From Applicant to Staff: 3 Nuggets to get a UN Job in 2023

From Applicant to Staff: 3 Nuggets to get a UN Job in 2023

Tried endless searching.? Done many clicks on various UN job links? Have done many applications in inspira portal or unified volunteer platform? Tried applying for vacancies in Unicef vacancy portal among other UN agency portals? Has the result been a dead silence? a regret email or called for an interview but could not secure a UN Job?

You obviously have so many questions as a candidate why its difficult to secure a UN job. Its never easy to get a UN job, however, if you put things right there is a chance that you can secure one. This piece of writing below gives tips that could be useful in your journey towards securing a UN job. Patience , patience , patience is key. The truth is you may apply for so many times receiving regrets etc. This does not mean you must despair but you need to get a few things right.

From Applicant to Staff: 3 Nuggets to get a UN Job in 2023

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a UN Job

1)Required and Desired Qualifications

Have you ever come across a UN job vacancy that clearly stipulates the required experiences, required qualification, required languages , minimum qualifications required ?. Within the same advert you read indications on desired qualifications as demonstrated below:

 Work Experience

A minimum of two years of progressively responsible experience in political science, international relations, law, disarmament, security, development management, conflict resolution or related area is required.

Experience in political analysis and drafting of reports is required.

Experience working for the United Nations or similar international organization is required.

Experience working on Middle East issues is desirable.

Experience in backstopping of a field operation, preferably in a multilateral context is desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the position advertised, fluency in English (both oral and written) is required. Knowledge of another UN official language is an advantage.  

From the above example, a candidate should meet all the minimum required experiences, qualifications and skills set as indicated in the job description. Possessing desirable qualifications, experiences and qualifications is a bonus that sets you apart as a candidate. It is not advisable to just apply when you can do a self-assessment and realise you don’t meet at least the required qualifications. This is because a computerised system automatically scans the applications to pick the required elements in an application before being reviewed by human personnel

2)  Structured Masterpiece CV, Motivational Letter and Qualifications see our previous article

As highlighted above once you submit your application and the deadline of application passes, the applications are scanned automatically by a computerised system, before they are handled by those responsible for long listing, shortlisting and eventually interviewing. The system automatically selects applications that contain information that aligns or closely align to a job advert / descriptions of the requirements and/ or eligibility criteria.

It is therefore important,t at this juncture , to ensure that the structure of your application documents, i.e., CV, Motivational letter, professional certifications and academic qualifications, reflects information required in the job advert. Every sentence / words matter in responding to the job advert. An example to demonstrate this is given below extracted from an open UN Job advert , Associate Political Affairs Officer, P2 Position

Responsibilities as described in a UN job advert:

. Prepares summaries of articles from a wide variety of sources and draft a variety of correspondence, and sections of relevant reports.

• Monitors political, socio-economic, and other politically relevant developments.

In your motivational letter you need to indicate examples of responses like,  As a political analyst, with organisation A, I have prepared more than 15 summaries (for examples , factual information sets you apart) of articles utilising a wide variety of sources from interviewees, political commentaries, journal articles and news media.

In addition, l have drafted political, socio-economic correspondence of developments in country B or city C as well as sections of donor reports that outlines protection and promotion of human rights. Thus , l believe if considered for the Associate Political Affairs Officer position , I will contribute my skills set, knowledge and strategies acquired in my previous role as a Political Analyst.

I am knowledgeable and competent in monitoring political, socio-economic developments in city D /or country E . In my capacity as a Political Officer with Human Rights Organisation, l kept abreast of political and socio-economic developments through field visits, designing and conducting surveys, interviewees with political parties/ actors. As a result, l intend to transfer the experience gained to the position advertised.

An analysis of the above demonstrates that the candidate was utilising words as outlined in the UN job description. It is recommendable to utilise such a tact when responding.

3) Apply to Entry level positions

The catch in some cases is to apply for a UN job if one doesn’t have much experience, look for entry level positions like internships, P1, National Officer positions, P2 of Junior officer positions. It can even be prudent to go for UN volunteer positions, field missions, peace keeping missions. The design of the applications should be tailored taking into consideration the tips identified above, namely, submitting master piece CV ,

motivational letter and academic qualification that align to the job advertised paying attention to descriptive words / sentences outlined in the job description or terms of reference. Currently, top leaders occupying bigger positions in the United Nations now, have started through low level jobs and candidates should not shy away from applying to internships, volunteers and junior officer positions

Sounds like the three simple steps above were helpful?

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