Nepal's No. 1 Job Portal

How to Get a Job at the United Nations? (12664 views)

Anywhere
April 20, 2020

How to Get a Job at the UN?



The world looks to the United Nations for solutions to complex problems everywhere; from ending conflict and alleviating poverty, to combating climate change and defending human rights. The issues on our agenda are manifold and diverse as are the careers we offer. Among our ranks you will find staff members who monitor elections, disarm child soldiers, coordinate relief in humanitarian crises and provide administrative as well as logistical support to carry out our complex mandates. These are just a few examples amongst our many other equally critical and necessary functions.

UN application process

  • 1. Searching for job openings
    You search for job openings at the United Nations using the search engine on this website. Most job openings are for a specific position in a particular office and duty station but there are also so-called generic job openings, which are used to create rosters, i.e. pools, of candidates available for immediate selection across the Organization. Generic job openings are recognized by the following text “This Job Opening is for roster purposes”. Typically, positions in field missions are advertised as generic job openings. You can learn more about rosters in the section below, “Understanding Roster Management”. The application process is the same for both types of job openings, whether position-specific or generic.If you want to receive e-mails letting you know about newly posted jobs, you must first log into your account. You can then perform a Job Search that can be saved to create a Job Alert that matches your search criteria. For instructions on how to create a Job Alert, please see the Applicants Manual (section 5.2, page 55) available in .pdf on the top left of this page.
  • 2. Creating a profile and preparing an application
    A job application at the United Nations is made up of a profile section (My Profile), and an application form that includes a cover letter, all of which should be prepared online on this website (attached resumes are not accepted). When you fill out the information online you should make sure to click Save after each section before exiting the page. Also be aware that the session times out after 60 minutes of inactivity.In order to prepare an application, you must first register on this website (click here to register). After you have registered you will be welcomed to your Careers Home page, which is where you will fill out and manage your profile, application form and all information relating to your application(s). First you should create a user profile (My Profile). The information in My Profile includes your name, nationality, contact information and marital status. You can make changes, such as updating your phone number or family status, to My Profile at any time and the information is automatically updated on all job applications you have already submitted.After you have registered and completed My Profile, you can create one or several job applications. The application form is the part of your application that has information about your education, present and past jobs, experiences, skills etc. You can start preparing an application form without immediately applying for a job by clicking Create Draft Application. After you have entered the data you click Save to save the data without submitting. You can prepare, access, edit and save one or more fully, or partially completed application forms without applying for a job right away.Once you have identified a job opening of interest, it is recommended that you update the application to highlight important facts relevant to the job you are applying for. It is also important to accurately complete and update all the information as it serves as a basis for evaluating your eligibility and suitability for a job opening.After you have prepared the application and after you have identified the job opening for which you want to apply, you should write a cover letter in the section called Cover Letter and Additional Info.
  • 3. Submitting a job application
    If you want to apply for a specific job after you have filled out your application, you click Add job to application. Depending on the job you are applying to you may get a set of questions, which are yes/no, true/false or multiple choice questions. Similarly, depending on the position, you may be prompted with a list of skills and be asked to perform a self-assessment on these, giving an indication of your level of proficiency for each skill listed. Your responses will be used in the evaluation and assessment of your candidature.After the job application is complete, you submit your application by clicking Submit.The United Nations does not accept a resume as an attached document and it is neither considered a substitute nor a complementary document to a completed online application. If any additional information or documentation is required, you will be requested to submit it in the course of the application process.If you have submitted your job application successfully, you will promptly receive an automated acknowledgment by e-mail. Also note that once an application has been submitted it cannot be changed for that specific job opening.Each application you have prepared, and the list of job openings to which you have applied, along with the application status, is displayed in the My Career Tools page, which can be found in your Careers Home page. All applications you have submitted are listed under My Applications page with the appropriate status i.e. “Applied”, “Under consideration”, “Rostered” etc.
  • 4. Evaluation of the application
    Your application is evaluated in terms of experience, education and skills. Only if it is determined that you meet most or all of the requirements you will be contacted to undergo an assessment i.e. a knowledge-based test or another type of simulation exercise.If it is determined that you are not eligible or only meet some or none of the requirements for a particular job, you will be informed, at the appropriate time, that your application was unsuccessful for this particular job. In this case, you should not be discouraged but apply for other jobs for which you feel you are qualified.
  • 5. Assessment exercise
    The assessment exercise could be either a written exam or any other type of simulation exercise or case study. These assessment exercises are conducted in strict confidence and you will be informed in advance of the time, type and length of the assessment. If, based on the result of the assessment, you are short-listed for a competency-based interview, you are informed accordingly.If you are not short-listed for the competency-based interview, you will be so informed at the appropriate time. Please note, however, that the type and frequency of correspondence with individual candidates may vary throughout the application process.
  • 6. Competency-based interview
    The competency-based interview can take place either via telephone, video conference or in person. You will be notified in advance of the time, duration and means and/or place of the interview as well as of the names of the interview panel members. During the interview, we learn more about your combination of skills, attributes and behaviour that are directly related to your successful performance on the job. Read more about the interview in the section “At your interview“.
  • 7. Selection notification
    A pool of qualified candidates is recommended for selection following the outcome of the various assessment stages. Any recommendations are then evaluated by an independent review body, composed of staff and management representatives, to ensure that the applicable procedures were followed correctly.After the review body has endorsed the recommended candidates, a selection decision is made by the head of the department usually for one individual, or if several positions are available, for the corresponding number of vacancies.You will be notified if you are the selected candidate for the job.If you were in the group of candidates recommended for the job opening but were not selected, you will be placed on the roster for similar functions at the level and category of the job opening for possible future selection. As a roster member, you will be notified when new job openings with the same job title, level, category and job family for which you have been rostered are advertised.If you are not included in the pool of candidates recommended for selection, you will be notified accordingly.

