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How To Become A Junior Professional Officer (JPO) For The United Nations


The United Nations recruits Junior Professional Officers (JPOs) through agreements it holds with individual Donor countries and the UN. This program targets young professionals with an advanced university degree and who have at least two years of professional working experience. Some JPOs are from developing countries, and they are sponsored by Donor countries.

However, JPOs are typically nationals of Donor countries. If you are a national of a participating Donor country, you can contact that country’s ministry of foreign affairs directly. There are only a limited number of countries currently participating in the program, so check the UN websites for a list of countries that are active participants. Additionally, if you are from a developing country, you may be eligible for a position that is sponsored by a participating country. As of the time of writing, the Netherlands was the only country that was sponsoring JPOs from developing countries. There is direct application to the UN only through the Netherlands’ sponsored initiative.

There is usually an age limit of 32 for applying to the JPO (or Associate Expert) program, but that limit differs. Each Donor country may have its own limit. Checking individual countries’ ministry of foreign affairs website for that age limit is advised.

Each position opening has its own deadline to apply, so you can apply throughout the year, depending on the particular vacancy you’re interested in. If there are no JPO (Associate Expert) positions available on the Donors’ website, check frequently for updates in the future as the situation may well change.
Individuals are assigned to the position of an Associate Expert for one year. This might be extended, depending on funding from donor countries and performance.

Some of the eligibility requirements include needing to have at least a Master’s degree or the equivalent of work experience and a degree. Additionally, applicants should have at least two years of professional experience, but this can vary between participating countries. Applicants should also be able to speak either/both English and French fluently as these are the languages the UN Secretariat utilizes. Depending on the posting location, applicants may also need to have thorough knowledge of another language. Finally, candidates should have proficient computer skills.

Donor governments screen candidates and then submit a short list to the UN for further screening. The final interviews with the UN departments may be via phone, video conferencing, or in-person. They may be done only by the UN receiving office or as a joint effort between the Donor and the UN department. Candidates will then be informed of the final results.


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