Understanding ModernGov – vacancy

One theme that runs like a ribbon through this blog is the range of opportunities available for students with an interest and background in politics. Understanding ModernGov, is a training organisation that runs courses on government and policy topics.  Everything from understanding the Scottish Parliament,freedom on information requests,  inspecting independent schools and the digital marketplace for the public sector.  Now they are looking  for an ‘Account Executive’ to help in the day to day running of  these courses.

You don’t have to have a politics background – just  a keen attention to detail and the ability to articulate commercial ideas with clarity. It pays £18K,  is for an immediate start and has deadline of January 23rd.   Here’s an excerpt from the job advert

Your duties will include:

• Developing and building relationships with trainers and consultants • Enhancing relationships with existing clients • Accountability for planning, organising and managing of designated courses • Assisting with new course development and generating new ideas • Liaising with stakeholders before, during and after a course • Working with the Event Manager on event logistics

The successful candidate will progress rapidly to assume development responsibilities that involve the creation of new training programmes, account management of new and existing clients, working with the sales team in prospecting new clients.

With events taking place in London and Edinburgh, the successful candidate will have the opportunity to travel.

You will need excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, and an ability to prioritise work and meet deadlines and targets. Highly motivated with the ability to multi-task, you will need to have a proven track record of producing high quality work and display outstanding organisational skills.

Essential: • Strong commercial acumen and drive • Exceptional organisational skills and attention to detail • Excellent internal and external communication skills • Committed and driven individual with a positive attitude • Ability to work to strict deadlines under pressure • Good customer service skills and ability to work under pressure with composure • Attentive, proactive and creative

Desirable: • Interest and Experience in Learning and Development • An understanding of public sector training needs • Experience in Client Relationship Management

How to apply: Please send CV and a short covering letter (300 words max) to Joe Barlow – joe.barlow@moderngov.com.  Should you have any questions or require further information please call Joe Barlow on 0203 770 6601.



From Politics To Business Advisory

Maria DegnI spoke to Maria Degn, a Queen Mary University of London alumni who, after completing her MSc in International Public Policy in 2014, took up a paid advisory internship with Grant Thornton, a professional services firm. We talked to her about how her background in politics was a launchpad for her career (she has since been appointed as a full time associate).

Maria, you’re Danish so why did you come to London for your Masters course? Well for most Danish politics graduates taking a Masters in London is like a finishing school. London universities in general and places like the LSE have a high profile and reputation. I chose Queen Mary because I was particularly interested in International Public Policy and the Department had been highly recommended to me.

What caught your eye about the Grant Thornton internship? While I didn’t know much, if anything, about Grant Thornton initially the internship role was eye-catching because it was called ’The Future Leaders Programme’ in the Government & Infrastructure Advisory department. I quickly saw that there were lots of connections between my interest in politics, wanting to see the big picture economically and politically and wanting to work in a practical way. The Business Growth Service delivered by the Government & Infrastructure Advisory have a significant effect on SME business growth and we are therefore at the heart of the government’s agenda for accelerating the growth of the SME market. Lots of our work is funded by the UK government – primarily the Business, Innovation and Skills department. They are looking to support SMEs overcome barriers to growth.

How did your academic background prepare you for the work? I knew a little bit about consultancy work because I had worked as a messenger in a consultancy in Denmark but I didn’t have a commercial background and no work experience in the UK. However, my studies helped because I had developed research and analytical skills. Also I was able to use my writing skills to help me structure reports. You also get a good sense of how the economy and society works.

Can you say a little more about your work? The Future Leaders Programme is a six months internship where I have been given the possibility to work with different teams. We help SMEs to overcome their barriers to growth. I have been working with the Analytics team for example supporting internal and external research and the Stakeholder Management team learning how to build and maintain relationships with important stakeholders. Another rotation was in the Business Development team with a focus on access to finance. Many SMEs may flag up the fact that they need access to finance but are blocked because banks won’t give them a loan. In this case we would be able to flag up a range of private finance. We know about this market and can broker meetings between investors and the SME. We can also help SMEs make their pitch for funding. How to make sure they present their work in an interesting way, what grants and awards they may have received, what investment angle they take with potential investors. Other barriers might be around marketing or developing their business through new products.

