11 / Feb /2022

I want to join the UN, where should I begin?


I want to join the UN, where should I begin? How can I start my journey with the UN? UN career, UN applications, UN internships ? How do I grab the opportunities posted by the UN ? What should I begin with?

These are some of the questions that every UN aspirant has. The answer to all these question is, there is no golden rule or recipe but luckily some tips and tricks that are useful and can save you a lot of time. As one thing is for sure, the procedure is neither quick nor simple.

Depending on your ‘status’ there are various entry levels for candidates into the UN:

a graduate school student

a recent graduate

a professional with experience.

The typical opportunity with landing a job at the United Nations for the first category, a graduate school student, is an internship.

For the second category, a recent graduate, the Junior Professional Officers (JPO) posts offer a route into the UN.

To understand how to write internship application documents that stand out, one needs to understand the objective of the United Nations system internship programme; namely, which aims among others to offer graduate and post-graduate students from diverse academic backgrounds: to expose them to the work of the United Nations, its agencies; and initiatives such as the Sustainable Development Goals SDGs; to provide the UN Headquarters departments and UN agencies with the assistance of students specialised in various professional fields.

The duration of the internships varies from one UN organization to the other; the United Nations Headquarters Internship Programme for example consists of three two-month periods of the year: spring (mid-January to mid-March), summer (early June to early August), and fall (mid-September to mid-November).

Most internships programmes at the UN system are a full-time programme which means the interns spend five days a week carrying out their assignment under the supervision of a UN staff member.

When creating your cover letter for a UN internship you may also want to take the relevant UN skills and competencies into consideration. The UN differs between UN organizational core values, UN competencies and managerial competencies (such as e.g. leadership). And these differentiations are among others extremely important for your UN job application and UN system interviews.

As a UN employee its key to show commitment towards promoting, protecting, and fulfilling human rights for all. Achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment is a vital part for achieving both, human rights and human development.

Want to learn more on how to spot relevant skills and competencies in a UN system vacancy or the best method to convey your skills in a cover letter? Get in touch with one of our UN insiders through India's First UN Mentorship Program. Enroll today !