Creating your job application

How do I apply for a job?

All job openings in the UN Secretariat are published on the United Nations Careers Portal. When you apply for a job, you have to submit an application in the UN online recruitment system.

Completing your Application

The inspira application is an extended online resume, specifically used by the United Nations, where you articulate your education, competencies, achievements and professional experience. The application is used to evaluate your eligibility and suitability for the job. It is your opportunity to tell your story in a way that demonstrates that you are the best candidate for the job.

If you want to apply for more than one job you can update and change your information in the online recruitment system before submitting a new application.

Understanding the job requirements

Make sure you find as much information about the job as possible and apply only to those jobs that are suited to your strengths and aspirations.

Preparing the Cover Letter

The cover letter, which you must complete when applying for a job at the United Nations, is the personal introduction that accompanies your application.

Your aim in the cover letter is to describe how your experience, qualifications and competencies match the job for which you are applying. Think of your cover letter as an opportunity to distinguish yourself from other job seekers by highlighting what makes you the best match for the position.

Your cover letter should be brief, three to four paragraphs, and as targeted as possible to the position for which you are applying. Focus on the most relevant parts of your background that relate to the job opening.

Application tips:

be concise.

Make your words count. Your use of language is extremely important; you need to project yourself efficiently. Address the job’s needs with clearly written, powerful phrases. Provide small, digestible pieces of information. Use action verbs. Avoid passive sentence constructions. Avoid clichés.

make the most of your experience.

We need to know what you have accomplished to have an idea of what you can do for us. Don’t be vague. Especially in your achievements section, focus on what you’ve accomplished and achieved, as opposed to what you do on a daily basis. Be honest. There is a difference between making the most of your experience and exaggerating or falsifying it.

target. target. target.

Be specific. If you are going after more than one job opening, customize your application accordingly. The system allows you to update it, so you can tailor your application for a specific position. The same applies to your cover letters – customize them for each application. Customizing the cover letter is the easiest way for you to demonstrate that you have clearly read and understood the job opening.


Pay and benefits

The United Nations offers you an attractive remuneration package with competitive pay and benefits. The level of pay for staff in the Professional and higher categories that are recruited internationally is set by reference to the highest paying national civil service. Staff members in categories that are locally recruited are compensated in accordance with the best prevailing conditions of service locally.

Professional and higher categories

In the Professional and higher categories you are normally recruited internationally. You will receive a salary which is paid on the basis of a worldwide scale and benefits which take account of your dependants and the cost of living at your duty station.

a) Base salary

The base salary, which is determined by the grade of the post specified in the job opening and by the existence of any dependants, is the same throughout the United Nations system.

Annual net base salary ranges approximately in US$:

37,000 – 80,000 for entry level professionals (P1 – P3)
67,000 – 106,000 for mid-career professionals (P4 – P5)
95,000 – 123,000 for senior level professionals (D1 – D2)Tax exemption
Salaries, grants and allowances paid by the United Nations are normally exempt from income tax.

b) Post adjustment

The base salary is supplemented by a post adjustment which varies according to the cost of living in the duty station and the exchange rate of the United States dollar. The post adjustment, set by the United Nations as a percentage of the base salary, ensures that all staff members at the same salary level have a similar purchasing power in every duty station by compensating for the differences in cost of living while taking currency fluctuations into account.

