Working at the United Nations: Insider Application Tips

Original Blog Posted By the U.S Department of State check out more opportunities and advice there too


Credits : United Nations

Credits : United Nations

Interested in working with the UN or other international organizations (IOs), but wondering how to strengthen your application?  Competition is stiff with applicants from across the globe competing for some very attractive positions.  So what can you do to get your application into the hands of a hiring manager and ace that interview?  Just last month we had the opportunity to meet with HR officials from several UN agencies who shared their insight into the hiring process along with the following application tips.

Target your applications to jobs you really want.

Applying to UN positions can be time consuming so be selective and dedicate more time and effort applying to the jobs you really qualify for.  These organizations typically receive hundreds of applications for each vacancy and do an initial screen out of applicants who do not meet the basic qualifications including language, education, and years of experience.  Apply to positions you’re truly interested in and thoroughly complete your online application profile.  You may not have the opportunity to provide a separate resume or other supporting documents so take full advantage of the space provided to give the most comprehensive picture of your skills and experiences.  Don’t sell yourself short.

Emphasize teamwork in addition to individual achievements.

While it’s important to highlight individual on-the job successes, remember to balance your applications, and interviews for that matter, with concrete examples of teamwork and collaboration.  The organizational culture of the UN is more we than I and you’ll be a stronger applicant if you can demonstrate success while working in a team.

Focus on concrete skills and experiences versus aspirations.

While working at the UN may be your dream job and a means to further universal principles, spend less time expounding on aspirations and visions, and more time on concrete examples of how you can complete the day-to-day requirements of the position.

Language, language, language!

There are six official UN languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish), and the most competitive applicants speak more than one language proficiently.  Start brushing up on those language skills and, when completing your online application profile, be sure not to underestimate your abilities.  Hiring managers don’t expect every applicant to be proficient in several languages, but a demonstrated interest in and commitment to learning languages is an advantage.

Get out into the field.

Every single HR official we spoke with emphasized gaining field experience.  IOs want employees who have lived and worked in a foreign environment and possess the cross-cultural skills to succeed in a multi-cultural setting.  Be sure to include all overseas experience on your application, including study abroad programs.  Additionally, consider applying to positions in field locations rather than at Headquarters — there’s often less competition for these jobs and you’ll gain the field experience needed to be a more competitive applicant in the future.

Consider short-term contracts, consultancies, and internships.

Applying as an external applicant, with no hands-on experience with the UN, can be a disadvantage.  Get your foot in the door by considering short-term and consultant opportunities.  Hiring processes for such positions tend to be less cumbersome and time consuming, and the on-the-ground experience may give you just the exposure you need to gain familiarity with the culture and structure of the organization, build your network, and get your name and expertise known.  Additionally, current and recent students may want to consider internship opportunities.

For more information about working at the UN and other IOs, check out International Organization Careers, and follow @State_IO on twitter for more job tips and postings about vacancy announcements.

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Ranan Lurie Political Cartoon Awards by United Nations

Credits : United Nations

Credits : United Nations

Deadline: November 15, 2014

The United Nations in its desire to promote the highest standard of excellence in political cartoons depicting the spirit of the United Nations has established this annual political cartoon award given in the international field, and named the award after political cartoonist Ranan Lurie.

Ranan R. Lurie (born May 26, 1932) is an American Israeli Political Cartoonist and journalist, a senior associate at the CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies) since 1990, a member of the United Nation Correspondents Association, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Cartoonews, The Current Events Educational Magazine. He has been nominated to the Nobel Peace Prize by the Republic of Cyprus.


Entries for these awards may be made by any professional individual, and should consist of political cartoons printed in any publication published anywhere, in any language. The entry must consist of reproductions only. The cartoon reproductions will be accepted only as published, with name of publication, language, and date included, accompanied by a newspaper reprint, and translated into English. Exhibits are limited to two cartoons per person. Reproductions must be presented measuring no larger than 8 1/2 x 11 inches. Envelopes larger than 9 x 13 inches will not be opened.


The prizes are to be announced on December 15, 2013, at the Annual Awards presentation in New York. Thirteen prizes will be announced in the presence of the Secretary General of the United Nations, The Honorable Ban Ki-moon.

  • First prize, of $10,000.00 and a plaque
  • Second prize, of $5,000.00 and a plaque
  • Third prize, of $3,000.00 and a plaque
  • Ten honorable mentions, in the form of plaques

Application: Entries for awards must be received on or before November 15, 2014. Only copies (not originals) will be accepted for consideration. Entries must be submitted in writing and addressed to:

25 Columbus Circle, Suite 63E
New York, NY, 10019

The cartoon reproductions will be accepted only as published, with name of publication, language, and date included, accompanied by entry form. Winning cartoons will be chosen for their high professional standards in art, political analysis of events, projection of events to come, humor, while emphasizing the spirit and principles of the U.N.

For more Information and how to participate, Visit this Page

The United Nations Sasakawa Award 2015 Open for Nominations



Deadline: October 31, 2014


Nominations of individuals or organizations that are visionary and able to anticipate future needs are being accepted for the United Nations Sasakawa Award 2015 for Disaster Risk Reduction, under the theme ‘Shaping the Future.’


  • $50,000 to Laureate
  • Certificate of Distinction
  • Certificate of Merit

The prize will be awarded at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction to be held in Sendai, Japan from 14-18 March 2015.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Nominations can be made by – Former United Nations Sasakawa Award Laureates; individuals that are part of the UNISDR thematic platforms and other networks (this may include national or local government officials, NGOs, academic institutions, the private sector, regional organizations and those who took part in sessions of the Global platform for Disaster risk reduction; representatives of institutions dealing with disaster prevention and mitigation; and United Nations agencies, funds and programs and UN resident coordinators; permanent missions to UN offices around the world.
  • Nominators must submit a letter of nomination.
  • Nominees can be individuals, community groups, civil society organizations, government agencies at local or national level, NGOs or private sector entities.
  • Nominees must demonstrate:
  1. A distinguished track record.
  2. An understanding of impacts of disasters and how to manage the risks we face.
    The ability to transmit new insights and knowledge to the wider community on how to build resilience to disasters and live sustainably.
  3. The vision and charisma to engage the wider community in activities that help strengthen society’s ability to be resilient.
  4. The talent for making clear proposals and recommendations to influence disaster risk reduction policy based on evidence.
  5. The potential to shape the future of how disaster risk is prevented, reduced and managed.
  • Previous winners cannot be nominated.
  • Self nominations are not accepted.

The nomination letter must be followed by a package of supporting documents from the nominee. Supporting documents include – an essay written by the nominee describing the results of initiative they are undertaking to reduce the impact of disasters and build disaster resilience and the financial implications of the initiative that has been nominated. Other documents include (not mandatory) photos; power-point slideshow; video; books; character references; posters, pamphlets and similar printed material (excluding books).