The United Nations Internship Programme is usually the easiest way for young professionals to start a career in the United Nations System.
The purpose of the UN internship is to expose young people to the work of the United Nations System organisations, deepening their knowledge and understanding of the organisation’s goals, principles and activities, and to provide them an opportunity to gain real experience within the organisation and develop their professional competencies in the relevant area.
The general requirements to get a UN internship are as follows:
1) Student/Graduate. You should be enrolled in a Master’s or in a Ph.D. programme, or in the final year of a Bachelor’s programme; or within one year after graduation from a Bachelor’s, Master’s or Ph.D. programme.
2) Languages. You should be fluent in either the English or French language.
3) Family. You should be neither a child or a sibling of a staff member of a UN organisation you are applying to.
Other specific requirements vary from one internship to another and are listed in the UN internship announcements.
The United Nations Internship Programmes are offered in the UN Headquarters located all around the world:
Internships in other international organisations are offered in various locations worldwide, which are indicated in the internship announcement.
To apply for the UN internship, you should register in the Inspira System and prepare the application form called the Personal History Profile (PHP) for the specific internship job opening. Available UN internship vacancies are listed in the Inspira system or on the UN official website. The PHP form includes a profile section (My Profile), an application form and a cover letter to be compiled and submitted online.
The selection process varies from one application to another. You can check the status of your application in your Inspira account. Please keep in mind that only successful candidates will be notified about further steps in the recruitment process.
Getting into the UN Internship Programme is a challenging but not an impossible task. Competition is fierce with numerous candidates from all over the world applying for available positions. With our tips on how to get a UN Internship, you will stand out among other applicants and land your dream international job.
Tip 1. Apply to as many positions as possible
Applying to many positions at a time could be a winning strategy. Due to high competition, only top candidates receive UN Internship offers, so relying on only one position could lead you to broken dreams. The more vacancies you apply for, the higher your chance to get into the UN!
Tip 2. Tailor your applications to the specific UN job opening
Each internship vacancy has specific requirements in terms of candidates’educational background, work experience and languages. To succeed in the first stage, you should prove through your application form that you possess the relevant skills and knowledge for the job opening you are applying for.
Tip 3. Emphasise your concrete skills and achievements
Instead of lengthy and general motivation statements, dedicate your time to describing specific and detailed examples of occasions where you demonstrated your skills and achievements during previous work engagements and education programmes.
Tip 4. Include your extracurricular activities
Do you have volunteering experience? Did you use to work in a local students’ union? Include all your extracurricular activities in the Employment section of your application form and give a detailed description of your duties. Such engagements strengthen your profile and demonstrate your compliance with United Nations competencies.
Tip 5. Learn new languages
Proficiency in several official UN languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish) is a competitive advantage for candidates. Brush up on your language skills and include them in your application form even if you have just started to study a new language.
Tip 6. Don’t give up
Getting an internship in the United Nations is tough, implies a lot of work and takes time. You should never give up on your dreams and remain calm, persistent and positive!