Work for the United Nations

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Competency-based Interviews
UN Secretariat, Peacekeeping & Specialised Agencies
Internships & UN Volunteers
Young Professionals Programme (YPP)
Language Competitive Examinations (LCE)
Associate Expert / Junior Professional Officer (JPO) Programme

UN System Chart June 2015

Working for the UN
For the latest information on career and employment opportunities in the UN Secretariat please visit their official careers website since the Secretariat is only one part of the wider UN System, for job opportunities in the rest of the UN family please see ICSC Jobs page and the UN System website. For a statistical snapshot of UN job offers take a look at the ICSC Jobnet Statistics and Job Opportunity Links.

Competency-based Interviews
The United Nations’ greatest asset is the quality of its staff. To ensure that the very best people join the UN team we use a competency-based interview process. Competency-based interviews are also called “behavioral interviews” or “criterion-based interviews.” Such interviews are based on the concept that past behaviour and experience is the best indicator of future performance. In other words, your history tells a story about you: your talents, skills, abilities, knowledge and actual experience in handling a variety of situations and what you learned from these experiences. To learn more read here.

Competency interviewing questions can look like this:

  • Tell us about a situation when you went above and beyond your manager’s expectations?
  • Give an example of a time when you used your problem solving abilities to resolve an issue?
  • Tell us about a time where you had a number of demands being made on you at the same time? How did you handle it?

UN Secretariat, Peacekeeping & Specialised Agencies
The UN Secretariat carries out the day-to-day work of the Organization. From administering peacekeeping operations, mediating international disputes and organizing humanitarian relief programs to surveying economic and social trends, working on human rights or sustainable development and laying the groundwork for international agreements. Secretariat staff also inform the world about the work of the UN. The Secretariat consists of around 44,000 international civil servants working in duty stations around the world. Visit for a listing of global vacancies in the UN Secretariat, including UN Peacekeeping and Political missions. There is also information on career options, staff categories, how to apply, pay and benefits. To learn more about UN Peacekeeping recruitment go to their careers page. For more information on how to become a UN Police Officer visit the UNPOL website.

Global General Services Test (GGST)
Developed in-house by the United Nations Office of Human Resources Management (OHRM), the Global General Services Test GGST (FAQ .pdf) is a new supervised/proctored, computer based global test, which will replace the previous Administrative Services Assessment Test (ASAT). It is used to assess candidates during the selection process for positions in the General Service (GS) category of staff.

Specialised agencies such as UNESCO, FAO, ILO and programmes and funds such as UNDP, UNICEF and WFP conduct their own recruitment. For more information on vacancies in the UN specialized agencies, funds and programmes please visit the United Nations System Employment Opportunities website at, ICSC Jobs page or see a selection of employment pages for some of the larger UN funds and agencies below:

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
World Food Programme (WFP)
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
International Labour Organization (ILO)
International Telecomunication Union (ITU)
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
World Health Organization (WHO)
World Bank

Internships & UN Volunteers
If you are thinking of entering the world of diplomacy and public policy, an internship at the United Nations could be the ideal start for you. For information and links to opportunities within the UN Secretariat please visit for other UN entities please enquire with them directly.

In Australia there are internship opportunities in Canberra with both UNIC and UNHCR offices. For internships with UNHCR please visit their Internship & Careers website.

UNIC Canberra offers graduate and post-graduate internship opportunities, not secondary school. Qualifications in communications would be of most interest to UNIC.  A background in international relations would also be of value.

The duration of the internship programme is two months. However, interns are NOT expected to undertake the internship on a full-time basis. To qualify, he/she must have at least completed one year of their under-graduate degree.

To apply for an internship position with UNIC, please send a brief cover letter outlining your relevant interests and a copy of your curriculum vitae by email to with the subject heading of “Internship application“.

If you are inspired to take concrete action for global peace and development, take a look at the United Nations Volunteer (UNV) programme. Every year, up to 8,000 qualified and experienced women and men of 158 different nationalities volunteer at least six months of their lives to help others. UNVs work in 128 countries promoting peace, responding to disasters, empowering communities and helping to build sustainable livelihoods and lasting development.

Visit to find out more. Each year around 9,000 people also volunteer on the Internet through the UNV Online Volunteering service.


