After writing about her work experience in a Non-profit Organisation and sharing tips on how to get NGO jobs, Mridhula Sridharan writes about the most-sought after jobs in the international non-profit / development sector.
What are the different career options in the United Nations? What are the eligibility requirements and salaries for jobs at the fresher (no experience) and mid / senior levels.
UN Jobs and Careers in India
One of the most coveted organizations in the development sector, United Nations offers a fulfilling and challenging career for those lucky enough to get it.
I use the word lucky rather strongly here because nailing a job with one of the UN missions is extremely hard as competition is fierce and ambition aplenty, therefore a dash of luck is absolutely essential.
Why work for the UN
Even a behemoth like UN has its appeal. Reputation and honor, great mobility, higher salaries (some times tax exempted) are few of the reasons why people interested in development sector want to join the UN.
Ability to be part of a bigger purpose, intellectually rewarding and challenging opportunities and satisfaction of seeing results are other reasons to join the UN.
But be forewarned, UN like any other large corporation is bureaucratic in its nature and one has to learn to work the system to enjoy a successful career.
UN in India
UN has been in India since the time of its inception (India, being a founding member). The following are few of the UN missions in India.
UNICEF*: United Nation’s Children’s Fund’s works to further the rights of children, adolescents and women in India focusing on their survival, growth and development by reducing inequalities and increasing access to resources. Headquartered in Delhi with offices in Chennai, Guwahati, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Mumbai, Lucknow etc
WHO*:The World Health Organization’s mandate in India is to help the government fight deadly communicable diseases such as Malaria, AIDS, Tuberculosis and other deadly diseases that threaten the lives of millions of Indians. WHO also works to eradicate substance abuse and promote healthy eating and nutrition.Headquartered in Delhi
UNDP*: United Nations Developmentworks in areas of human development ranging from democratic governance, poverty eradication to sustainable energy and environmental management.Headquartered in Delhi with an office in Odisha
UN Women*: UN Women focuses on advancing gender equality in line with international priorities by helping member countries create inclusive policies for women. Headquartered in Delhi
UNESCO*: United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organizationfocuses on peace and security by encouraging international collaboration through science, education and culture. Headquartered in Delhi.
UNFPA*: United Nations population fund focuses on reproductive health of pregnant women and ensures survival of the newborn child. Headquartered in Delhi, UNFPA has presence in Maharashtra, Bihar, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan
*All information taken from respective websites.
What does a job with a UN mission look like?
Here are a few sample jobs within the UN in India as listed on the respective websites.
- Role: Project officers : Work with a ministry in central/state government
- Description: The mission is looking to recruit a project officer to work in tandem with the Ministry of Tribal Affairs to provide IT based solutions to tackle the needs pertaining to e-governance in line with the government’s priorities
- Qualification: Technical Degree (Engineering) with minimum 5 years of relevant experience
- Remuneration: 98,000 INR/Month (Taxable)
- Location: Delhi
- Role: Program coordinator : Work with a ministry in central/state government
- Description: The mission seeks to recruita programme coordinator to support the Finance Ministry in identifying priorities for Global Environment Facility (GEF) projects in general and smooth implementation of the GEF 6 cycle in India in particular.
- Qualification: Bachelor’s in Science or Engineering with minimum 10 years of work experience
- Remuneration: 1,76,000/Month (Taxable)
- Location: Delhi
World Bank (International Finance Corporation)
- Role: Investment officer 
- Description: IFC South Asia Regional Industry Team is looking to recruit a senior investment officer with significant local India market and industry experience to help grow and develop IFC’s business in South Asia. The position will be based in Mumbai, India covering IFC’s operations not just in India, but also across South Asia.
- Qualification: Master’s degree in Finance with CFA or CPA accreditation. 10-12 years of experience in the financial sector.
- Location: Mumbai
How to start a career with UN
UN looks for people with impeachable integrity, professionalism and respect for diversity. Depending on your role the following traits might become imperative:
- Team work and collaboration
- Technical Skills
- Communication skills
- Planning and organizing
For young and experienced professionals, UN offers a wide range of opportunities.
UN Jobs for freshers immediately after first degree
Young Professional’s program (YPP): The YPP is a gateway for qualified professionals to start their career with the UN Secretariat. Selection for the YPP is through an entrance exam, based on job requirements for that particular year. This year’s YPP exams are based on Public Information, Social Affairs Administration, Statistics, Finance and Legal Affairs
India was part of the YPP in 2013 and each year new set of countries participates in the program. YPP is meant for countries underrepresented at the UN, so it might take few more years for the program to come back to India.
