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cover letter to the un

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Un ypp cover letter - writing an effective cover letter for the united nations ypp.

UN YPP Cover Letter

As part of their Personal History Profile (PHP) – online application form –, candidates are required to submit a cover letter as part of their application. The main goal of this document is to give candidates a chance to introduce themselves and explain their motivation in applying to the UN YPP. The cover letter is a very important part of your application, and in this short article we will guide you through the process of writing and structuring it.



To help you feel more secure and increase your chances of passing the Application stage, OpenIGO Network has developed an application review service, which is carried out by a native English proofreader and a PhD professor with extensive experience in the UN YPP.

Click here to find out more about it: 

UN YPP Application Review

Our team has also developed a comprehensive manual (PDF eBook) to help you better understand the UN Young Professionals Programme itself and the stages of the selection process, allowing you to perform successfully in each of them. In our eBook you will learn how to craft a strong Cover Letter that will make you stand out from other candidates: 

UN YPP – eBook

This article is only a small sample from the extensive content present in the chapter “Writing an Effective Cover Letter for the UN YPP” of our E-Book.

Important Information about Cover Letters

As the name suggests, a cover letter serves as a “cover” for the documents you submit for a job application. It should provide a summary of a candidate’s skills, professional experience, and qualifications that meet the needs of a job opening, emphasizing why the candidate should be selected. Cover letters are usually seen as a personal marketing tool. Typically, they are meant to “sell” the candidate by showing recruiters the qualities and skills that s/he possesses that are in line with the prospective job. This way, evaluators are able to gain a better perspective on the candidate’s attributes and their main motivation for applying. The text should represent the candidate positively and objectively. It should be short, yet contain enough information to keep the reader interested in reading the rest of the application. When well written, such a document immediately demonstrates the participant’s abilities in written communication and the organization of ideas, as well as their argumentative capacity.

In the UN YPP selection process, the cover letter is a part of the candidate’s Personal History Profile, serving as an introduction to the latter. It should contextualize your PHP and all its information in an objective fashion, highlighting the elements that are in line with the UN YPP exam area. Its main objective is to reinforce the candidate’s positive qualities in order to arouse the evaluator’s interest and desire to know more about the individual.

In order to write a strong UN YPP cover letter, it is important to know what the recruiters will be looking for, so here are some of the aspects the recruiting team seeks to evaluate:

When writing your cover letter, take all of the aforementioned aspects into consideration and make them evident throughout the document when expressing three main things: your interest in working for the organization, the reason you are interested in the vacancy (or in a specific exam area, in the case of the UN YPP), and why you are a strong candidate for the position.

Structure and Content of a Cover Letter

Choosing what to write in your cover letter can be a challenging task, especially if you have experienced multiple and diverse professional/academical engagements throughout the years. This section will provide you with guidance on choosing the most relevant experiences to expound upon and the best way of structuring them in writing.

First of all, keep in mind that recruiters are primarily looking to read information that gives them a clear perception of the benefits you can offer the organization, if selected, and the ways in which you intend to help it to solve problems. To that end, a great way to display your skills and competencies is by choosing relevant stories from past professional or academic engagements where these competencies stood out. Remember to use keywords from the Competencies section of the UN YPP job opening for this part.

At our Online Magazine, we have an article only on competencies required by the UN YPP! Check it out here:

UN YPP Competencies

In chapter 06 of our UN YPP Manual for Candidates, we define what kind of work experience is considered as “relevant” for the UN YPP:

“Taking into consideration the UN recruitment guidelines, prior professional engagements are considered as ‘relevant’ if your duties are closely linked to the ‘Responsibilities’ outlined in the job opening you are applying for.”

  When choosing relevant facts/stories to share in your cover letter, take the aforementioned definition into consideration, especially if you have had previous professional experience. Keep in mind, however, that the number one stipulation for an engagement to be considered “relevant” in the cover letter section of your PHP is that it showcase that you have the competencies required by the job opening you are applying for. An important volunteering activity that you engaged in, for example, although not directly related to your exam area, could be considered relevant if you tailor the story around the specific required competencies.

