Success stories!

Everything about application processes, test, interviews, offers etc. Also share your success stories in this forum!
Fleurdunil
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Re: Success stories!

Post by Fleurdunil » 20 Sep 2019, 03:39

Thanks so much Ben.

Rest assured, I am more than happy to help give anecdotes as soon as this all finalizes out.

Vostok61
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Re: Success stories!

Post by Vostok61 » 19 Oct 2019, 12:45

We're waiting for them! Thanks for such stories, it allows us to keep oping without losing our motivation!

UN linguist
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Re: Success stories!

Post by UN linguist » 02 Nov 2019, 17:18

It's really good to see that some stories do have happy endings and that that can give hope to those who are still waiting for theirs. I think something that's worth bearing in mind is that for every job, unless it ends up being withdrawn, there is going to be someone who gets it and that someone could be you. Even if it isn't you, if it goes to someone within the system, their current job will be open for recruitment once they start the new job and someone else is going to get that.

Sometimes the statistics are phenomenal and if we knew how small our chances were, we would never bother applying. I came 'off the street' to the UN and didn't know that the competitive exams for linguists are (supposedly) notoriously difficult. If I had known, I might well not have applied. Until I had been in the system for a while and got to know someone from HR socially who told me something she shouldn’t have, I didn't know that there had been approximately 4,500 applicants for the set of competitive exams that I did; they invited about 10 per cent of them to sit the exams (I had no idea - I assumed everyone who applied got to do the exams!); then they interviewed roughly the top 10 per cent and of those they ended up with a roster of 22 or 23 people. A roster of 22 or 23 from the 4,500 or so who had applied! If I had known, I would never have dreamed of applying! Yet someone (or in this case, 22 or 23 people) gets lucky and if you don't apply, it won't be you.

Joining through that route at that time meant that, assuming that you passed the two-year probationary period, you then had a permanent contract that took you right up to retirement and there really aren't many jobs left where that's the case these days. Now the competitive exams have changed (several have been amalgamated and the 'passive' language requirement has been somewhat diluted), but it's still a very secure route into the organization and into a fascinating area of work.

As the television adverts for the National Lottery in the UK say, 'You've got to be in it to win it!' and it's the same with applying for jobs with the UN. However long it takes, however frustrating it is, however nerve-wracking it may be - and it certainly ticks all those boxes - if you believe in the organization, in the work that it does, in the fact that it may well be a flawed system, but it's the best we have for so much of the work that it does, just keep applying.

I worked for many years in the private sector, for a few years in the public sector, for another international organization, as a freelancer in several different types of work and in several different countries, but there is something very special about working for the UN. It is frustrating, it drives me mad, I work crazy hours, there is so much wrong with the system, but we all know that we are doing something really worthwhile. Keep going for it!

prdeepak
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Re: Success stories!

Post by prdeepak » 02 Nov 2019, 18:01

@ UN Linguist,

Thanks for a beautiful post. It totally made sense when you said" You;ve got to be in it to win it". I have been appying to UN jobs for close to 1 year now, been through 3 competitive assessments, it is frustrating with hopes raising every time just to again face rejection and the cycle repeats. But in the end it is the goal that keeps you motivated. It is the purpose and vision that resonates with UN and to be part of UN.

H.O.P
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Re: Success stories!

Post by H.O.P » 03 Nov 2019, 13:58

UN linguist wrote:
02 Nov 2019, 17:18
It's really good to see that some stories do have happy endings and that that can give hope to those who are still waiting for theirs. I think something that's worth bearing in mind is that for every job, unless it ends up being withdrawn, there is going to be someone who gets it and that someone could be you. Even if it isn't you, if it goes to someone within the system, their current job will be open for recruitment once they start the new job and someone else is going to get that.

Sometimes the statistics are phenomenal and if we knew how small our chances were, we would never bother applying. I came 'off the street' to the UN and didn't know that the competitive exams for linguists are (supposedly) notoriously difficult. If I had known, I might well not have applied. Until I had been in the system for a while and got to know someone from HR socially who told me something she shouldn’t have, I didn't know that there had been approximately 4,500 applicants for the set of competitive exams that I did; they invited about 10 per cent of them to sit the exams (I had no idea - I assumed everyone who applied got to do the exams!); then they interviewed roughly the top 10 per cent and of those they ended up with a roster of 22 or 23 people. A roster of 22 or 23 from the 4,500 or so who had applied! If I had known, I would never have dreamed of applying! Yet someone (or in this case, 22 or 23 people) gets lucky and if you don't apply, it won't be you.

