United Nations: Young professionals programme

United Nations: Young professionals programme

Application process

Confirming eligibility

To be eligible to apply to the young professionals programme (YPP) examination you have to meet the following criteria:

  • Be 32 years or younger (by the end of the exam year)
  • Hold at least a first-level university degree, such as a bachelor’s or other undergraduate degree, in one of the job families offered for that year.
  • Be fluent in either English or French, the two working languages of the United Nations Secretariat (knowledge of other official United Nations languages is an asset).
  • Be a national of participating country. The list of participating countries is published annually and varies from year to year.

If you are a staff member in the General Service and related categories currently serving in the United Nations Secretariat, click here for the eligibility criteria for participating in the YPP examination.

Creating a profile and preparing an application

To apply for the examination you have to fill up a «job application» at the United Nations which is made up of a profile section (My Profile), an application form, and a cover letter, all of which should be prepared online on this website (attached resumes are not accepted). When you fill out any information online, you should make sure to click «Save», especially before logging out. Also be aware that your current session times out after 60 minutes of inactivity.

In order to prepare an application, you must first register on this website (click here to register). After you have registered, you will be welcomed to your Careers Home page, which is where you will fill out and manage your profile, application form(s) and all information relating to your application(s).

First you should create a user profile («My Profile»). The information in «My Profile» includes your name, nationality, contact information and marital status. You can make changes, such as updating your phone number or family status, to ‘My Profile’ at any time and the information will be automatically updated on all job applications you have already submitted.

NOTE: In My Profile, make sure to enter in the field marked «Country of Nationality», the participating country under which you wish to be considered for the examination. The fields “Nationality at Birth” and “Other Nationalities” will not be considered in the eligibility screening.

After you have registered and completed «My Profile», you can create your application for the examination. To create your application for the examination, you have to choose a «Job Opening» in the job family you are interested in taking the examination for. These start with «2014 YPP EXAMINATION». The application form is the part of your application that contains information about your education, your past and present jobs, experiences, skills etc. You can start preparing an application form without immediately applying by clicking «Create Draft Application». After you have entered data, click «Save» to save your data without submitting your application. You can prepare, access, edit and save your partially completed application form without applying right away.

NOTE: When adding your Education details, please refer to the education eligibility requirements for the job family you are applying for, and choose the correct combination of “Main Course of Study” and “Field of Study” that exactly matches your degree or is the closest match. Please refrain from entering “Other” in these two fields which will be used in the eligibility screening. Also, the “Specialization” field will not be considered in the screening process.

You can then see the application you have prepared, along with the application status, in the «My Career Tools» page, which can be found in your Careers Home page.

It is important to accurately complete and update all the information as it serves as a basis for evaluating your eligibility and suitability for the examination. After an application has been submitted, it cannot be modified

Important note: Please note that you can create and submit only one application for the examination – if you are eligible for more than one job family, you will have to choose the one in which you would most like to participate. Applicants submitting applications for the examination in more than one job family will be automatically disqualified.

Additional guidelines on creating applications are available by clicking on the Manuals and Help links found on the upper right hand corner of the webpage when you log in to https://inspira.un.org



Submitting an application

After you have finished filling out your application, click on APPLY NOW. Read the information on the Apply Now page, select Confirm, then select “Choose Existing Application”. Select the one you just completed and click on Continue.

Click on the Screening Questions tab and answer the questions. Then complete or modify sections of your application. Create your cover letter and attach additional information required by the job opening.

Click on Preview and Submit tab, review your application and then click on the Submit button. The certification page appears.

Read the information, indicate whether you agree with the terms and click on the Certify and Submit button. Your application will be submitted to the position. You will receive notification acknowledging your submission and the application will appear in the “My Application” section.

The United Nations does not accept a resume as an attached document, and it is neither considered a substitute nor a complementary document to a completed online application. Therefore, make sure your application contains all the relevant information you would like to include for consideration by the people reviewing your application.

Evaluation of the application

Your application is first screened to determine if you are eligible for the examination in the job family you applied for. If your country has a total of over 40 applicants found eligible in a given job family, and you are one of them, your application is evaluated in terms of education, experience, languages, and other skills. If it is determined that your application is within the 40 best from your country, you will be contacted to take part in the written portion of the examination.

If it is determined that you are not eligible or only meet some or none of the requirements, you will be informed that your application was unsuccessful. In this case, you should not be discouraged but continue building your education/experience to apply for future examinations. Make sure to check our Careers Portal for future YPP announcements.

Written examination

The written examination consists of two papers:

  • The General Paper, which is the same for all job families, tests your drafting abilities and/or your knowledge of international affairs; this part can be drafted in either English or French.
  • The Specialized Paper, which tests your substantive knowledge corresponding to the job family you are taking the exam in and your analytical thinking; it can be taken in any of the six UN official languages.
  • The written examination lasts a total of four and a half hours. Examinees are required to manage their own time for the different parts of the examination. Examinees’ responses are marked anonymously by a panel of markers for the General Paper and by the Specialized Board Members for the Specialized Paper. Before the exam, it will be announced which papers and/or parts of the exam will be eliminatory and only examinees successful in that part of the examination will have the other parts marked.

If, based on the results of the written portion of the examination, you are successful, you will be invited to take part in the oral portion of the examination which consists of a competency-based interview.

If you are not successful in the written examination, you will be so informed at the appropriate time. Please note, however, that the time of notification may vary from one job family to the next, depending on the number of examinees in each one.

Oral examination

The oral examination is conducted so that we can learn more about your combination of skills, attributes and behaviours that are directly related to your successful performance on the job. The interview will be conducted by the Specialized Board members in either English or French, the two working languages of the Secretariat.

Results notification

Based on the results of the interview, the Central Examinations Board will endorse the most qualified candidates for placement on the roster. The Central Examinations Board is composed of professional staff members who ensure that the applicable procedures are followed and that the whole process is conducted in a fair, transparent and objective manner.

After the endorsement by the Central Examinations Board has been approved by the Office of Human Resources Management, all candidates will be informed by email of their results in the overall examination.

The number of candidates that pass is closely linked to the positions that are projected to become available. Each year, the candidates that meet the projected vacancies plus a 10 % reserve list, which is valid for two years, are passed. Consequently, while the probability of getting a job is quite high, passing is not however a guarantee of getting a job. Job offers to successful candidates are made on an ongoing basis, but placement takes place on a quarterly basis, subject to the requirements of the Organization.


Welcome to the UN

  1. If you are successful, you will be considered for YPP vacancies as they become available. You will be given an opportunity to indicate your preference(s) for duty stations and job functions at the time of the oral examination. While efforts are made to take preferences into account this may or may not be possible. You are strongly encouraged to accept the job offer as declining it will eliminate you from further consideration.Initially you will be appointed for two years and then be reviewed for a continuing appointment. The Organization promotes mobility within and across duty stations and job families. You will be offered orientation and mobility training as well as career support. This will help you adapt and accelerate the learning period leading to productive work and job satisfaction as an international civil servant.


Sample Examinations

Examination Centers

Examination Status

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