Eligibility: The applicant has to be less than thirty-two years of age with a minimum of bachelor degree in the exam area you are applying for and a fluency in either English or French.
Interning with one of the UN offices is a great way to build your resume, understand how the system works and create a good network inside the UN.
Eligibility: Enrolled in a master’s or a PHD program or fresh graduate with less than 1-year work experience with a working knowledge of English, French or Spanish and willing to commit 2-6 months on assignments.
Sample interning opportunity:As indicated on the job-site.
- Role: INTERN – ECONOMIC AFFAIRS
- Description: Intern with UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific for duration of 6 months in Delhi. Assist with drafting and preparing official documents, create presentations, provide support during meetings, compile statistics and conduct literature review
- Qualification: Be enrolled in graduate degree program or final year undergraduate degree program with demonstrated ability to interact with diverse group of people and is computer literate.
UN Jobs for Experienced professionals
As an experienced professional there are many entry routes to the UN.
Job categories include:
- Professional and higher categories
- General service and related categories: Administrative and clerical roles
- National Professional officers: Similar to professional category
- Field Service: Work directly on the field
Professional and higher categories  have different grades with work experience requirement getting progressively higher. P2 the basic entry level requires a minimum of 2 years and P7 the highest level requires 15 years of work experience.
Professional category jobs fall under the following buckets:
Management and operations support; economic and social development; political, peace and security; information systems and communication technology; legal; public information and external relations; conference management; and safety and security. [As indicated in website]
Work in these categories generally requires strong analytical and communication skills, substantive work experience and management ability and expertise. These positions require ability to analyze and solve problems, think on your feet, understand organizational workings and local area knowledge
The most difficult part of getting a job with the UN is that the organizations expect a perfect match of their requirements and your experience either through education or real life expertise. Also keep in mind, considering the volume of CV received each day, employees going over the CVs will set aside those without exact requirement match.
For seasoned professionals specialization is the key along with a Masters degree and relevant work experience in the specified area. Embellishing the CV to reflect requirements is a big no-no with the UN as their interview rounds are extremely difficult with absolutely no wiggle room.
To quickly sum up the following are must-haves for a job with the UN
- Competitive and relevant CV
- Masters or PhD Degree: For professional category
- Minimum 2-3 years Experience in development sector
- Strong professional networking skills
- Strong English language skills and preferably knowledge of official UN language
- Chinese, Russian, French, Spanish, Arabic
- Ambition and Perseverance and lot of luck
- If you really want to work for the UN, apply and apply again
- Consider avenues wherein you can interact or meet fellow UN professionals, attend UN based events especially in Delhi.
How to apply for UN jobs?
Step 1: Research UN jobs in any of the website listed below
Step 2: Determine which UN mission you want to work for
Step 3: Determine your staff category based on eligibility
Step 4: Register for a My UN account
Step 5: Create your personal history profile, an online resume with detailed work experience information
Step 6: Work on your CV to match the requirements either through work experience or through online courses.
Step 7: Once you are ready, apply for the job online
Didn’t get a call back? Fret not. Remember persistence is the key. Improve your work experience and apply again.
As mentioned earlier, your CV must match the requirements exactly; therefore multiple attempts might be needed before landing that job!
Where / how to find jobs?
Here are a few sites to start your search:
- UN Jobs -> Unofficial site but the jobs are official.
- Devnet Jobs India/
21 thoughts on “United Nations (UN) jobs in India for freshers and experienced professionals”
Hi. Useful info. Thanks
Any pointers so as to get children involved from 7/8 th grade and above to participate in UN activities or programs. We r based jn Bangalore India but ready to travel for program or internship during school holidays
I I am Rajeswary. I am looking for a job. I having 4 year experience in nursing field. If have any rights to work in UN , I would like to work out of hospital staff. Please clear my my doubts
I’m pursuing Post graduation in Development Management . My interested field is children development . My thesis was based on children civic awareness. Now for future I’m planning to do internship in UNICEF
Hi, I a serving defence officer I have previously worked with MONUSCO. I would be retiring after 8 yrs from now. Can I get included in the UN roaster?
Hi, I am working as Volunteer special education teacher in Finland.i am 35 year old.i have bachelors in B.Ed special education and I am doing Post graduation psychology also. I have 2+ years special education teacher experience also.how Will try to get a volunteer Job or Internet in un India.please guide me.
Hi I am serving defence officer I have previously worked with special forces now I am in logistic corps . I have put in 17yrs of service and having adequate experience in adminstration and HR management in addition to supply chain management i would be retiring after 2 yrs from now. Can I get included in the UN roaster?
