job openings announced on the specific UN agencies’ websites that can not be found on Inspira. Though UNjobs is not affiliated with the official UN authorities (and the design is not user-friendly), we still suggest that it may be a good source to look for jobs.
Before jumping into applications, remember: getting into the United Nations is a challenging but not impossible task. Below are our key tips to help you succeed in the application process:
- Apply to as many relevant UN vacancies as possible
Applying to many positions at a time could be a winning strategy. Due to high competition, only top candidates receive job offers, so relying on only one position could lead you to broken dreams. The more vacancies you apply for, the higher your chance to get into the UN! But remember that all these vacancies should be a good fit for your interests and credentials. Not sure what those are? Have a look at Steps 1-3 to determine how your ideal job looks like.
- Tailor your application form to every UN Job opening
Each vacancy has specific requirements in terms of candidates’ educational background, work experience, languages, and competencies. To succeed in the first stage, you should prove through your application form that you possess the relevant credentials for the job opening you are applying for. Do not waste your time applying for those vacancies where you do not meet the requirements – your application will be screened out.
- Put an emphasis on your unique skills and achievements
Instead of lengthy and general motivation statements, dedicate your time to describing specific and detailed examples of occasions where you demonstrated your skills and achievements during previous work engagements and education programmes.
- List your extracurricular activities
Do you have any skilled volunteering experience? Did you use to be the president of a student union? Include all your professional (!) extracurricular activities in the Employment section of your application form and give a detailed description of your duties. Such engagements strengthen your profile and demonstrate your compliance with United Nations competencies.
- List all your language skills
Fluency in the official UN languages is a competitive advantage for candidates. However, if your language abilities are intermediate (or even if you have just started to learn a language), list them in your application. Do not forget to include your mother tongue as well.
- Be persistent
Getting a job in the United Nations is tough, implies a lot of work and takes time. You should never give up on your dreams and remain calm, persistent and positive!