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UN online volunteering could be your gateway for a career in aid and development

For those at the beginning of your career, finding your first aid and development experience can be challenging. Volunteering positions is a good solution – however, not all of you can contribute many hours per week volunteering, not to mention the difficulty to support projects that matter to you wherever the project location. Well, you don’t have to look too far away! The United Nations offer a service that could help you kick start your career, or add another experience that could take your career path to the next level.

Why should you consider becoming a UN online volunteer?

Since 2005, the UNV Online Volunteering Service platform is proposing volunteering opportunities to individuals interested in strengthening peace and development efforts. Using this platform is definitely a win-win situation both for the organizations and the volunteers:

  1. Organizations whose activities contribute to the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals can solicit the skills of volunteers without ‘breaking the bank’.
  2. Volunteers have the opportunity to get involved in the project ‘in the comfort of your own home’.

How does it work?

Step 1 – Browse volunteering opportunities on their platform

Several search modes are available such as by language (English, French, and Spanish), by country and geographical area, as well as the project type.  Many posts are for report translation, web design, and donor sourcing or setting a communication campaign.

Step 2 – Send your application.

When you have found a volunteering opportunity that matches your skills, you would need to register, fill in an application form, and upload your CV. You should keep in mind that as with any application, the sooner you apply, the more likely you are to be selected.

Few tips for a successful application

Explaining your motivation is key for a successful application. As such, we recommend that you pay special attention to the ‘motivation section’ given that no cover letter will be sent to the organization. That being said, these questions are standard which would not be too difficult to answer:

  • “Why do you want to take part in this opportunity? Why are you interested?”
  • “What professional and volunteer experience do you have with the task?”
  • “What skills and qualifications do you have?”
  • “What language skills do you have in relation to the task? Please indicate your level (mother tongue, current, satisfactory level)”
  • “How many hours per week can you devote to this task? For how long?”
  • “What other information do you want to share with this organization?”

[Source: United Nations Online Volunteers website].

Also, remember that your answers are limited to 500 characters each so avoid doing a copy-paste of an old cover letter! Do not hesitate to use bullet points to shorten your answers.

You can always look at our career advice to get more tips on how to prepare successful applications for aid and development post.

I was selected for a volunteering position – now what?

Congratulations for reaching this stage! There are few things to keep in mind to make sure that your volunteering goes well:

  • Find an agreement on the time you would spend carrying you the tasks.
  • Do not hesitate to make regular feedback.
  • Be trustworthy, the organization will evaluate you at the end of the mission!

When you support the UN through their volunteering platform, you are not only making a difference in the world, you become part of a growing community of thousands of volunteers around the world with 12,000 more volunteers participating each year.

While our job board lists a selection of UN positions, we encourage you to visit UNV Online platform: it contains lots of information about volunteering and the Millenial Development Goals and who knows… the gateway to your first experience in the aid and development sector!