UN Volunteers like Khaled from Lebanon (front centre) and his peers play in vital role in UNICEF's field operations.
UN Volunteers like Khaled from Lebanon (front centre) and his peers play in vital role in UNICEF's field operations.

Boosting the confidence and career development of UN Volunteers serving with UNICEF

Uncertainty about navigating professional moves and developing a career path is common amongst young professionals – especially those new to the United Nations system. The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) is committed to supporting the career development of its youngest personnel, including UN Volunteers.

UNICEF's Division of Human Resources collaborated with the Capacity Development Team of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme and experienced career coaches to boost the confidence and skills of their UN Volunteers.

In two live sessions, UN Volunteers hosted at UNICEF offices globally received useful resources, advice and tips on career management. In addition, they connected with the global UNV community and engaged with UNICEF's Talent Programmes and Partnership Team.

UNICEF and UNV worked together to support our dedicated and qualified UN Volunteers. The Division of Human Resources will continue to offer learning and networking opportunities to support the career advancement of our UN Volunteers, as they deliver on UNICEF's mandate and prepare for their next steps in the development and humanitarian sector. --Julie Wooyi Park, Human Resources Officer, Talent Acquisition Team, Division of Human Resources, UNICEF

More than 180 UN Volunteers participated in the sessions, raised burning questions and reflected on how to shape their own career strategy as they volunteer and grow professionally at UNICEF.

The first session was dedicated to career strategy and networking, while the second covered practical tips on job applications. The participants learned about UN special entry programmes, various career paths within and outside of the UN system, as well as how to prioritize personal values when building their career plans.

UN Volunteers also learned tips and tricks on grasping 'hidden' signals in vacancy announcements to understand the key competencies and core functions required and write effective applications that stand out. The take-away from the webinars is not only applicable to UNICEF, but also to other UN entities. 

I appreciated the genuine concern of the career coaches, and their generosity in sharing resources and tips. They didn't talk down to us and provided a supportive atmosphere during the webinar. It quickly became an open dialogue where UN Volunteers were asking detailed and critical questions in a safe and encouraging environment. I felt we really are one community. --Kristine Roda Alingod, UN Volunteer serving with UNICEF

The webinar served as an information session and a catalyst to motivate UN Volunteers to start brainstorming and acting on their career development. "I have already come up with a strategy for my job search using the platforms shared during the session," one of the participants shared. "I’ve also started creating networks within my office and beyond." Another participant was equally enthusiastic and shared, "This is a game changer to learn how we can apply for UN jobs, or other jobs in development."