Free UNITAR Online Courses for the Public
UNITAR offers courses that run throughout the year or several times a year that are free-of-charge and open to the public. For more information about courses offered, please see below.

United Nations fellowships are a core component of the organization’s technical cooperation programme and are intended to respond to the needs of Member States for enhanced national skills development and training.

Their purpose is to:

  • Promote strategic human resource development to help countries reach national economic and social development objectives
  • Assist Member States address acute shortages in advanced professional skills
  • Build national capacity for development in areas that are of a high priority to Member States
  • Enhance national training opportunities.

The United Nations Programme of Fellowships on Disarmament
Launched by the General Assembly in 1978 at its first special session devoted to disarmament, the Programme of Fellowships on Disarmament aims to train and build the capacity of officials from Member States to enable them to participate more effectively in international disarmament deliberating and negotiating fora.

United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UN/DESA) Fellowships
Fellowships are awarded only to candidates nominated by their respective Governments and are not, in principle, awarded for the pursuit of academic studies leading to degrees or diplomas.

The United Nations – The Nippon Foundation of Japan Fellowship Programme
The objective of the fellowship is to provide opportunities for advanced education and research in the field of ocean affairs and the law of the sea, and related disciplines including marine science in support of management frameworks, to Government officials and other mid-level professionals from developing States, so that they may obtain the necessary knowledge to assist their countries to formulate comprehensive ocean policy and to implement the legal regime set out in UNCLOS and related instruments.

International Law Fellowship Programme
The Fellowship Programme provides high-quality training by prominent international law scholars and practitioners on a broad range of core subjects of international law. In addition, the interactive nature of the training allows the participants to share experiences and exchange ideas, which promotes greater understanding and cooperation on contemporary issues of international law.

The Dag Hammarskjöld Fund for Journalists fellowships
Fellowships are open to individuals who are native of one of the developing countries of Africa, Asia (including Pacific Island nations), Latin America and the Caribbean. For 2015 only, the Fund will not accept applications from the countries of the 2015 Fellows – Brazil, Ghana, India, and Kenya — in an effort to rotate recipient countries.

Reham Al-Farra (RAF) Memorial Journalists Fellowship Programme
The Programme provides journalists with an opportunity to gain first-hand experience in the work of the United Nations. It is also an opportunity to meet journalists from other countries and exchange ideas with UN communication professionals.

UNITAR Fellowships for Face-to-Face Core Diplomatic Training Courses
Fellowships are available for Diplomats from Least Developed and Other Developing Countries, Diplomats from the Group of 77, nationals from Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

The UNESCO Fellowships Programmes
Resolution 13.6 of the 28th session of the General Conference requests “…the Director-General to regard the National Commission as the official channel in Member States for the submission of fellowship applications…”. Thus, the UNESCO Secretariat cannot consider application from individuals. All applications must be channeled through the National Commission for UNESCO of the candidate’s country and without this endorsement no application may be examined.

Young Professionals Programme (YPP) – The UN is looking for highly qualified candidates who are ready to launch a professional career as an international civil servant. The YPP is a recruitment initiative through an annual entrance examination. The examination is held worldwide and is open to nationals of countries participating in the annual recruitment exercise – the list of participating countries is published annually and varies from year to year. For more information visit

Language Competitive Examinations (LCE) – The UN holds official competitive examinations for prospective translators, editors, verbatim reporters, interpreters and proofreaders in its six official languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

The purpose of these examinations is to establish a roster of successful candidates from which to fill present and future vacancies for language positions at the Headquarters duty stations and in the Regional Commissions.

The frequency of language examinations depends on the needs of the Organization. Applicants must have at least a first-level university degree and be 55 or younger at the deadline for submission of an application. For more information on eligibility and the exams visit the LCE page at

Associate Expert / Junior Professional Officer (JPO) Programme
If you are a skilled graduate with energy, enthusiasm and an eagerness to join the UN, the Associate Expert Programme may be the right route for you. The goal of the Programme is to provide assistance to developing countries and to offer graduates an opportunity to get professional experience in development. It is open to applicants from sponsoring donor countries. Only a limited number of donor countries are currently participating in it and their nationals are eligible to apply. To check, contact your Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For information visit or the UN Associate Expert website.

Should you still have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

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