Applying for a U.N. job / position

After my last post, I’ve received lots of emails asking me how to apply for those U.N. jobs.

I myself went through this process several times; therefore I would like to share with you how to do it, in a simple language. If you believe your work experience is suitable to work in United Nations, and if you ever wanted a job with different people from different cultures, you’re in the right place.

First of all: Bear in mind that it takes time! If you need a job right away, don’t put United Nations as your first option. Some of my friends who got positions in U.N. Security/Information Technology/U.N. Police (Professional Positions) reported a waiting time between 4 months to one year.. This happens because there are lots of steps to be followed and the process comprises different actors.

So let’s apply for your position:

Create your Inspira account

Open the U.N. recruitment system website (Inspira) in the URL:

Click in “register now”, complete all the mandatory fields and, voila!, you have your account.

The next thing you will do is to complete your profile: Personal details, family details, nationality of residence. Put all of your information there, no tricks, no lies. And if you ever change your information, update your profile! You will not want to be “unachievable” during recruitment process.

Once you profile is completed, you can start searching for jobs in your area of knowledge. I repeat: in your area of knowledge. Please DO NOT apply for a Human Rights position if you don`t have an academic/work background on it.
In the main page you will find this screen:

On the left, you can see the search engine. Try it out yourself; it is very and interesting to see how many different options United Nations offer.
Once you selected your Job Network and/or Job Family, Inspira will show you open vacancies, like this screen below:

The next step is to select one of the available posts and “APPLY”. This means you will create a new application. Inside Inspira website, they have a manual, which covers all parts of the application. This part will (and it should) take you most of your time. I used to spend two or three days for each application (around 2 hours per day – further I will explain why). You will need to fill: Screening questions, education and work experience, skills, references and a cover letter.

After your application was submitted, you should wait for the deadline. Other applicants will also submit their Curriculums and then U.N. will shortlist some persons to go to the next steps. If you are not contacted in the next month after the deadline, it is probable that you were not short-listed (U.N. will not send you any information that you were not short-listed).
If you were shortlisted, you will either be contacted via phone or email. In my personal experience, I received an email notification directly from the recruiters, asking for my phone in order to conduct a competency-based interview (in both cases) and a written test (in one of the positions).

The email looks like this:

After your interview, your assessment will be submitted to the Central Review Body, an independent group in United Nations that will cross-check all the information provided by the candidate and by the Interviewing Board. They will call your references; check your academic historical, and so on. The process aims to select the best candidates, but in my opinion it lacks a little of transparency.

Then, you can either be selected to that position or placed in a roster of qualified persons. Whatever happens, it will be good news, once next opened positions should give preference to “rostered” candidates.

Then, if you are succesfull, you will have a few more bureaucracy steps (for example, making and submitting health exams) until you start working.

That’s it. I hope this article can help some qualified persons to join United Nations.

The bottleneck usually is the application process. Some persons have more than one hundred submitted applications but they were never short-listed. There are a few points that the majority of candidates mess up. Please contact us at if you want personal advise or a review about your application.