Keywords from the UN YPP job opening can also be used to display your knowledge of the organization. You can even demonstrate awareness of any particular challenges or developments the United Nations is currently facing within the specific exam area you are applying for.

UN YPP Cover Letter

Please note that there is no single way to structure your UN YPP cover letter. The fundamental aspect of an effective structure is that the logical sequence of the parts is able to tell your story . Also, know that long texts should be avoided —one page is a good length to cover the main topics. The recommended length is 400-600 words. Since UN YPP candidates are required to enter their cover letter in a field on the Inspira platform, a good tip in order to get a better idea of the length of your text is to write it in a separate document on your computer and then copy and paste the final version to the designated field. This also serves the purpose of saving your document to your computer prior to submitting it. Since your session on Inspira times out every twenty minutes, this is highly recommended.

Checkpoints for a Cover Letter

In this section, some general checkpoints have been listed for you to pay special attention to when writing and revising your cover letter. Make sure to go through all of them prior to submitting your final version to Inspira.

As far as “language” is concerned, here is a list of aspects you should pay attention to:

– Avoid clichés, idioms and outdated language.

– Beware of errors in grammar, use of verb tense, and punctuation. Show that you have an understanding of the language’s basic rules. If possible, use a spell checker or have a proofreader analyze your content when you’ve finished writing your cover letter.

– Give preference to writing out the full names of organizations, positions and people.

– Remember to use the first person singular to describe your personal accomplishments and achievements.

– A broad vocabulary should be used, which is appropriate for the United Nations, the competencies the program seeks, and the exam area.

– Do not use words and expressions without being sure of their meaning. Although it is important to have an extensive vocabulary, it is a mistake to think that you should misuse elaborate words which are hard to understand.

– Avoid repeating words and expressions, as they make the text tiresome and unattractive.

– Avoid slang, abbreviations (such as “asap” for example), or traces of the spoken word (that is, informal expressions typical of oral conversations).

– It is recommended that you refrain from using general terms, which demonstrate absolute certainty, such as: “always”, “never”, “every time”, “undoubtedly”, etc. Exchange these for softer expressions, such as: “possibly”, “one can imagine”, “probably”, and “it is inferred that”, among others.

Read your cover letter and ask yourself why the sentences and paragraphs are arranged in that order. If you cannot find a justification, it is likely that your cover letter is not logically organized;

Doublecheck the grammar, spelling, verbal agreement, and cohesion, and especially check that the information is consistent with what you have put in your PHP;

After finalizing your cover letter, show it to your colleagues and ask them to provide sincere comments on its content and organization of ideas. In this way, any mistakes which you had not noticed in preparing the document can be identified and corrected. Ideally, you should ask for the opinion of someone who does not have a close emotional tie with you or has enough maturity to be neutral, since, generally speaking, people who are very close are embarrassed about being critical, even when they have identified mistakes. Getting professional feedback is a plus in competitive selection processes such as the UN YPP, and can highly increase your chances of passing the first screening round. That is why OpenIGO offers a complete Application Review for candidates applying for the program. You can find out more about this service at our online store . We can help you suceed in this competitive selection process!

Access the following link to know more about our UN YPP products: 

UN YPP – Products & Services

Read also: UN YPP – Overview

Magazine: Understanding the UN YPP Written Exam

OpenIGO overall services are extremely well-rated by those who bought them!   These are some of the testimonials we’ve had for our products :

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8 Tips for Drafting Your UN Cover Letter

A cover letter is an important part of any job application, but it can especially help set your application apart when you apply to UN jobs. The UN looks for specific language, skills, experience, and attitude, and your cover letter is the place for you to show that you meet the qualifications they are looking for. The UN provides some guidance on what they look for in a cover letter, so we’ve taken some of their tips, expanded them, and added a few more to help you write your best cover letter for your UN application.

