The Best UN Careers For Young Professionals

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Written By Toma Bonev






Working for the United Nations is the dream career of many young professionals; however, securing one is competitive and involves considerable risk.

Are You Pursuing a UN Career? If so, begin with internships and volunteer experiences before moving forward with relevant academic degrees and professional programs. There are nine distinct career networks at the UN which offer different hierarchies and areas of specialization.

Legal Network

The United Nations offers many entry-level positions for students and professionals seeking employment with its organization, although most positions require an advanced university degree and strong desire to make this world better. If anyone is interested in joining, two excellent programs to consider would be Internship Programme or Young Professionals Program (YPP), although careful preparation for competitive programs will be essential.

Northeastern University’s Global Studies and International Relations master’s program equips its students with skills essential to excelling in international diplomacy, humanitarian work, and respect for diversity. Students gain the tools they need to thrive in this competitive field, including an in-depth knowledge of international law and globalization as well as hands-on academic and service learning initiatives that allow for practical experiences amidst classroom instruction from faculty with decades of diplomatic experience who help hone their education to make a lasting impression upon employers.

While specific requirements depend on the network, most UN jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree in human rights, international law, political science or public administration as a minimum educational prerequisite. A master’s degree demonstrates to employers that you’re serious about joining this field and possess specialization to advance it further.

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Are You Passionate About Sustainable Development? Join the Environmental Network! Jobs within this network focus on issues like climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution while performing environmental impact assessments as well as offering advice and guidance regarding policy.

Security is another area in which the United Nations needs assistance, with offices all around the globe needing security specialists to safeguard employees and those they serve. Individuals looking for jobs within this sector have two options to consider when applying: SAFETYNET or LOGNET, with SAFETYNET roles more suited for people from military or police backgrounds than LOGNET jobs.

The UN’s IT Network requires professionals with technical backgrounds to set overall strategic direction for IT systems and infrastructure as well as provide necessary IT support for enterprise applications. IT jobs offer excellent career prospects for those with solid knowledge in computer science, information systems or related disciplines.

Logistics Network

For those with an intense passion for humanitarian work and respect for diversity, working at the United Nations could be your dream job. While it will likely take some time before making any meaningful impacts at the UN, you can build up your professional skillset through various avenues that can lead to full-time roles in its offices. Starting by volunteering or interning at non-governmental organizations; then researching departments and agencies you would like to work for in detail before finally applying full time with them.

The UN offers a range of employment opportunities, spanning entry-level junior professional jobs and senior management roles. Most positions require at least a bachelor’s degree, though some may require advanced degrees. Furthermore, fluency in either English or French, which are both official languages of the UN, is required of all employees; additionally it can be beneficial if employees possess some prior experience working within similar fields such as government or international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

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Young professionals looking to launch their career at the United Nations should consider applying to participate in the Young Professionals Programme (YPP). This highly-competitive program requires applicants to pass an entrance exam related to their area of interest; please note, though, that each year the list of countries whose citizens may take part varies.

Independent contractor work can also be an avenue into the United Nations; you will be hired on as an individual contractor for short-term projects lasting two to four years and offered competitive pay from this organization.

Are You Exploring Career Options with the United Nations, or Simply Exploring Its Structure and Culture? There are various resources online and in person available to you that will provide an in-depth understanding of their unique organizational structure and culture. Attend seminars or events held by UN to further deepen your understanding. Speak to people currently employed at the UN to hear first-hand accounts from them regarding their experiences!