Hi.. I am Arief Ganaie. I have done Ph.D. My topic was “Role of india in UN peacekeeping operations in the Post-cold war era”. I have also number of publication regarding the UN Peacekeeping operations. Can you guide me how to be the part of UN.
I am Alpana singh,currently working in health care sector .I have 11-12 year of experience in various capacity in operation and training,education and induction & auditing.I have completed M Sc. Nursing.kindly suggest me job on my cepacity.Becouse im very much intreased to work in UN.
Being an ethically emotional person i have my one of the finest visions which i want to change with the help of united nations because those things are possible only through united nations which will make world a happy and prosperous place . i know it is hard for you to believe on anyone just on a statement and i also believe that my vision may look like a non upgraded vision as i belong to a developing nation,there is a possibility that some nations have already achieved my vision but then also individually i believe in my vision.This is my thinking but thereafter i thank you alot as you have given me the oppurtunity to share my ideas.Definately i am going to follow the job procedure but trust me being an honest applier i can assure you that my vision is not so worthless that it cant afford a single job.I COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND THAT YOU GUYS HAVE TO FOLLOW PROTOCOL BUT WE BOTH KNOW THAT IN SOME FIELDS UNITED NATIONS FAILED TO PROTECT HUMANITY.please dont take this as i am smart but there are few things which i would definately would like to negotiate with you.
I have just complete master degree in history and I would like to work for un ..what should I do ? Can you help me out with the list of internship programme where I can apply?
I am apply for UN job 98 time for technical side but no response,my side Experience Education everything is matched but no any response for 98 applied jobs , I am 20 years completed Indian Paramilitary force after 2006 i applied for Radio Technician post near about 28 job vacancy .
Hi there , Thanx a ton for the valuable info , I have been trying to understand how jobs at UN works since last one year , but u have clarified to d best . May I get in touch with u how to further understand what’s that I can go for any specific area as per my experience and qualifications .
I am working as a Govt. Of India Gazetted Officer with Engg. background. Posted at Kolkata at present. Served Pvt. Organisation for 5 years on Engg. Development and now serving G.O.I. for 17 years on Entrepreneurship & Cluster Development activities. I’m very much interested to undergo UNDP jobs for development of Rural & Poor people, mainly to witness inclusive economic growth and ultimate peace of society. Any sort of help and needful guidance in this regard, towards journey of UNDP, will highly be solicited. With unconditional & hearty regards ……
Hi, recently I am working with WCD/ ICDS, GoMP, Bhopal as state consultant, social development ( IEC/ BCC) under world bank supported project. I am having more than 25 years of experience working with public health , HIV/AIDS, WASH and nutrition issues through community mobilization /participation supported by GoI/ state government, WHO, Unicef, UNDP, ADB, DFID and World Bank etc. . I am finding new venue to work on similar issues in any part of India as well as aboard.
i am working as a medical officer in sncu in west bengal under national health mission of unicef….how can i be a member of unicef and work for children in the country n abroad….
Hi I Malik Mukhtar from jammu and kashmir state having high qualified. MSC physics and have lot of knowledge in education and public sector. Having 10 years experience in public sector I am presently Regional circulation officer for. . I am internally interested to do job for un NGO whom are working in India kindly appointment me in India
I am working in ICDS Delhi in women and child development department. I want to join UNO. Kindly suggest me how can I apply to get a job in food and nutrition related profile as I have done M.Sc in Food and Nutrition.
Highly informative Feel happy for having
got an opportunity to know abut the long longed information. Thanks. In fact I was very eager to work with the u.n. espeially during my adolescence and esrly adulthoodfor making the world poverty free with empowered and developed and happy women and men . Now, I a 56, and have recently retired from the government of Kerala service as Joint Director of the scheduled castes development department the department for the development of the down trodden people of the society the scheduled castes. Yet I feel that the experience in the sc development works will be beneficial for u.n. work. Would you pls NFO the possibilities. Thank you.
I have completed Masters in Counseling Psychology and have about two years experience in the field. Can psychologists work for UN?
I am Joe’ Pons, a French girl. I have done my LLB and masters from Paris in French. I completed my LLM from USA. Presently I am working in a law firm in Paris. I am relocating in Delhi since my fiance is staying there. Eventually, I plan to get married and settle in Delhi. Can any good human being help me apply for a suitable job in UN in Delhi? I know English and French fluently.
Sir/Madam l am Ll.B.Hons with 6 yr. Experience
I want a job on legal side in UNDP at Delhi.