Joining through that route at that time meant that, assuming that you passed the two-year probationary period, you then had a permanent contract that took you right up to retirement and there really aren't many jobs left where that's the case these days. Now the competitive exams have changed (several have been amalgamated and the 'passive' language requirement has been somewhat diluted), but it's still a very secure route into the organization and into a fascinating area of work.

As the television adverts for the National Lottery in the UK say, 'You've got to be in it to win it!' and it's the same with applying for jobs with the UN. However long it takes, however frustrating it is, however nerve-wracking it may be - and it certainly ticks all those boxes - if you believe in the organization, in the work that it does, in the fact that it may well be a flawed system, but it's the best we have for so much of the work that it does, just keep applying.

I worked for many years in the private sector, for a few years in the public sector, for another international organization, as a freelancer in several different types of work and in several different countries, but there is something very special about working for the UN. It is frustrating, it drives me mad, I work crazy hours, there is so much wrong with the system, but we all know that we are doing something really worthwhile. Keep going for it!
I love your analysis of the application process. I always use my case as an example when people I know want to get into the system. Usually, they think it will happen in the next couple of months. I often laugh and tell them it took me over a year of constant application (about 100 or more) to get an internship, my very first. And even though I ended up doing two internships, it still wasn't easy to get back into the system after I left to complete my studies. But, as you said, if you don't apply at all, what are the chances you will get in. I got back again as a UNV and have left again while still applying until I get the best one (I am in some competition and I am hopeful and will keep applying until I get one) P.S I have been chasing this dream now 8 years and don't even regret it even amidst the frustration.

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Re: Success stories!

Post by UN linguist » 03 Nov 2019, 16:06

prdeepak wrote:
02 Nov 2019, 18:01
@ UN Linguist,

Thanks for a beautiful post. It totally made sense when you said" You;ve got to be in it to win it". I have been appying to UN jobs for close to 1 year now, been through 3 competitive assessments, it is frustrating with hopes raising every time just to again face rejection and the cycle repeats. But in the end it is the goal that keeps you motivated. It is the purpose and vision that resonates with UN and to be part of UN.
Hi, Prdeepak! Thank you for your kind words! I wish you all the very best with your UN job applications. I know how frustrating it can be (once you are in the system, it's just as frustrating, believe me!), but it really is worth persevering. If you have got as far as being invited to sit competitive assessments, you know that what you have in your PHP is of sufficient interest to a UN employer for them to ask you to do that, which is a good sign, so just keep strong and keep going!

UN linguist
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Re: Success stories!

Post by UN linguist » 03 Nov 2019, 16:27

H.O.P wrote:
03 Nov 2019, 13:58
I love your analysis of the application process. I always use my case as an example when people I know want to get into the system. Usually, they think it will happen in the next couple of months. I often laugh and tell them it took me over a year of constant application (about 100 or more) to get an internship, my very first. And even though I ended up doing two internships, it still wasn't easy to get back into the system after I left to complete my studies. But, as you said, if you don't apply at all, what are the chances you will get in. I got back again as a UNV and have left again while still applying until I get the best one (I am in some competition and I am hopeful and will keep applying until I get one) P.S I have been chasing this dream now 8 years and don't even regret it even amidst the frustration.
Hi, H.O.P.! I don't come on here very often, but I remember your posts from when I was here before! You certainly need sticking power for this, don't you? And luckily you have it! Eight years is a long time to chase a dream, but when it's your dream, it's worth persevering.

Even after I had received the notification that I had passed both sets of competitive exams (which, in theory at least, should have doubled my chances of being offered a post and should certainly have speeded up the process), it was 14 months before I was offered a post and another 5 months before I was recruited and started work. That was from the 2006 competitive exams, for which I applied in November 2005 (sic), the exams were held in February 2006, the interview in August 2006, I heard that I had passed both sets of exams at the very end of August 2006 (and that was only because the HR officer responsible for the process was moving duty station and had promised her manager that she would have the roster completed before she left at the end of August; normally that step takes much, much longer), I was offered my first post in October 2007 and I started work at the end of March 2008. So the process ran from November 2005 to March 2008.

Another thing to consider is age. Sometimes the UN prefers to take people who are a bit older when they are recruiting for higher level posts. Almost everyone applying for a particular post is likely to have broadly similar academic qualifications, but - depending on the post, of course - often life experience is useful for the organization and that usually comes with age. That won't appear in the list of requirements in the vacancy announcement, but the hiring manager and the others on the interview panel are likely to take it into account.

H.O.P
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Re: Success stories!

