I have worked 20 years in the Impact sector and spent almost 10 years at the UNDP as an international recruiter. I have seen all types of applications, and over the years I believe that I have developed a good feel for how an application should look, what it should include, and how it should be structured.
In this article, I will provide our premium members (Fellows) a list of 7 super tips, but before we get there I would like to provide some tips to you who dream about writing the perfect UN job application.
Writing a good application, irrespective of being an application for the UN or for any other employer requires time and hard work.
If you have found a job that interests you, before you spend more time on preparing your application, I recommend that you start to determine your eligibility for the job. Larger organizations often rigidly apply their minimum requirements and they offer no room for flexibility. If the requirement is 5 years of professional work experience, you will not be considered even if you have 4 years and 11 months at the time of the application closing date.
When your eligibility is confirmed, I suggest that you carefully read the section about Desired skills. This section is often placed just above the minimum requirement section in the job description. The items on the list are not required, however, they can help to guide you to better understand your chances to be short-listed and eventually invited to the interview.
Let's assume that you have no previous UN experience and you are now considering applying for a position in New York. For the job, the preferred candidate (given the desired section) should have previous UN experience. In this case, given the popularity of the job location, chances are that the employer will get several strong applications from candidates with relevant previous UN experience. If the example instead would have been a job placed in a crisis or conflict location, the number of qualified candidates with UN experience may be fewer.
If you still feel that your chances are good, I suggest you carefully read the section about job activities and delivery. The order of the items in this section provides an indication of what the employer values the most and considers as most important from you as a candidate. The first item in the activity list in the job description is the most important activity, the second item is the second most important, and so on. When you prepare your application, make sure to weigh your application so that it is clear that you have the skills that the employer considers most important. There are some articles written about techniques on how to make the weight of your application as smart as possible.
If you feel that you would benefit from some more tips, I suggest you log in to read my best 7 tips that will take your application straight to the interview!
Start making a difference by Henrik Ryden