sanjitbakshi united nations flag UN flag at the Calgary War Museums. CC BY 2.0

5 tips for getting hired as a UN consultant

We all have dreams, don’t we? If one of yours is becoming a UN consultant, follow our tips so you can land yourself the job that you’ve always wanted.  If you thought of how great would be to work for an international organization such as the UN and contribute to international development, there are several steps that you can take to pave the way of getting it.  What you need to know before you consider becoming a UN consultant is that consultants are experts recognizable in their field of work. Also, consultants are usually hired on short-term contracts. We hope the following tips will be useful if you have thought of applying for this position.

  1. Get a University Degree

If you want to earn a high position, like within most of the other jobs, the first thing to do is to obtain a degree in a field of work that you are devoted to. As consultants are experts providing high-quality services, you will have to get a University degree, preferably a Master’s, and specialize in one field of work. Also, there are numbers of free online courses by famous Universities that you can take and that are completely free. By passing courses like that, you can have some benefits such as learning by your own pace, it will help you to deepen your knowledge or maybe study specific topics that you didn’t have the opportunity to learn on the faculty that you attended.

Knowledge of languages is a must, so besides your native language and English, learn a new one. French and Spanish are always a good idea as they are widely spoken and are one of the official UN languages.

  1. Gain international and experience in humanitarian work

Don’t forget to be active during your studies and use the most out of it. Student exchanges like Erasmus and other programs as well as various internships and volunteer programs are highly appreciated. It will help you develop the ability to live in different surroundings, meet other cultures, gain strong competencies and develop sensibility and understanding for problems people have worldwide. Having experience like that will certainly contribute to your professional growth. Non-formal and informal learnings are equally important since they can complement some shortcomings of formal education. That is something the UN certainly values as you will have to demonstrate the flexibility and mobility throughout your work. Also, there are always chances that you can be sent on a mission to another country since the job positions are often international.

Look around you and find small local actions that you can get involved. By starting volunteering in your local community, you will learn what impact a small contribution of an individual has to the local problem-solving.

  1. Become an expert in your field of work

As the position of a consultant is not an entry-level one, having a previous demonstrated experience in the field you are applying for is a must. As you may already know, the UN is most likely to hire citizens of a country where their agencies operate, so you have to become visible in your local community and contribute to it. Whether you are a lawyer, social worker or an NGO project manager/coordinator, be recognizable in your area of expertise and advocate the values the UN promotes. Move around and find the organization where you can apply your knowledge, gain experience and new competencies. Grab opportunities to attend conferences, training courses, panels, and round tables and as many useful information as you can. Make sure to use the time at such events to meet other people in a certain area of work and carefully listen to experts and learn from them. Afterward, you can imply the acquired knowledge through various projects and activities on the local or even international level.

Bear in mind that most of the contracts as a UN consultant are short-term. Make sure to have a back-up plan after your contract expires. Continue being active in your expertise and working for benefit of the community. Eventually, it is what makes a difference from being good at some profession and being a real professional.

  1. Networking

Prior work experience is not only mandatory for acquiring necessary UN consultants skills, it is of high importance for broadening your network of contacts as well. There are numbers of UN agencies all around the world, more precisely the UN has its offices in 195 countries.  On a local level, government bodies and non-governmental organizations cooperate with UN agencies. By attending various conferences, training, seminars and involving in different projects activities, you may get to know some of the UN agencies employees. It is something that can help you earn referrals and get you closer to the job of your dreams.

As for any other job, use advantages of technologies and promote yourself on the Internet, become active on professional social networks, such as Linkedin, and connect with other professionals that you would like to collaborate with. Do not hesitate to share articles and contents that match your interest in order to publicly show your competences and expertise.

  1. Apply for jobs

You cannot just sit in your room, scroll down on Linkedin and wait for a talent acquisition manager discover you, right? The UN is not an organization that will search to recruit talents so applying for the advertised position is something you must do. The biggest mistakes one can make is not applying for the job. In order to become a UN consultant, you need to make a profile on Inspira Human Resources Gateway. Be confident and don’t question your skills and knowledge. Make sure, you fulfilled your profile properly. Try to precisely describe experience and competencies that you gain, as well as to put all relevant information in order to show readiness to accept such responsability that job as a UN consultant carries. When you get the invitation to the interview, don’t forget to be yourself, but also, bear in mind and convince them that you are the exact person for getting the job and show that you are aware of impacts that result of your work can make.

Remember, the Job of a UN consultant is like any other job so don’t let the sound of it scares you. Be persistent! Make sure you update it regularly. Maybe it will take some time until you become a shortlisted candidate or you may fail many times, but in the end, you can land yourself a job of your dreams. Eventually, it is a job that would change your life and life of people around you as well. It is definitely worth the effort that has been made on that trail.

About Global Peace Careers

Global Peace Careers is a website dedicated to career related information in the sectors humanitarian aid and action, international development, peace and conflict studies, negotiation, conflict resolution, diplomacy and international law. On our website we collect and distribute information about entry level jobs, paid internships, affordable master degrees, free online courses and other opportunities.

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