Another area of work is around the processes underpinning the support programmes which I in particular was exposed to at my work with the Manufacturing Advisory Service team. We may for example have to provide information about the different sectors our clients are working in. Or create a stakeholder management plan identifying the key players  in a given sector.

In addition to the rotations I have also had the opportunity to be responsible for my own client in the Growth Immersion Project where we have gained invaluable experience through supporting our partner business. We have been to different personal development sessions such as coaching as well as being participating in Business Growth Academies where we learn about different commercial aspects such as branding, innovation and incubation. It has not only been day to day work but also a lot of personal development and experience.

Is the programme what you expected? It has exceeded my expectations – I have been surprised how much it has been possible for me to develop and learn in just six months. You get actual responsibility and experience as well as the company invest in developing you on both a personal and professional level. We’ve even moved offices from Euston to Finsbury Square so I’m nearer where I live. The training programme has been really good with workshops and visits to organisations. Most recently, for example, to Ravensbourne College on digital creativity. Finally, of course, I’ve been offered a permanent position and can start planning a future in London – in the long term I might want to do an MBA or professional qualifications.

Read more about Grant Thornton Internships at https://trainees.grant-thornton.co.uk/programmes/internships

And another useful site is https://trainees.grant-thornton.co.uk/future-leaders-internship

Deadlines for internships are not available yet but watch this space.

European Commission Traineeship…registration now OPEN!

logo_enThanks to my colleague Fiona Richardson for posting this. Don’t forget if you have access to our online library Careers Tagged you can find lots of  curated links to European Union opportunities http://www.careerstagged.co.uk/resources/european%20union/all/popular/1/all

The EU institutions offer 5 month  paid internships (called “stages”),mainly for graduates which cover a variety of subject areas and expertise (including finance, law, politics, education, audit and HR). Doing an internship in an EU institution is highly valued by employers, as you gain knowledge of how things are done in Brussels whilst making excellent contacts for the future.

For more details and to apply now click here. The deadline is midday (Brussels time) 31 January…don’t leave it until the last minute like everyone else!

So what do you do as a stagiere?

If you are successful in your application you will be working alongside officials on a variety of different interesting topics – this largely depends on the service you are assigned to but you could be:

  • Helping develop/research new policy ideas;
  • Organising/attending meetings with other commission officials or stakeholders;
  • Working in a translation service;
  • Doing some legal research;
  • Assisting in the work of the Commissioner Cabinets (similar to UK Private Office of Ministers);
  • Researching and compiling data or providing your colleagues with a summary of reports; or
  • Attending working groups in the Council of the EU and Committee discussions in the European Parliament.


Are you eligible?

The programme is open to graduates from all over the world who have followed a degree of at least 3 years in length (minimum Bachelors). Whilst the majority of applicants are those who have recently graduated there are also lots of people who apply after having already started their careers.

You also need to have very good knowledge of two official EU languages, at least one of which must be English, French or German.

Apply online here: http://ec.europa.eu/stages/index_en.htm


Best of luck with your application!

Opportunities with The Hunger Project

thpI recently met with Sophie Noonan, the UK Country Director of The Hunger Project, a global organisation that 30 years ago created the possibility that world hunger could be eliminated. It is active in many developing countries and now has a presence in the UK. It’s underlying approach – local people creating a vision, actions and commitments to resolve their own problems – does not mean that there aren’t ways of getting involved with The Hunger Project and its distinctive approach to dismantling world hunger and the issues associated with it.  We talked about ways to get involved during our conversation.