For example if your annual base salary is US$ 64,000 and the post adjustment multiplier for your duty station is 65.7%, your salary will be calculated based on the following:

Post adjustment per year: US$ 64,000 x 0.657 = US$ 42,048

Total annual salary:    64,000

+ 42,048
= US$ 106,048

To see the current post adjustment rates, visit the International Civil Service Commission website .

c) Other benefits

As a United Nations staff member you may also be entitled to other allowances and benefits including:

  • Rental subsidy if newly arrived at the duty station your rent represents too high proportion of the total remuneration.
  • Dependency allowances if you have an eligible dependent spouse and/or child(ren).
  • Under certain conditions an education grant if you have eligible children in school.
  • Travel and shipping expenses when you are moving from one duty station to another.
  • Assignment grant to assist you in meeting initial extraordinary costs when arriving at or relocating to a new duty station.
  • At some duty stations, a hardship allowance linked to living and working conditions is paid and where there are restrictions on bringing family members, a non-family hardship allowance is also paid.
  • Hazard pay and rest and recuperation break when you serve in locations where the conditions are particularly hazardous, stressful and difficult.

Holidays and leave
Depending on your type of contract, you will be entitled to 18 days to 30 days of vacation per year. In addition, the United Nations also observes 10 paid holidays per year; these differ from duty station to duty station.

You might also be eligible for home leave travel to renew your social, cultural and family ties in your home country; frequency depends on the duty station you are assigned to.

Health insurance
You will be eligible to participate in one of the United Nations-sponsored medical insurance plans. The monthly premiums are co-shared by yourself and the Organization.

Retirement pension
If you have an appointment of six months or more or complete six months of service without an interruption you become a participant in the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund. A compulsory contribution will be deducted from your monthly salary.

Field Service category

In the Field Service category you are normally recruited internationally. You will receive a salary which is paid on the basis of a worldwide scale and benefits which take account of your dependents and the cost of living at your duty station.

As a staff of the United Nations in the Field Service category you are paid

a) a base (minimum) salary and
b) post adjustment

a) Annual net base salary ranges approximately in US$:

31,000 – 54,000 for entry level Field Service staff (FS 1 – FS 3)
44,000 – 68,000 for mid career Field Service staff (FS 4 – FS 5)
56,000 – 90,000 for senior level Field Service staff (FS 6 – FS 7)

Tax exemption

Salaries, grants and allowances paid by the United Nations are normally exempt from income tax.

b) Post adjustment

The base salary is supplemented by a post adjustment which varies according to the cost of living in the duty station and the exchange rate of the United States dollar. The post adjustment, set by the United Nations as a percentage of the base salary, ensures that all staff members at the same salary level have a similar purchasing power in every duty station by compensating for the differences in cost of living while taking currency fluctuations into account.

For example if your annual base salary is US$ 42,000 and and the post adjustment multiplier for your duty station is 55.5% your salary will be the following:

Post adjustment per year: US$ 42,000 x 0.555 = US$ 23,310

Total annual salary: 42,000

+ 23,310
= US$ 65,310

To see the current post adjustment rates, visit the International Civil Service Commission website .

c) Other allowances and benefits

You may also be entitled to other allowances and benefits including:

  • Rental subsidy if newly arrived at the duty station your rent represents too high proportion of the total remuneration.
  • Dependency allowances if you have an eligible dependent spouse and/or child(ren).
  • Under certain conditions an education grant if you have eligible children in school.
  • Travel and shipping expenses when you are moving from one duty station to another.
  • Assignment grant to assist you in meeting initial extraordinary costs when arriving at or relocating to a new duty station.
  • At some duty stations, a hardship allowance linked to living and working conditions is paid, and where there are restrictions on bringing family members, a non-family hardship allowance is also paid.
  • Hazard pay and rest and recuperation break when you serve in locations where the conditions are particularly hazardous, stressful and difficult.

Holidays and leave

Depending on your contract, you are entitled to 18 days to 30 days of vacation per year. In addition, the United

Nations also observes 10 paid holidays per year; naturally these differ from duty station to duty station.

You may also be eligible for home leave travel to renew your social, cultural and family ties in your home country; frequency depends on the duty station you are assigned to.

Health insurance

You will be eligible to participate in one of the United Nations-sponsored medical insurance plans. The monthly premiums are co-shared by yourself and the Organization.

Retirement pension

If you have an appointment of six months or more or complete six months of service without an interruption you become a participant in the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund. A compulsory contribution will be deducted from your monthly salary.

Disclaimer

This information is provided to give a general overview of the United Nations conditions of service. The actual employment contracts of staff are based on the UN Staff Regulations and Rules, which remain the definitive source of any legal and administrative interpretation.

Don't have time now?
Get a reminder in your inbox