Guidance on how to apply for work at the United Nations
The United Nations was founded in 1945 on a commitment to maintaining international peace and security; developing friendly relations among nations; promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights.
The UN is active across the entire globe - from sustainable development and the environment, to humanitarian relief and peacekeeping, the UN and its staff work tirelessly to tackle the world's most pressing challenges.
The United Nations Secretariat is based in New York, but the UN also works through a whole range of programmes, funds and specialised agencies. Each of the organisations in the UN family performs different functions.
Why work for the UN?
A career at the UN requires passion, ambition and a genuine desire to change the world. Working for the UN is the best way to contribute to the crucial work that the Organisation performs, and in doing so make a real impact on on the fundamental issues that affect us all.
If in doubt about the importance of the UN, watch UNA-UK's 'UN Works' video. This should give you some idea of why the UN needs skilled, dedicated individuals to help it to achieve its goals.
This UN careers portal is designed to better equip those considering applying for a job with the UN at any level by providing practical information on the application process as well as careers advice from UN experts on how candidates can maximise their chances.
Use the navigation menu to explore the different opportunities available and explore the advice from UN experts in the interviews and career tips sections. We have also put together some 'frequently asked questions' to help you.
Who works for the UN?
Staff members at the UN are drawn from all 193 member states and work in a wide range of different roles in offices and field positions around the world. These include jobs in law, political affairs, peacekeeping, human rights, research, administration and finance . Follow the link to find out more about UN's eight job networks.
Whilst it's clear that the breadth of subjects and disciplines covered by the UN's workforce is huge, across the board the UN needs individuals who are dynamic, highly motivated, responsible and passionate about international affairs.
Routes into the UN
Applications for jobs in the UN system are made through Inspira, the UN's electronic application system - find out more about applying through Inspira. There are also several programmes available for young professionals seeking entry to the UN system: the Junior Professional Officer programme (JPO), the Young Professionals Programme (YPP), and the Associate Expert Programme (AEP).
The UN also offers a range of unpaid positions, including a host of internships and volunteering opportunities. An internship with the UN is the ideal way to gain exposure to the inner working of the Organisation and can be undertaken at UN Offices worldwide, as well as the wider UN family of organisations.
Volunteering opportunities are available through United Nations Volunteers (UNV). UN Volunteers make a huge contribution to peace and development around the world, whilst at the same time gaining essential experience and enhancing their employment prospects.
Working to serve the world
Want to find out how to share your skills and knowledge with mutlilateral organisations?
Working Globally is a group of organisations including the UN, FCO and the Univerities of Reading and Durham, that have come together to offer a range of online materials that can help you idenitify roles within multilateral bodies.
Details on the posts available, databases that individuals can register with and information on how to go forward for posts is available.
To find out more, click here.
UNA-UK is not an office of the UN and receives no funding from the UN system. We are not involved with UN recruitment processes and beyond guidance we provide, we cannot help you secure a job at the UN.
However, UNA-UK does employ permanent members of staff and hosts volunteers at its London office. Find out more about employment and internship opportunities with UNA-UK here.
Stay up-to-date with UNA-UK opportunities, activities, campaigns and events by becoming a UNA-UK supporter.
Photo 1: UNMISS provides training to combat gender-based violence, copyright UN Photo 12 May 2016.
Photo 2: WFP food drop in Bentiu, South Sudan, copyright UN Photo 21 October 2015.
- Conference '17
- Learn and teach
- What is the UN?
- The UK and the UN
- International Days
- Model UN portal
- Learning about human rights
- The UN matters: teaching pack
- Local UNAs
- UN careers
- Routes into the UN
- UN staff categories
- Applying for UN positions
- UN job networks
- Careers tips
- UN careers FAQs
- Audio and Video