Keep it brief

The UN recommends a cover letter consisting of 3 to 4 paragraphs. Most career counselors and job development professionals recommending keeping your cover letter to a page. While you want to get information in your cover letter about your experience and skills, you want to make sure to keep it within a reasonable amount of space. Keep the paragraphs concise so that the person reading the letter can get the most information in the least amount of words.

Keep it relevant

When you’re writing your cover letter it can be ready to highlight your best experiences and skills, but your best skills and experiences may not always be the best for the job you are applying for. Make sure that your cover letter stays relevant to the job you are applying for, and highlight your best skills that match what the employer is looking for and that are relevant to the job requirements.

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Find ways to make the most of your experience

Even if you are qualified for a job that you’re applying for, your experience may not be an exact match for the skills and description. If this is the case, use your cover letter as an opportunity to highlight transferrable skills and experiences that you can take with you into the job you’re hoping to obtain. Instead of talking about your passion or issues related to the job, focus on your achievements and things that you’ve accomplished. Be specific, and be honest (don’t exaggerate or lie) but take the liberty to frame your experience in a way that shows you have the qualifications and skills they are looking for in a future employer.

Distinguish yourself

Your cover letter provides a chance for you to set yourself apart from the other applicants. Use it to talk about unique skills and experiences that could lead you to be the best candidate for the job. Find an attention-grabbing opening and closing that will keep the employer engaged in your story from the beginning until the end. Make sure this doesn’t outshine your experience but use your cover letter as a way to distinguish what makes you a unique and qualified candidate for the job you’re applying for.

The UN career application tips specifically mention to use action verbs and avoid passive language and clichés. These tips are advisable for any cover letter, but because the UN specifically mentions that they want to see these grammar techniques, make sure to follow them closely. While you want to grab attention with your cover letter, make every word count and don’t include cheesy lines or cliché phrases that take away from your unique skills and experience.

Target your cover letter

We’ve already talked about how you want to keep the information in your cover letter relevant to the UN job you’re applying for. In addition to relevant experience, you want to make sure that the language you use matches the language the UN uses in their job descriptions. Target your cover letter to the job and to the audience, showing you understand the culture and purpose of the organization in addition to the actual job. If you decide to apply for multiple positions, tailor your cover letter for each position; don’t send one cover letter for multiple jobs. While all the jobs may be under the UN umbrella, each department, bureau, and team is looking for a specific skillset, qualification, attitude, and applicant.

Use “I” instead of “we”

Your cover letter is about you. So if you’re talking about work you did as part of a team or in a group or as part of an organization, make sure that you avoid “we” statements when talking about achievements and accomplishments. This doesn’t mean you should take credit for work you didn’t do alone, but make sure you spend most of your time highlighting the work you contributed to the team or project to show that you gained real, tangible experience, even as part of a group.

Demonstrate that you understand the job requirements/description

This might seem like the most obvious tip, but make sure that your cover letter shows that you understand the job requirements and description. How you talk about your experience and skills can make a difference if what you choose to highlight doesn’t match what the employer is looking for. If you’re applying for a position that you don’t fully understand, try to look at similar job postings or even search for articles on the internet that might help you better understand the exact nature of the position you are applying for. Job descriptions, especially for large organizations like the UN, usually don’t go into the day-to-day functions of the position, so make sure that you stay on topic and don’t try to guess what your responsibilities will be outside of what is listed in the posting.

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cover letter to the un

Sample cover letter for Internship position at UN

Got the job yes.

I would like to express my interest in becoming part of the young professionals program. I am captivated by the significant responsibilities YPP offers and its ample opportunities to excel as an entrepreneurial, achievement-oriented type of person. As an undergraduate, it would be an honor to represent Mexico as a young delegate in the General Assemble at the UN.

Through my education, I took courses related to conflict resolution and international relations and was amused by them. I also took extracurricular courses in multicultural training for the first two years of my major. Furthermore, I have been studying French for three years and Portuguese for a year, and I would like to completely dominate these languages. I have gained excellent insights into the world of economics and politics, and strengthened my analytical skills.

