UN Volunteer Specialists

Did you know that many senior managers at the UN started off as UN Volunteers (UNVs)? UNV positions are recognised as valuable UN work experience and provide experienced professionals an opportunity to take their career to the next level.

UNVUN Volunteers specialists - or simply UNVs - are professionals with several years of experience in their field of expertise who are selected from the UNV database for specific assignments lasting from 3 months to 4 years. The average age of a UNV is 38 years.

Given the fast recruitment process, around 45% of UN Volunteer specialists are deployed to peacekeeping or humanitarian aid missions with agencies such as the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKOUN Department of Peacekeeping ) or the Department of Political Affairs (DPA). In fact, UNVs compose up to one third of the personnel of some peacekeeping missions.

Why you should consider a UNV assignment:

  • You will gain direct exposure to the UN system and valuable field experience
  • Travel, living cost and other expenses are covered
  • You may apply even if you have no prior experience with the UN or in the field
  • There is no upper age limit for candidates
  • It may be a starting point for a career with the UN
  • It is your chance to engage in non-profit work and sustainable development

An evaluation conducted by cinfo in 2014 shows that 50% of all former Swiss UN Volunteers still work for the UN, while 90% stayed in the sector of international cooperation (read summary).

Why, you ask, would I ever leave a stable position in Switzerland? Because the UN is the only organisation that addresses such a wide range of global issues to such an extent. 

Former Swiss UNV specialist


  • A university degree (Bachelor’s or Master’s) or a higher technical diploma
  • At least 2-3 years of relevant professional experience (see professional backgrounds in demand)
  • Minimum 25 years old
  • Good working knowledge of one of the UN working languages (English, French, Spanish)
  • Technical skills relevant to the field of expertise
  • Availability for short-term assignments
  • Demonstrable interest in questions related to international cooperation, development, human rights, peace promotion or humanitarian politics
  • Willingness to serve in hardship duty stations

How to apply

To be eligible for a UN Volunteer Specialist position, you need to register with your full profile in the UNV database. Take a look at our tips for completing your profile to increase your chances of being identified for a position. You will be directly contacted by the recruiters if they find your profile suits a particular position.

Meet the recruiters

Every year cinfo organises the UNV outreach mission - an event that allows interested candidates to meet with UNV recruitment specialists, be seen and get valuable tips on how to increase their chances of being selected for a position. Swiss professionals can also apply for an individual consultation to receive a direct feedback on their profile.

Online Volunteering

Become active in development cooperation at a distance through UNV's Online Volunteering Service!

Are you Swiss?

cinfo offers additional information and services exclusively for Swiss nationals.

Condividi questa pagina