Post by H.O.P » 03 Nov 2019, 16:50

UN linguist wrote:
03 Nov 2019, 16:27
H.O.P wrote:
03 Nov 2019, 13:58
I love your analysis of the application process. I always use my case as an example when people I know want to get into the system. Usually, they think it will happen in the next couple of months. I often laugh and tell them it took me over a year of constant application (about 100 or more) to get an internship, my very first. And even though I ended up doing two internships, it still wasn't easy to get back into the system after I left to complete my studies. But, as you said, if you don't apply at all, what are the chances you will get in. I got back again as a UNV and have left again while still applying until I get the best one (I am in some competition and I am hopeful and will keep applying until I get one) P.S I have been chasing this dream now 8 years and don't even regret it even amidst the frustration.
Hi, H.O.P.! I don't come on here very often, but I remember your posts from when I was here before! You certainly need sticking power for this, don't you? And luckily you have it! Eight years is a long time to chase a dream, but when it's your dream, it's worth persevering.

Even after I had received the notification that I had passed both sets of competitive exams (which, in theory at least, should have doubled my chances of being offered a post and should certainly have speeded up the process), it was 14 months before I was offered a post and another 5 months before I was recruited and started work. That was from the 2006 competitive exams, for which I applied in November 2005 (sic), the exams were held in February 2006, the interview in August 2006, I heard that I had passed both sets of exams at the very end of August 2006 (and that was only because the HR officer responsible for the process was moving duty station and had promised her manager that she would have the roster completed before she left at the end of August; normally that step takes much, much longer), I was offered my first post in October 2007 and I started work at the end of March 2008. So the process ran from November 2005 to March 2008.

Another thing to consider is age. Sometimes the UN prefers to take people who are a bit older when they are recruiting for higher level posts. Almost everyone applying for a particular post is likely to have broadly similar academic qualifications, but - depending on the post, of course - often life experience is useful for the organization and that usually comes with age. That won't appear in the list of requirements in the vacancy announcement, but the hiring manager and the others on the interview panel are likely to take it into account.
Thanks, UN Linguist. I probably would have given up if I didn't get the chance to have a "taste" of the system in these different forms. The fact that I have and still getting shortlisted, makes me believe my applications are been seen and just a matter of time the right position will come along. Plus of course, I am getting older and more life experience I guess :lol:

UN linguist
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Re: Success stories!

Post by UN linguist » 03 Nov 2019, 17:22

H.O.P wrote:
03 Nov 2019, 16:50
Thanks, UN Linguist. I probably would have given up if I didn't get the chance to have a "taste" of the system in these different forms. The fact that I have and still getting shortlisted, makes me believe my applications are been seen and just a matter of time the right position will come along. Plus of course, I am getting older and more life experience I guess :lol:
[/quote]

Ah, the unexpected benefits of getting older! I was 47 before I found the UN and the UN found me! I had been a trademark lawyer, a credit manager, a teacher, a translator... all sorts of things which gave me experience which has been so useful for what I do now for the UN, although I had no idea at the time that this was where I was headed!

Given the fact that you are getting shortlisted definitely means that your applications are being seen, which really does mean that it's only a matter of time before the job that's right for you and which you are right for comes along. When you see the vast numbers of applications that are received for almost UN jobs, to be getting as far in the process as you are means that you are doing things right. Best of luck!

H.O.P
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Re: Success stories!

Post by H.O.P » 03 Nov 2019, 17:52

UN linguist wrote:
03 Nov 2019, 17:22
H.O.P wrote:
03 Nov 2019, 16:50
Thanks, UN Linguist. I probably would have given up if I didn't get the chance to have a "taste" of the system in these different forms. The fact that I have and still getting shortlisted, makes me believe my applications are been seen and just a matter of time the right position will come along. Plus of course, I am getting older and more life experience I guess :lol:
Ah, the unexpected benefits of getting older! I was 47 before I found the UN and the UN found me! I had been a trademark lawyer, a credit manager, a teacher, a translator... all sorts of things which gave me experience which has been so useful for what I do now for the UN, although I had no idea at the time that this was where I was headed!

Given the fact that you are getting shortlisted definitely means that your applications are being seen, which really does mean that it's only a matter of time before the job that's right for you and which you are right for comes along. When you see the vast numbers of applications that are received for almost UN jobs, to be getting as far in the process as you are means that you are doing things right. Best of luck!
[/quote]

Thank you! I also think that after rotating around the system for a while, it increases visibility and hence, getting more shortlisting (the tough part is breaking in). I see we're both in the legal profession. I guess I am lucky to have first experienced the system as a 25-year-old (but the UN is my dream job, so all my studies and the activities I was/am undertaking was targeted towards matching my profile to the organisation and staying competitive). Maybe that also explains the long patience even if it has not been easy.

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