Working at a major international organization is something that many people aspire to. The United Nations is certainly the largest and most popular international organization when it comes to job postings. In fact, the U.N. and its various agencies and sub-agencies throughout the world hire thousands of people each year. Does that mean it’s easy to get a job there? Absolutely not. Getting hired at the U.N. is no easy task. You will need to have a variety of skills and go through various exams and interviews in order to be pre-approved. Here are a few tips for those that would like to maximize their chances and score the job of their dreams at the United Nations:

#1 – Consider learning a 2nd language

This is one of the most important requirements at the U.N. If you go to their main website, you will see that they operate in 6 languages: English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian and Chinese. If you already speak English, consider learning one of the other 5 languages. Not only does this give you a better chance of getting a job there, but it will also give you a higher salary once you get hired! In fact, the U.N. has a benefits program that awards yearly bonuses to those that speak more than 1 language. If you already know 2 languages, consider learning a 3rd one. The more the better!

#2 – Have some international working experience

As an international organization, the U.N. values people who have worked abroad. Consider a small 3 or 6 month volunteering or internship program overseas, especially in the 3rd or developing world countries. Ask around within your school first, most colleges and universities generally have a department that can help students that want to work/intern overseas. You can also look online. There are many websites specialized in hiring students and young professionals for overseas opportunities.

#3 – Have at least a Bachelor’s degree

For most positions, the United Nations requires a Masters degree. However, a Bachelors degree with a few years of work experience is also acceptable. Having a major in international work, communication, translation or any related field is a definite bonus. However, this will depend on the type of position you want to apply for. If you are applying for an IT related position, you will obviously need an IT degree. If you are applying for a security position, you will need a security degree.

#4 – Pass the ASAT

The United Nations Administrative Support Assessment Test is a prerequisite for all G level positions at the United Nations. This includes positions such as: administrative assistants, IT assistants, staff assistant and other similar positions. Anybody can apply to pass the exam. You do not need to travel to New York to pass the exam. In fact, there are many locations in the world where you can take the exams. Ask your local U.N. office for more information.

#5 – Network with other U.N. employees

This is perhaps the most important tip. Since many vacancies are never advertised, it is extremely useful to know at least 1 person that works at the U.N. They will be able to notify if they hear that a position has opened. They can recommend you to their superior or to the person in charge of finding someone for that position. If you don’t know anybody that works at the U.N., consider joining online groups on LinkedIn or Facebook where U.N. employees hang out. Join the conversation and be pleasant. You will most likely meet a few people this way.

#6 – Apply Online!

Applying to jobs online is one of your best bets when it comes to being hired. The more positions you apply to, the more chances you have of getting noticed. Each U.N. agency has its own website where its own vacancies are being posted. You could go to each website individually and look for job postings, or you could go to a global website such as United Nations Jobs, where all the job postings are being extracted through RSS feeds from all agency websites and published on the site. The website is updated hourly and contains only the most recent vacancies. Good luck!

About the author: Jasmine Lee is a career blogger, passionate about international work. She has over 30 years of experience working at various organzations such as the United Nations, World Vision and Peace cors. She is currently writing articles to help people get hired by international organzations who often seem very hard to get into.


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