Getting a Job in the UN

What is the UN?

The United Nations is an international organization that strives to maintain a peaceful and secure world through fostering collaboration among nations. Many Friedman school students are inspired to be leaders on a larger scale with organizations like the UN. When we talk about NGOs and non-profits, the UN is usually the first one that comes to mind. Today we are going to learn more about the UN and how can students get jobs there.

UN Infrastructure

The UN has six main principal organs: the general assembly, security council, economic and social council, secretariat, international court of justice, and the trusteeship council. Many well-known organizations fell under these six big categories. For example, the World Bank Group, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the World Health Organization (WHO) are under the Economic and Social Council. And United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Food Programme (WFP), and the World Trade Organization (WTO) fall under the general assembly. All UN-affiliated organizations have their own websites, and you can find general/secretariat job on the UN job website.

The UN job website does not necessarily include all the UN jobs. It is categorized into 9 job networks: Management and Administration/Economic, Social and Development/Political, Peace and Humanitarian/Information and Telecommunication Technology/Legal/Public Information and Conference Management/Internal Security and Safety/Logistics, Transportation and Supply Chain/Science. We suggest you check both the UN job website and specific UN organization career websites for job openings.


Here is a nice overview of job applications for the UN. Some highlights from this article:

  • Application process: Search for job –> Create profile –> Submit application –> Wait for Evaluation –> Complete assessment exercise –>Finish Competency-based interview –> Receive notice of selection
  • Many UN organizations require a motivation statement, and in the statement it’s nice to explain how you see this particular UN job relating to your career development
  • UN application windows are short and the process is competitive. Try your best and be persistent!

Entry Points

There are many different job categories for the UN, including the following staff categories:

  • Professional and higher categories
  • General Service and related categories
  • National Professional Officers
  • Field Service
  • Senior Appointments
  • Internships
  • Consultants

Internationally-Recruited Staff

  • Individual/Generic Vacancies, see UN career website
  • P-2 level job
    • Without entry examination: they are looking for individuals with 2 years of work experience (Master’s degree), 4 years (Bachelor’s degree)
    • No experience required if applying to the UN Young Professional Programme or Language recruitment positionsOther Personnel

Additional Programs & Opportunities

By Susannah Krenn, MA
Susannah Krenn, MA Multimedia & Communications Specialist