Sophie, how would you describe ‘The Hunger Project’s approach?  Despite our name we are actually concerned with all the Millennium Development Goals, not just those that concern hunger specifically. To do this we look to build capacity in rural communities. We worked with over 17.000 communities across Africa, India, Bangladesh and Latin America who we mobilise to establish what we call ‘epicentres’. These are buildings that serve as the base for the range of activities local people want to conduct. So far we have over 121 such epicentres with the aim of moving those that do exist towards self-sustainability.

The epicenter strategy has four phases that take up to eight years. Firstly, there is an initial mobilisation practice to break any mindsets of resignation, dependency and gender discrimination. In this first phase we are looking for key local individuals who will be the dynamic, responsive volunteer leaders – we call them ‘animators’- who can help develop self-reliant action projects. Local animators become specialised in areas such as nutrition, health, agriculture or women’s empowerment. The aim is to have clusters of villages overcoming any barriers and working together; this gives them the weight and size to work effectively which ultimately attract resources and gets them on the radar of district governments.

During the second phase, local villages contribute the labour and materials to build a multiroom building, the epicentre. This houses the clinic, food bank, microfinance facility that will be the engine of growth eventually, and a three acre demonstration farm as well as other facilities that a specific village might need. When completed, the epicentre becomes the seat of literacy, education and food processing in the community.

Phase Three is about the community developing the skill to run these programmes and track progress in health, education, water, sanitation and women’s economic empowerment.

Finally, in phase four, the epicentre develops income generating and democratic practices in order to achieve sustainable self-reliance.

The role of women is given particular prominence in the programmes. Why is that? Despite the fact that women in developing countries provide nearly 70 percent of the agricultural labour, they continue to account for over 60 percent of the world’s hungry. Given the opportunity to generate and control an income, women routinely invest significant portions of their income in food, healthcare and education for their families. Unfortunately, at the moment, the majority of women in developing countries lack economic power, resulting in a higher rate of girls kept out of school, minimal access to basic health care, increased HIV/AIDS prevalence and higher maternal mortality rates. Yet women continue to bear almost all responsibility for meeting the basic needs of the family. To break the cycle of hunger and poverty sustainably we start with women, mobilise everyone and engage government

Consequently, where we are supporting projects, we insist, for example, that the local committees have equal gender representation. In fact the only exception is for organisations involved with micro-finance where the committees are comprised wholly of women. The economic empowerment of women is a key part of our strategy and the financial influence they gain, the reading and writing skills, the social confidence and pride means they are having a greater say in the direction of their communities. In the area of nutrition and children the 1,000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s 2nd birthday offer a unique window of opportunity to shape healthier and more prosperous futures. By focusing on improving nutrition for mothers and children in the 1,000 day window, we can help ensure a child can live a healthy and productive life.

How can people in the UK get involved? Wherever you are we can get you involved in our army of highly committed supporters. At one level you can take part in a challenge such as the cycle, walking or running events, or create one of your own. ‘Live Below the Line’, one of the challenges involves living on £1 day and we have now developed a ‘Come Dine Below The Line’event. Raising money needn’t be miserable!

One of our supporters has taken on the challenge of raising a £1 million in 2015 (visit the 1000 by 1000 to End Hunger campaign page here http://bit.ly/1uvM39I)

We also regularly have opportunities for volunteers to help us organise events, conduct advocacy work, expand our presence on social media and, in the longer term, we would look to develop policy opportunities. Ideally we would like two days a week but the most important things is your alignment with what we are trying to do and an engagement over a longer period of time. If you are interested in these roles then please send an email with a little information on what area you might like to be involved in to sophie.noonan@thp.org

* Jeff Riley, the author of this post, is proud to be taking part in the 1000 by a 1000 to End Hunger Campaign.


Internships in Cyber Security

My colleague at King’s College London Careers, Fiona Richardson, has showcased this vacancy from the vacancy service run by The Careers Group, University of London.

Digital Shadows provide cyber monitoring and threat intelligence services to high profile organisations. They are currently recruiting a number of interns and the positions are paid too.  this is what they say about themselves……

We’re an award winning start-up, and since being founded in 2011 we haven’t stopped growing. We’ve got ambitious growth plans for 2015, and we’re seeking exceptional individuals to join us on our journey as we grow our UK operation, and expand to the US.

