Two representatives from the United Nations – Ceylan Cizmeli and Yuichi Takamatsu – visited the Career and Internship Center late last week for an information session, in which they explained the complexities, challenges, and ever-changing nature of their work, suggested some possible avenues toward working for the organization, and highlighted some of the skills necessary to successfully land an internship or full-time entry level role. More than 90 students were in attendance at the event last Thursday evening.
Cizmeli and Takamatsu explained that students of any and all majors should absolutely apply for internships and that no specific undergraduate degree is required to earn a full-time job at the UN. They explained that the strongest contenders for both jobs and internships possess strong technical skills, written and verbal communication skills, planning and organizational skills, language skills (the UN has 6 official languages), and analytical skills, since data analysis is a common responsibility in many roles. Many internships are rotational, providing interns the opportunity to work on a variety of projects and gain exposure to different departments, such as Diplomatic Affairs, Humanitarian Affairs, and Information Technology. There are also internships available at different international centers throughout the U.S., so mobility and willingness to relocate are also important qualities for prospective interns to have. Students do not need to earn college credit for internships at the United Nations.
In regards to the application process, the representatives explained that while the application system uses algorithms to sort through candidates, applicants are ultimately screened individually and selected candidates move on to complete “competency-based interviews” in which the specific skills they list in their applications, such as fluency in a particular language, are evaluated. In the example of language skills, Cizmeli and Takamatsu emphasized the importance of clearly distinguishing between “confident” and “fluent” with regards to speaking, reading and writing ability in a language, since this could ultimately be a deciding factor between screening an applicant out or selecting them to move forward.
While this process is competitive and highly selective, the UN’s robust, international presence makes it diverse, dynamic and thrilling organization to work for, and one that values a broad range of perspectives and experiences. Submit your application today! More information on the opportunities on the United Nations here.