How to get a job at the United Nations?

How to get a job at the United Nations?

Are you interested in learning How to get a job at the United Nations?. Read this article for more information.


The United Nations is a wonderful federation for people who desire to contribute to international developments and progressive causes around the world. It is obviously a highly reputed organization where people work together as a team to make better and significant changes in the world and has the potential to make life easier. What’s more? They have job options and opportunities for almost all adult age groups. All you have to do is meet all the job requirements of your preferred position. They also have various career opportunities using which can further your career effectively.  

To acquire a job at the UN the candidates should preferably be at least a degree graduate and they should have thorough knowledge about their preferred job description or category. There are many job categories to consider and we’ll be discussing those a little further in this article. It may not necessarily be an easy process to acquire a job at the UN, but with the right experience and suitable educational qualifications, it would most likely be smooth. Let’s now dive right into the topic.

Requirements for attaining a job at the UN

There are various positions and categories at the UN and the requirements generally are based on the position you apply for. There are a few basic requirements that all candidates have to meet. Being fluent in English or French is a must if you’re applying for a job at the UN. French, English, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Chinese are the six official languages of the UN. You be proficient in at least one of these.

Conversational skills matter a lot since this is an international federation. A bachelor’s or a higher-level degree is another such requirement. However, there are a few lower-level jobs at the UN that you can apply for with just a high school diploma. Previous Work experience in a related field is a necessity for most positions. In addition to these, the candidate should also be ambitious and competitive as the demand for most higher posts is significantly high. 

Steps to follow

The application process is quite straightforward. Primarily, the candidate should register to a “My UN” account. The next step would be to create your “Personal History Profile” (PHP) which will include your online resume, educational qualifications, work experience details, etc. let’s go through a few steps on how to proceed.

Research is of extreme importance

Hence, it is highly advisable to be thorough about the job or position that you prefer including its specific requirements and responsibilities. All the job details are available on the official website of the UN. You can also lookup UN jobs on employment websites. Search and find the right job for you matching your skillset. All the details are available on the UN’s official website. Look it up, do your research and find the best employment options available according to your interest and capabilities.

Make sure that you meet all the requirements

for the position that you are applying for. Prepare a relevant and strong resume. Make it crisp and clear and make sure to leave no room for confusion. For candidates who are looking for an internship, there are various opportunities at the UN. However, there is no stipend for all the options but this can be a really good footing for college students and other young professionals with flexible schedules and time. Additionally, some jobs at the UN require the candidates to belong to a certain age group so before you go ahead, make sure that you fulfill all the specific requirements.

  • The final step is to apply for the job that you prefer and wait for a response. Now that you’ve completed the application process your next step is to wait and check your email regularly. It would be wise to stay updated about your application progress.  

Additionally, there are various programs to aid young professionals at the UN. The following are a few of them:-

The United Nations Internship Programme

This has the lowest entry requirements compared to the others. This program demands the candidate to have a master’s degree or a Ph. D but, in some instances, a bachelor’s will do. The duration of the internship will be between two to six months. This is, however, not a paid internship but it can be a valuable experience for student interns. 

The Young Professionals Programme

This is an initiative for highly talented candidates who are willing to take up higher posts at the UN. This position has an entrance exam and training programs. This is a really competitive program and hence, the demand for the positions is quite high. Candidates who aspire to pursue civil service can also go for this program. The subject areas for the exam are according to the needs of the UN and the exam is held once every year. An important tip here is to keep yourself updated about the industry trends so that you’ll know what area to focus on when you prepare beforehand. This is a paid internship but you must be 32 years old, or younger to apply for the examination. 

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV)

This can be an excellent program for candidates who are professionally experienced and technically trained. Adaptability is however a requirement for this program as the volunteers could be asked to adapt to the different work environments. the volunteers are allowed to work up to 8 years and they are also paid for their service. The UN volunteers usually help with managing the elections and also various humanitarian programs and reliefs. 

The Junior Professional Officer (JPO)

This program is sponsored by local governments and the competition is really high compared to the former programs. The candidate requires to have at least two years of professional experience, should be proficient in any one UN language, advanced college degree, and should possess critical thinking capabilities. The complete term for a JPO is 2 years. This job too requires the candidate to be of the age 32 or below. Altogether, this is a wonderful opportunity for experienced candidates who are interested in multinational technical cooperation. 

Available staff categories and positions

It is ideal to have an idea about all the available staff categories at the UN if you are looking for a job. This will help you figure out which position will be the best suit you according to your interests, capabilities, and qualifications. The following are the different staff categories:-

  • Professional and higher categories (P and D)
  • General Service and related categories (G, TC, PIA, S, LT)
  • National Professional Officers (NO)
  • Field Service (FS)
  • Senior Appointments (SG, DSG, USG, AND ASG)

The applicable position levels are as follows:-

  • P -1:- No specific work experience requirement
  • P -2:- minimum 2 years of work experience required
  • P -3:- minimum 5 years of work experience required
  • P -4:- minimum 7 years of work experience required
  • P- 5:- minimum 10 years of work experience required
  • D- 1:- minimum 15 years of work experience required
  • D -2:- more than 15 years of work experience required

Why get a job at the UN?

The United nation federation is for those professionals who desire to become a part of international humanitarianism. Getting a job at such a reputed firm can give your career a boost. Additionally, there is a vast range of opportunities at the UN to further in your career while working towards remarkable causes consecutively. The work arrangements are flexible and there are also various extensive and professional learning and training programs available.

The UN pays generously and you will also get time-off benefits like personal days, vacation, holidays, sick days, etc. The employees also have advantages like pension plans, health insurance, maternity and paternity leave, etc. All the more, you get an opportunity to be a part of an organization that strives to make the world a better place.

How much can you earn?

UN remunerates generously as it is a highly reputed and extensively global federation. So yes, you can earn quite a sum. In fact, the average income of an employee at the UN is $55,000 per annum.

  1. Is it hard to obtain a job at the UN?

Well, it can get quite difficult if you don’t possess the required educational qualifications and work experience for the job. The competition is high and the skills set requirements are also quite demanding. Hence, it is advisable to apply for a job that is most suitable according to your interests, capabilities, skill set, and qualifications.

  1. How to prepare for UN examinations?

The recommended preparations are reading newspapers, magazines, journals, articles, etc. Researching basic theories can also be helpful. The key is to collect as much information as possible and be aware of all the current trends at the UN. 

  1. Is there any age limit for the Young Professionals Programme (YPP)?

Yes, the candidate must be 32 or younger to enroll for the examination.

  1. What should one study if they want to work at the UN?

Master’s in Environmental Science, Sustainability, Global Communication, Cultural Communication, Global Development Economics, etc are all suitable options. Choosing any of these can enhance your chances if your wish to work at the United Nations.

  1. Is the UN recruiting process lengthy?

Generally, it takes up to 4 months comprising the application process till the actual recruitment but it can possibly take even longer. 

  1. How can I ensure to acquire a position at the UN?

Along with the regular requirements, significant work experience in a related field can enhance your chances of acquiring a job at the UN. 


Working for the United Nations is one of the best ways to use your experience, skills, and capabilities to help others. Becoming a part of this federation can improve your work satisfaction as you are working for good causes. Again, with the right skillset and apt educational and professional qualifications, one can easily obtain a position in the organization. The United Nations are for ambitious and talented professionals who believe in peace-keeping and humanitarianism. If your interests are similar, then the UN is the ideal place for you. 

Important websites

  • The UN official website –

The UN job details website –

How to get a job at the United Nations?

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