At the centre of what we do are our intelligence analysts. They piece together nebulous nuggets of information. They seek answers where others seek shortcuts. They don’t believe the obvious narrative, they question speculation, and always critically review evidence. They strive to inform our clients of the threats facing them, and are passionate about the subjects which they cover.

To assist with our growth, we’re looking to recruit several interns to assist our intelligence analysts. We’ll offer you a unique insight to the intelligence and cyber security world. You’ll have the opportunity to work on live client facing projects, and your contribution will make a real difference.

We’re flexible on commitment, can accommodate both full time positions and part time for those still studying. The scheme runs for three months, and is based in our Canary Wharf offices. Upon completion there may be opportunities for further employment here in London, or potentially San Francisco.

If you think this is for you, we’re accepting applications until 6pm on 30th January 2015. For more information on applying for internships with us, check out the Intelligence Analyst blog series on our website

For full details and a person specification go to JobOnline.

British Council. Study, Work, Create

The British Council offer a range of programmes that give students the vital international experience they need that is a key element of those developing a career in international development. The programmes are equally good for those looking to get the international experience needed for a range of politics related careers as well. I recently attended a presentation from the British Council that was an opportunity to find out in a comprehensive way about the growing array of opportunities offered under the banner of ‘Study, Work, Create’ for university students and recent graduates. Through programmes all over the world they have opportunities for 30,000 UK students to experience ‘abroad’ through work or study or creative roles. Opportunities range from study or work in China or Indian, teaching opportunities in places such as Mexico and Latin America and Thailand.  The British Council also offer an excellent graduate programme which will involve international postings as well as UK based internship programmes

John Worne, the director strategy of the British Council outlined the UK’s global profile and stressed how the British Council’s mission is to ensure that the ‘brand’ remains strong. They are experts in understanding how the UK is seen in different parts of the world and their programmes are partly designed to help create positive connections between the UK and the rest of the world.

John pointed out that the UK is one of the most globally connected countries in the world through its culture, aid and trade. He also made an interesting point that the perception of the UK is increasingly made through less official channels rather than highly managed government channels.

A recent survey by the British Council of young people in BRICS countries found that the UK was highly thought of for such things as its higher education (yay!) and the personal contacts people have there. British people are seen as trustworthy as well. Valued assets include our Royal Family, our universities (twice yay!) our culture and our history.   These kinds of surveys enable the British Council to equip the students they send abroad on their programmes with an understanding of other countries and how Britain and British people are perceived by them. For example Britain scores unusually low on trust in Turkey. It surprised the British Council when they explored this and established that this lack of trust went back to Britain’s role in the First World War. Being sensitive to this perception helps British people on their programmes in Turkey build relationships.


Two different programmes

  • ERASMUS Plus. This is The EU’s new programme for education, training, sport and youth running until 2020. Higher education is a distinct part of this. Around 30,000 students from the UK take part of their degree in the EU – half of these are studying through Erasmus plus supportThe HE opportunity comprises 3 to 12 months in one of 33 participating countries – the EU countries plus others such as Norway, Turkey and Macedonia. Students must be have completed the first year of their study and the programme is open to all students including international students. One of the reasons the UK provides less applicants than other countries is because students are concerned about their language skills. However many Erasmus accredited courses are taken in English. To be approved Erasmus course placements must count towards students degrees. Universities apply for funding by each March and students typically apply to their colleges between December and March for an Erasmus programme in the following academic year.
  • Erasmus Work Placements – minimum is for 2 months but must be integrated and relevant to the course – students may need to persuade their academic authorities the relevance of the work experience to the academic course.

