Working for the UN is probably everyone’s dream- at least it was for me. I remember telling my mum when I was in form three that I would work very hard so that I can secure a job at the UN after my degree.
What does it take to work for the UN?
The United Nations prides itself in having quality staff members and so they select the best of the best. To ensure they have the best people for the job, they rely on behavioral interviews where the past behavior and experience of an employee is put on the scale to determine how they fit in the organization. They base their criteria on the fact that your past is likely to tell a lot about how your future will be in the organization.
What’s in it for you?
If you are the kind of person who has a desire to venture into the world of diplomacy or public policy, an internship at the UN will be what you need to kick start your career . And guess what, no experience is required to enter into the internship programme.
At the United Nations you will have the opportunity of working with outstanding professional who can take your career to the next level. You will have the chance to attend high profile conferences, meetings as well as contribute to analytical work at the organization. And who can say about the experience you will gain?
Who can become a United Nations Intern
- To qualify for an internship at the United Nations you must be;
- Be enrolled in a graduate school programme (second university degree or equivalent, or higher);
- Be enrolled in the final academic year of a first university degree programme (minimum Bachelor’s level or equivalent);
- Have graduated with a university degree
- If selected, you must be in a position to commence the internship within a one-year period of graduation.
As we said before, the interview process is mostly behavioral which will be used to determine your suitability to the position and what you can offer them. The following are examples of interview questions you will be asked;
- Tell us about a situation when you went above and beyond your manager’s expectations.
- Give an example of a time when you used your problem solving abilities to resolve an issue?
- Tell us about a time where you had a number of demands being made on you at the same time? How did you handle it?
Tips on how to ace that interview
- One of our main goals of applying for either a job or an interview is to be shortlisted. Here is how you can ensure you are nail that UN interview;
- Ensure you impress the interviewer by telling them of real accomplishments you have made sating a specific skill you picked from that as well as the outcomes and what you learnt from the whole process.
- Ensure you are ready to discuss about your strengths as a professional and your ability to learn from past experiences.
- Ensure that you have mastered the competencies that were in the job description as this will come up in the interview. Prepare how you will show case your skills that relate to these competencies.
- Be prepared to discuss results and achievements from these competencies in a positive way and the challenges you have had in each.
- Basically your answer structure should be; situation description, action taken and results.
- Share only that information you feel is relevant for the internship. Some of us tend to go way out of the tropic trying to impress the interviewer.
- Learn how to listen without interrupting. Listen to the questions being asked carefully, answer them professionally keeping to the point and being as specific as you can be.
- I cannot insist on this enough, make sure you do some research on the department you will be interning in. You don’t want to look stupid when asked what you know about the department you want to work for.
- The last point is very simple-m practice and keep practicing. You only have one chance to make a lasting impression.
The United Nations internships last for a period of two to six months. They are unpaid and the intern is required to arrange their own travel arrangements and other expenses to the United Nations location where you want to intern. You can chose to intern in Nairobi or any other locations such as New York, Geneva, The Hague, Santiago Beirut, Santiago, New Delhi among others.
At the end of the day what matters is the experience you gain, right? With today’s job market, one has to start somewhere and most of the time this somewhere means an internship. And which employer wouldn’t be impressed if you present your papers as having interned at the United Nations for six months?
How to Apply
You can apply for the United Nations internship programme 2016/2017 through this link.