When to apply for a UN law Job or internship?
Firstly, it should be borne in mind that the intern recruitment and selection process is highly decentralized between the numerous organizations that make up the UN System.
Therefore, the application period, and other details related to a specific vacancy, or internship program, may vary. Generally speaking, there are four most common types of application period for the internship programs: a) applications always open; b) applications open on demand; c) applications by season and d) mixed applications. Further details about each of these will be provided below.
a) Applications always open (rosters)
When UN organizations keep their job applications permanently open, what they are looking for is establishing a type of applicant database, called a “roster”, where potential applicants are filtered throughout the year. Those who have the profile most in line with the agency’s needs are selected. Rosters are reserve lists composed of pre-assessed and eligible candidates who no longer need to be interviewed to take on a position.
The vacancies offered in this way usually have more generic requirements, which may attract a large number of professionals. Many of these programs establish a validity period of between six months and one year for applications. If applicants are not called within the stipulated timeframe, this means that your applications were not successful.
b) Applications open on demand
There are also UN organizations that open up selection processes only when they identify a need for this. Generally speaking, these vacancies have more specific demands, with regards to requirements and the application process. Therefore, participants should check the opportunities on the respective agency recruitment sites, and search for the vacancies that best fit their profile.
c) Applications open by seasons
There are also UN System job opportunities that open their selections at specific times of the year, giving applicants a specific period to apply. This is the case of the United Nations Young Professionals Program, for example, which usually starts accepting applications in June/July.
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d) Mixed applications
We should also mention that specific UN System organizations may offer internship opportunities that fit into more than one of these categories. This is the case of the IOM, UNESCO, UNHCR and WTO, which offer vacancies according to demand by their sectors, and they also have selection processes for rosters that are open throughout the year. Therefore, you should know the maximum possible about each agency’s specific characteristics, so that you do not miss out on the different opportunities offered.
How to apply for a UN legal job?
Generally speaking, there are three types of application for UN System jobs, namely: a) application through internship rosters; b) application for specific vacancies; and c) email application. These application processes have similarities and differences between them, which will be explained below. A common point is that they all require the online submission of the applicant’s supporting documents.
a) Application through job rosters
As mentioned above, the job roster is a type of applicant database that remains open to new submissions throughout the year. Usually, the applicants’ documents are available for the recruiters to analyze for up to six months. This type of application is made up of three steps:
- Initial registration on the system: requests basic information to access the site, such as: your name and surname, email address, password, and other general data for identification and contact purposes;
- Completing the personal/professional profile: this stage requires more specific information on your educational background, previous professional experience, language fluency, and other skills acquired;
- Document submission and sending the application: following the previous stage, you may need to send your CV/resume and a cover letter. Some agencies also ask for references/recommendation letters from former employers or professors who have worked with the applicant, and can confirm their competency for the position. Lastly, just submit the application on the system, which will be valid for between six months and one year, in the majority of cases.
b) Applying for specific vacancies
In relation to specific vacancies, the application process differs a little from the previous one. The following steps are required to apply for them:
- Initial registration on the system: usually a basic registration is also required to access the agency’s site, through general contact information and user identification.
- Research specific internship vacancies: you should research and use the agency recruitment site’s filters to find internship vacancies that match your profile.
- Complete the personal/professional profile: after you have found a vacancy that you are interested in, the applicant should complete the personal/professional profile specifically for that vacancy. We emphasize that, in some cases, completing the professional profile is independent of the vacancy; in other words, it may be carried out in advance, and be saved in the user’s account.
- Submit your documents and send the application: as when applying for the internship roster, specific vacancies may require the submission of documents (CV/resume, cover and recommendation letters, among others). After sending them, the applicant will be contacted, if they are selected for interview.
c) Email applications
Lastly, are the email application processes, which are much easier, compared with the previous ones. This is the case of UNRWA – an agency that focuses on the protection of Palestine refugees – in which the interested party should look for the email address of the desired unit (headquarters, field/country or representative offices) and send their CV/resume, a cover letter and, in some cases, a statement that justifies the selection of the agency and indicates which areas of activity they are interested in.
The following table presents the application processes, divided into the three categories mentioned above.
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Where to apply for UN law jobs and internships?
Many people think that all the UN System jobs are advertised on the UN Secretariat careers site, believing that this is the only place that advertises vacancies.
In fact, UN Careers is one of the main sites to advertise internship and job opportunities within the UN System, including various vacancies, not only at the UN Secretariat, but at other agencies (UNEP, UN-Habitat, UNCTAD and UNODC, among others). However, there are various other sites that applicants should also be aware of.
There is the World Bank Group site, and although many people do not know this, this organization also belongs to the United Nations System. The World Bank internship program is valid for three of the Group’s main agencies, namely, IBRD, IDA and MIGA. The other two WBG agencies, IFC and ICSID, have their own intern recruitment site
Another major site is the one of UNDP. It is a transversal site that includes internship and job opportunities in various UN System categories, and sectors of activity. The majority of the job vacancies available are distributed throughout the UNDP’s different regional and local units of activity. However, the site is also shared between other agencies, funds and departments to advertise internships, such as UN Women, UNCDF and UNOSSC, among others.
Lastly, there are various smaller agencies and funds that have their own sites for internship and job announcements. The following tables present the different sites that advertise UN System internships. (The list is not exhaustive).
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What are the usual stages of the selection process for UN legal opportunities?
1. Advertising period:
The time varies according to the agency and specific vacancy.
Automatic pre-selection of applications.
Analysis of the applications the recruiters have selected, and selecting the applicants for interview.
Held over the telephone, or by video-conferencing, to check the information provided.
5. Post-interview process:
Final adjustments and review of the applicant’s documents and information.
6. Contacting selected applicants:
Send a contract proposal by email.
In addition, in some selections, there may also be a stage called the written test, which is usually soon after the shortlisting, to confirm the capacity to write, summarize, demonstrate the applicant’s general knowledge of the organization, and their area of expertise.
What are the documents to submit for UN Job opportunities?
The application process requires you to submit:
- Curriculum Vitae (CV)/Resume/PHP/P-11;
- Cover Letter/Statement of Interest
- Proof of enrollment
- Academic transcripts
- Reference Letters
With the aim of highly increasing your chances of success in the application stage for UN jobs, OpenIGO Network has put together a thorough Application Review service for candidates, to help you prepare your documents to the best of your abilities and strengthen your application. Click below to find out more:
OpenIGO – Application Review