IAESTE  Founded at Imperial 65 years ago. Huge international exchange programme managed in the UK by the British council. Aims to provide employers and universities with highly skilled and motivated trainees. For science engineering, technology and applied arts eg Architecture For students in 2nd year onwards. Deadline December each year. 1300 applicants from the UK for 150 placements. Placements begin in the summer. Placements are paid £234 per week, with placements running from 6 weeks to one year. Students have to pay travel and admin fee along with associated costs. On return there are opportunities to serve on student run committees.

Language Assistant Programme  A paid bi-lateral programme (€700 per month) to teach in 14 countries across the world – China Latin America and others. Assistants serve as an additional resource for the qualified teachers in schools. What they offer isn’t, however, just about teaching but they operate as a channel for knowledge and awareness of the UK. Informing lessons with an intimate awareness of the UK. You will need a B1 level of the host language though not in China where no Chinese language skills are expected..

Requirements: Native level English. UK / EU Citizenship. Secondary education in UK. HE in UK – two years completed. Deadline 19 December each year.   www.Britishcouncil.org/language-assistants


Costs Travel / interviews; medical travel insurance; possibly visa costs; police checks (costs £60); accommodation – via host families for example

Funding via Erasmus grants – contact Erasmus coordinators in your university. Typically found in the college international office.

Support Pre-departure packs – contact details, how to prepare, previous assistants biographies; briefings; teaching resources; induction course in-country; mentor for the year

Generation UK – China

  • Academic scholarships for British Passport holders to mainland China from one semester to one year. Current or recent students. Typically those about to graduate. Non accredited but exam can be taken at the end in Chinese proficiency which would be a useful addition to a CV.
  • Work – internships. Need to be on maintenance grant. Academic achievement. Could be Chinese or international company. Six cities and a range of placements. Lots of funding support including accommodation but no stipend or flights

Generation UK – India  Not an exact parallel to the Generation UK – China programme. 25,000 going to India to gain skills and experience an expansion of the study India programme (see previous posts ). Programmes comprise a cultural immersion element- including a focus on such things  entrepreneurship and manufacturing;  400 teaching assistant placements (not just English but subject teaching) and extra curricular experiences. Two months from July or six months from October. There are also 100 work placements in both corporate and government sector. Internships last for 2 months.

Thailand English teaching programme (TET) This programme provides opportunities for students to work as assistants in rural schools.  Ranges from 9 weeks summer placements or full terms. Lots of challenges for students on the programme. This is rural Thailand not sophisticated Bangkok – very few people know English and you will face rural conditions. However you will have enthusiastic learners because English, for Thai people, is an important subject. The programme is great for those wanting to establish teaching credentials or needing to demonstrate and obtain international experience

ETAs support language programme in schools and the school’s extra curricular events It is designed to enhance or provide an understanding of the UK and Europe and to motivate school pupils to study English

Applicants should have interest in languages and good interpersonal skills and evidence of resourcefulness. Those taking the longer placements need a degree in education or English language. The programme is also open to CELTA or Trinity ‘Teaching English as a Foreign Language’ graduates. Those with previous TEFL experience can also apply without the relevant degree subjects specified above. You will need, however, to be a native English speaker or have English at IELTS band 7 or above and a UK or EU passport

Cost  Fees £200 or £450 for the longer programme; air fares; visa; police check (you will be working with children); insurance and vaccinations; personal expenses for first month. You will receive a monthly stipend £200 per month; free transport; Lunch; accommodation

The British Council as an employer  In addition to their international programmes the British Council also recruit students for both internships and for a graduate scheme.

Graduate scheme A 3 year programme with10-15 places . While the first year will be UK based most of the programme will be international. UK Passport holders only  Applicants  must have international experience as some of the locations British Council staff work in are ‘difficult’. Will need English plus one additional language at proficiency level. Locations for overseas postings include Pakistan Qatar, Libya, Russia, Mexico

Summer internship in the UK – 10-12 placements across the whole range of work the British Council is involved with and interns have been involved with interesting projects including film making and communications.


