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UN Job List Intro Part4: FAQ on job hunting strategies

I’m Sebastian from the UN Job List. This is part 4 of a series of posts about landing a career in the UN system. If you have not done so yet, you may want to check out the previous posts:Part 1: What is the UN system and which organizations are hiring?Part 2: How do UN contract types and levels work?Part 3: Finding that job you need to apply for!This week’s post is about some questions I received on job application strategies. There will be another FAQ post later so feel free to ask your questions in the comments below.As usual and before I start, I would like to remind you that I’m not speaking on behalf of the UN and that I can’t help you with any individual questions.


Here are your questions:

Question: The entry level professional grade is P2. It requires 3 years of experience. How can I get this experience in the UN?Answer: There is no official answer to this. Some people get this experience through work in the private sector, others gain experience working in NGOs. Yet another (small) group of people is getting their experience through consultancies, internships and volunteer positions.


Question: A job requires me to have 3 years of experience and a master’s degree. I worked one year before my master’s degree and another two years after my degree. Is this enough experience?Answer: I’m not sure if there is an official answer to this question. In some agencies the rule used to be to only count “post master’s experience” since that’s experience at the master’s level kind of jobs. However, this changed in some instances. I have now also heard of the concept of “relevant experience” which means that experience in a given area is counted no matter what degree you had when you worked in that job. However, this means also that if you had a job which is not in the area of experience asked for, it does not count. A general rule of thumb may be: Make sure you have the experience if you apply for a job (ask yourself if you really have the experience – be honest to yourself and then base your decision to apply based on that). And when you apply make sure that you explain where you have the experience and how it is relevant to the job you apply for. 


Question: I worked 2.5 years. The job requires 3 years. Will this be enough?Answer: No. The experience is the minimum experience required. This means that if you have 4 years of experience a P3 requiring 5 years of experience is typically out of reach.


Question: What is a P.11? What is a PHP? What is difference?Answer: The P.11 and the PHP (Personal History Profile) are the standardized CVs every candidate has to fill when applying for the job. In theory they should be the same and a standard for all agencies. However, slight differences between the different entities exist and I encountered agencies that wanted their agency’s logo on the form you submit to them. Such a formal CV is a very complex forms so make sure you have several hours (days) to fill them. Don’t do it half an hour before the deadline you will not make it. Be very careful what you put into the P.11 you need to sign the document and any change (even a typo) at a later stage is going to be a very complicated. Also – and this should go without saying – make sure you are accurate and truthful in your P.11

Question: All the things you said above – do they also count for UN Volunteers?Answer: Partially. UNVs are different from regular staff positions. The UNV program is really great – check it out at Question: If I applied for a post and got turned down, should I apply for another post with the same agency?Answer: Yes by all means. You can apply to different posts at the same point in time, too. The only exception are re-advertised posts. If you applied for a post and it is re-advertised, don’t apply for it again.


Sign-up for a UN Job List email alert today!

It goes without saying that efficient job hunting requires you to know what’s going on. Sign-up for the UN Job List alert today:

1) Go to and define what you are looking for

2) Review the list of jobs you find on the List and see if they match your preferences

3) Scroll down on the results page and enter your email – that’s it, you’re done!

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