An internship is the most common way to get an entry-level job in the UN. You can find a lot of information online, i.e. Payyourintern.com, Cinfo.ch. Let’s reply to four common questions: the location, the finances, the assignment, and the eligibility.
It’s an uncommon practice to send interns on a hardship duty station, where a conflict or a natural disaster is happening. So, the majority of internships are based in the headquarters of UN agencies, such as New-York, Geneva or Nairobi. It means that most opportunities will happen in a communication or information unit.
When it comes to finances, the UN has been criticized for its unfair internship policy. Indeed, thousands of interns continue to not being paid while doing full-time work for six months. This policy is unfair for the students who cannot afford to work for free. Several UN agencies are now awarding compensations.
The eligibility can be found with the assignment and may change based on the recruiting services. Some may restrict the job application to “people who graduated less than x years ago”, some may not… and some may set the limit but not verify it. It means that you may compete with only young professionals, giving you more chances to be hired.
On the other side, if you graduated few years ago already, IOM seems to be the most open at the moment with a three years limit upon graduation.