UNHCR Internships

Thanks to Fiona Richardson from King’s College for picking up this UNHCR development.  (Don’t forget to search this blog for UNHCR posts)

UNHCR London offer a range of internships for recent graduates, however UNHCR’s Private Sector Fundraising department  previously based in London, will  now be relocating to Copenhagen, Denmark as of January 2015.  For this reason, we will be recruiting two new interns to work in our new UN city office which hosts 9 other UN agencies. The new offices can be viewed here http://un.dk/en/node/17


Below are further details about the two internships:

Fundraising  Communications Internship



Emergency Fundraising Campaigns Internship


Deadline:  12 December 2014 (midnight)

How to apply: send a cover letter and CV to eccasst@unhcr.org

Requirements: applicants must be available to work for a period of six months and must be eligible to work in the EU.

The internship is unpaid.

Paid roles that help develop your career

The National Citzen Service is the UK based version of the International Citizen Service (blogged about regularly on these pages).  While the National programme itself is for 16 and 17 year olds there are PAID opportunities available in the summer of 2015 to help deliver the UK programme.  This could be working as a mentor, running workshops on different areas of expertise or helping at outward bound projects. 

The Challenge Network are  looking for paid staff to work on the programme. This is a fantastic opportunity to work in a growing, vibrant organisation, alongside groups of young people, motivating and leading them to strengthen their communities. It would provide valuable and tangible hands on  experience to anyone interested in a career in policy, charities, NGOs, social enterprise or government.

Applications are now open  so please be sure to check out their website and JobOnline and apply ASAP. Please note applications to either ‘Merton, Richmond and Kingston’ or ‘Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham and Wandsworth’ will be fast tracked.

UN Careers: Part Two, Unpicking the Process

So you’ve read Part One, Have You Got What it Takes by my colleague Heather Campbell.  Here’s part 2 of her post from a recent talk we attended at SOAS. You can read lots more links to UN careers material at careerstagged.co.uk

“You’ve decided you really do want to work for the UN. So what are your options? First of all, each individual UN agency will have its own vacancies throughout the year, so it’s definitely worth taking the time to research your options. Many people will simply apply for the Secretariat because they think this is where the important work is done (or they want to go to New York!). But the agencies are just as important as the Secretariat and will have an array of choices. Each one will recruit slightly differently, so the main things to remember are to make sure your application is tailored specifically to that agency and that role (don’t talk generally about the UN) and that you’ve paid careful attention to the values and competencies mentioned in part one. Young Professionals Programme (YPP) If you want to work for the Secretariat one of the main ways is through the YPP. In a nutshell, you make an application to sit an exam. If you’re successful in that exam you are invited for interview. And if successful in that you will get placed on a roster and offered a position as and when one becomes available. Full details of the YPP are available on the UN website, including an FAQ and test examples. Key things to remember are:

  • You will need to be fluent in either English or French, be under the age of 32, have a Bachelor’s degree and be a national of one of the participating countries.
  • The programme is incredibly competitive. Roughly 20-30,000 people apply each year; only 4-5,000 will be invited to take the exam and only about 100 or so will actually pass.
  • To ensure fair representation, only the best 40 applicants from each participating country are invited to sit the exam. So you will need to be one out of 40 of the best candidates in your country.
  • The exam takes place once a year in various examination centres throughout the world.
  • If you are successful and offered a position, you must accept it. If you decline you will be removed from the roster and have to do the application process all over again. So you need to be flexible as to where you are prepared to work. If you are holding out to go to New York you may not get there just yet!

Junior Professional Officers’ Programme (JPO) JPOs are effectively representatives of their home countries who work for and with the UN. Unlike the YPP where you are directly hired by the UN, the recruitment process for JPOs is handled by the foreign or international development office of your home nation. Again, the recruitment process is very competitive, with the requirements being higher than the YPP. To apply you will need a Master’s degree, and at least two years relevant work experience, together with fluency in 2 of the 3 UN languages (English, French and Spanish). Check out their website for more detail on how to become a JPO.

