UN YPP Motivation Statement
As part of your resume-style profile in Inspira – UN’s online application platform –, you are required to submit a Motivation Statement (also known as a Motivational Statement) as part of your application. The main goal of this document is to give you a chance to introduce yourself and explain your motivation in applying to the UN YPP at this point in your career.
The Motivation Statement is a very important part of your application, and in this article we will guide you through the process of writing and structuring it to make sure you are well on your way to the success in the UN YPP!
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Our team has also developed a comprehensive manual (PDF eBook) to help you better understand the UN Young Professionals Programme itself and the stages of the selection process, allowing you to perform successfully in each of them.
In our eBook you will learn all the secrets on how to craft a strong Motivation Statement that will make you stand out from other candidates:
This article is only a small sample from the extensive content present in the chapter “Writing an Effective Motivation Statement for the UN YPP” of our E-Book.
Understanding Motivation Statements
A motivation statement is a document job seekers send to organizations with the aim of indicating the applicant’s interest in the job vacancy they’re applying for. This document also has to contain the reasons why you are applying for this job position/selection process.
In the UN YPP selection process, the motivation statement is a part of the candidate’s resume-style profile, serving as an introduction to the latter. However, make sure you do not simply replicate information that can be easily found on your profile. Instead, you should explain in what way this job opportunity aligns with your overall career goals, including a career or location change, as well as how elements of your personal character and experience will help you be successful when working with the UN.
In order to write a strong UN YPP motivational statement, it is important to know what the recruiters will be looking for, so here are some of the aspects the recruiting team seeks to evaluate:
- Competencies: Competencies may be understood as the candidate’s set of knowledge, abilities, attitudes and values. It is important for the candidate to show that they have the main competencies the organization is seeking, such as Professionalism, Teamwork, and Planning & Organizing. Since the United Nations is indisputably a value-driven organization, your personal values and the manner in which they are linked to the organization’s should also be highlighted.
- Knowledge about the organization: It is expected that the candidate demonstrates knowledge about the United Nations, such as its mission, its operational approach, activities, and main objectives (knowledge of the Sustainable Development Goals).
- Cultural fit: Showing sound knowledge of the organization is not enough. The candidate should highlight that there is compatibility between their values, principles, objectives, and understanding of reality with those of the organization.
- Communicative capacity: The motivation statement enables the recruiter to evaluate the candidate’s writing skills and their ability to structure ideas and coherently defend arguments.
When writing your motivation statement, take all of the aforementioned aspects into consideration and make them evident throughout the document when expressing three main things: your interest in working for the organization, the reason you are interested in the vacancy (or in a specific exam area, in the case of the UN YPP), and why you are a strong candidate for the position.
Structure and Content of a Motivation Statement
Choosing what to write in your motivational statement can be a challenging task, especially if you have experienced multiple and diverse professional/academical engagements throughout the years. This section will provide you with guidance on choosing the most relevant experiences to expound upon and the best way of structuring them in writing.
First of all, keep in mind that recruiters are primarily looking to read information that gives them a clear perception of the benefits you can offer the organization, if selected, and the ways in which you intend to help it to solve problems. To that end, a great way to display your skills and competencies is by choosing relevant stories from past professional or academic engagements where these competencies stood out. Remember to use keywords from the Competencies section of the UN YPP job opening for this part.
At our Online Magazine, we have an article only on competencies required by the UN YPP! Check it out here:
In chapter 06 of our UN YPP Manual for Candidates, we define what kind of work experience is considered as “relevant” for the UN YPP:
“Taking into consideration the UN recruitment guidelines, prior professional engagements are considered as ‘relevant’ if your duties are closely linked to the ‘Responsibilities’ outlined in the job opening you are applying for.”
When choosing relevant facts/stories to share in your motivational statement, take the aforementioned definition into consideration, especially if you have had previous professional experience. Keep in mind, however, that the number one stipulation for an engagement to be considered “relevant” in the motivation statement section of your profile is that it showcase that you have the competencies required by the job opening you are applying for. An important volunteering activity that you engaged in, for example, although not directly related to your exam area, could be considered relevant if you tailor the story around the specific required competencies.
Keywords from the UN YPP job opening can also be used to display your knowledge of the organization. You can even demonstrate awareness of any particular challenges or developments the United Nations is currently facing within the specific exam area you are applying for.
Please note that there is no single way to structure your UN YPP motivation statement. The fundamental aspect of an effective structure is that the logical sequence of the parts is able to tell your story. Also, know that long texts should be avoided—one page is a good length to tackle the main topics. The required length for the UN YPP motivation statement is 2,000 characters (including spaces).
Checkpoints for a Motivation Statement
In this section, some general checkpoints have been listed for you to pay special attention to when writing and revising your motivational statement. Make sure to go through all of them prior to submitting your final version to Inspira.
As far as “language” is concerned, here is a list of aspects you should pay attention to:
– Avoid clichés, idioms and outdated language.
– Beware of errors in grammar, use of verb tense, and punctuation. Show that you have an understanding of the language’s basic rules. If possible, use a spell checker or have a proofreader analyze your content when you’ve finished writing your motivation statement.
– Give preference to writing out the full names of organizations, positions and people.
– Remember to use the first person singular to describe your personal accomplishments and achievements.
– A broad vocabulary should be used, which is appropriate for the United Nations, the competencies the program seeks, and the exam area.
– Do not use words and expressions without being sure of their meaning. Although it is important to have an extensive vocabulary, it is a mistake to think that you should misuse elaborate words which are hard to understand.
– Avoid repeating words and expressions, as they make the text tiresome and unattractive.
– Avoid slang, abbreviations (such as “asap” for example), or traces of the spoken word (that is, informal expressions typical of oral conversations).
– It is recommended that you refrain from using general terms, which demonstrate absolute certainty, such as: “always”, “never”, “every time”, “undoubtedly”, etc. Exchange these for softer expressions, such as: “possibly”, “one can imagine”, “probably”, and “it is inferred that”, among others.
Read your motivation statement and ask yourself why the sentences and paragraphs are arranged in that order. If you cannot find a justification, it is likely that your motivational statement is not logically organized;
- Review your Motivation Statement
Doublecheck the grammar, spelling, verbal agreement, and cohesion, and especially check that the information is consistent with what you have put in your resume-style profile;
After finalizing your motivation statement, show it to your colleagues and ask them to provide sincere comments on its content and organization of ideas. In this way, any mistakes which you had not noticed in preparing the document can be identified and corrected.
Ideally, you should ask for the opinion of someone who does not have a close emotional tie with you or has enough maturity to be neutral, since, generally speaking, people who are very close are embarrassed about being critical, even when they have identified mistakes.
Getting professional feedback is a plus in competitive selection processes such as the UN YPP, and can highly increase your chances of passing the first screening round. That is why OpenIGO offers a complete Application Review for candidates applying for the program. You can find out more about this service at our online store. We can help you suceed in this competitive selection process!
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