Through my experiences and academic background, I have acquired determination, independence, initiative, and the ability to learn quickly and apply that learning proactively. Equipped with interpersonal skills enhanced by education at excellent schools, and bolstered by unique experiences, I am confident that I can contribute significantly to UN.

cover letter to the un

Type writer with "Dear Madam" written on it

Three excellent cover letter examples

Cover letters are the first chance you have to impress an employer – they’re not just a protective jacket for your CV. Here’s our guide on what to include and how to format them

The first thing a potential employer sees in your job application is the cover letter. This doesn’t just support your CV – it’s an opportunity for you to stand out from the crowd and persuade the recruiter to put you through to the next round.

Be wary of spending hours on perfecting your CV at the expense of your cover letter. If you need some inspiration on what to include and what format to use, here are our helpful guides – just remember not to copy them as exact templates.

1. Standard, conservative style

This is ideal for sectors such as business, law, accountancy and retail. For more creative sectors, a letter like this might be less appealing, and could work against you.

Dear Mr Black, Please find enclosed my CV in application for the post advertised in the Guardian on 30 November. The nature of my degree course has prepared me for this position. It involved a great deal of independent research, requiring initiative, self-motivation and a wide range of skills. For one course, [insert course], an understanding of the [insert sector] industry was essential. I found this subject very stimulating. I am a fast and accurate writer, with a keen eye for detail and I should be very grateful for the opportunity to progress to market reporting. I am able to take on the responsibility of this position immediately, and have the enthusiasm and determination to ensure that I make a success of it. Thank you for taking the time to consider this application and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future. Yours sincerely

2. Standard speculative letter

This may vary according to the nature of the organisation and the industry you’re applying to.

Dear Mr Brown, I am writing to enquire if you have any vacancies in your company. I enclose my CV for your information. As you can see, I have had extensive vacation work experience in office environments, the retail sector and service industries, giving me varied skills and the ability to work with many different types of people. I believe I could fit easily into your team. I am a conscientious person who works hard and pays attention to detail. I’m flexible, quick to pick up new skills and eager to learn from others. I also have lots of ideas and enthusiasm. I’m keen to work for a company with a great reputation and high profile like [insert company name]. I have excellent references and would be delighted to discuss any possible vacancy with you at your convenience. In case you do not have any suitable openings at the moment, I would be grateful if you would keep my CV on file for any future possibilities. Yours sincerely

3. Letter for creative jobs

We’ve used the example of a copywriter but you can adapt it for your profession. The aim of a creative letter is to be original and show you have imagination, but understand what the job entails. Balance is essential: don’t be too wacky, or it will turn off the reader.

Dear Ms Green, · Confused by commas? · Puzzled by parenthesis? · Stumped by spelling? · Perturbed by punctuation? · Annoyed at the apostrophe? (And alliteration?) Well, you’re not alone. It seems that fewer and fewer people can write. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people who can read. So they’ll spot a gaffe from a mile off. And that means it’s a false economy, unless you’re 100% sure of yourself, to write your own materials. (Or to let clients do it for themselves.) To have materials properly copywritten is, when one considers the whole process of publishing materials and the impact that the client wishes to make, a minor expense. Sloppiness loses clients, loses customers. There is an answer. Me. Firm quotes are free. You can see some of what I do on my multilingual website at [insert web address]. If you’d like, I can get some samples out to you within 24 hours. And, if you use me, you’ll have some sort of guarantee that you can sleep soundly as those tens of thousands of copies are rolling off the presses. Luck shouldn’t come into it! With kindest regards

Other helpful resources

How to write a perfect CV and cover letter

Applying for jobs without experience? How to build and sell your skills

Five steps to the perfect graduate CV

School-leavers and graduates: how to write your first CV

How to write a personal statement for your CV

CV templates to fit every stage of your career

Looking for a job? Browse Guardian Jobs for your next career step.

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