Getting Experience While the YPP does not proscribe any minimum amount of work experience, you will find it difficult to make a really good application without any. And nearly all other vacancies at the UN will require some sort of work experience. So the sooner you start thinking about this the better. I know I keep repeating this but study the UN competencies and values! This will give you a good insight into what UN recruiters will be looking for when they review your application. Therefore, you need to make sure you get work experience that will help you evidence these competencies. Any work experience that addresses these competencies will be of value, but doing something with the UN will help demonstrate your commitment to the organisation. Two ways are through a UN internship or volunteering:

Internship Programme

To do an internship you need to be either enrolled in a Masters/PhD or in the final year of your Bachelors degree or you have graduated less than a year ago. Internships last between 2 and 6 months and you will need to apply directly with the relevant agency that is offering them. Internships are unpaid and you will need to have money for accommodation, flights, insurance etc.

UN Volunteering

Volunteering is a fantastic way to gain skills and experience, and for the first time the UN now offers Youth Volunteering for 18-29 year olds. Opportunities are advertised via the website or social media. And if travelling abroad would prove difficult for you, you can also do Online Volunteering. You can search by work type or by region and there are opportunities in everything from website design to writing funding proposals, to doing online tutoring.”

Heather Campbell Information Assistant, Careers & Enterprise Centre

UN Careers: Part One, Have You Got What It Takes?

Recently, myself and Heather Campbell, a colleague of mine from Queen Mary, University of London’s Careers & Enterprise Centre attended a talk at SOAS about getting into the UN.  Heather’s report on the event follows.  You can read other posts about the UN here and, if you are a student from a college that subscribes to our ‘Careers Tagged’ service, you can find other useful links there.  Here’s Heather’s report.

“At a recent event hosted by SOAS, University of London students were invited along to hear John Ericson (Chief of the Outreach Unit at the United Nations Secretariat in New York) talk about careers in the UN. The talk provided a great insight into how UN recruitment works (you can watch the video here), so if you’ve ever been interested in working for the UN here’s what you need to know:

Are You Ready?

I’m going to talk more specifically about the recruitment process in part two of this blog post, but I want to emphasis, right from the outset that careers in the UN are incredibly competitive. They only take those with exceptional academic records and relevant work experience, who can demonstrate fully the competencies and values of the organisation. Often you will need a Masters degree and maybe even a PhD, and most certainly a first in your undergraduate degree. You will need to be entirely dedicated to the idea of working for the UN; the recruitment process can be drawn out and difficult. If successful you will be and international civil servant, subject only to the instructions on the UN – meaning that the UN will come above national allegiance. You will need to be prepared to work anywhere in the world – perhaps never actually been stationed at ‘home’. The rewards, however, are great. Not only does the UN provide a lot of support to help you relocate etc, but you will be doing a job that has the potential to make a difference to the world. As John pointed out, you will be creating stories to tell your grandchildren.

Knowing Me, Knowing You

The first thing John emphasised is just how large the UN is. It’s a body made up of dozens of agencies spanning every continent, so don’t just look at the Secretariat when thinking of a UN career. Pay attention to all the other agencies. If you are interested in public health, for example, you could work for WHO, UNAIDS, UNFPA and UNICEF. Each agency also has its own recruitment process and you will need to tailor your application to that particular organisation and role. So make sure you get to really know the agencies relevant to what you want to do.

And it’s not just politics or law graduates that they are looking for. The UN employs scientists, engineers, IT personnel, statisticians, anthropologists, geographers, auditors, security advisors, translators, HR specialists, technologists and more. So whatever your background there’ll be a role for you.

More than Competent

The UN has three core values: integrity, professionalism and respect for diversity. It also has 8 core competencies covering things like team work and communication. You can see the full list here. Each vacancy at the UN will use these competencies by which to judge candidates. Meaning that when you make an application you have to make sure you pay attention to what competencies are being asked and tailor your CV and interview answers specifically to those competencies. And have a think about the values too, and how you might demonstrate these to a UN recruiter.”