The United Nations Emergency Fund for Children (UNICEF) is a global organization that advocates for the protection of children's rights, which helps them meet their basic needs and strives to expand their opportunities. If you want to join UNICEF, you can either volunteer or apply for a job with the organization. In any case, you will have to follow the processes that appear on the organization's website to join.
Method 1 of 2: Volunteer with UNICEF
Step 1. Join a UNICEF UNITE team if you live in the United States in a city that has one
There are 18 cities in the United States with UNICEF UNITE teams that you can volunteer with. Sign up as a UNITE volunteer at https://www.unicefusa.org/unite/register and contact https://www.unicefusa.org/unite/faqs to get in touch with local team captains if you live in a of the 18 cities with equipment.
- UNICEF UNITE encompasses all volunteers and supporters in the United States. Together, UNITE members advocate for putting children first in local, state and federal funding and in political decisions. They also raise funds and help spread the word about UNICEF's mission.
- There are currently UNITE teams in these 18 cities: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington DC.
- Even if you don't live in a city with a UNICEF UNITE team, you can get involved with UNITE advocating for children's rights and fundraising. Visit the website's resource page at https://www.unicefusa.org/unite/resources for all the information on how you can help.
tip- You can get more information at https://www.unicefusa.org/unite about volunteering and getting involved if you live in the United States.
Step 2. Contact the UNICEF National Committee if you live outside the United States
Volunteer opportunities in industrialized countries outside the United States are offered through 33 UNICEF National Committees. Visit https://www.unicef.org/unicef-national-committees for a list of all of them and find the contact information for your home country and ask about volunteer opportunities.
- Not all UNICEF National Committees have volunteer opportunities available. Pages vary from country to country, but generally you can check the careers section of the website to see if there are any volunteer positions. You can also go to the site's contact page for your home country and submit a request if you can't find the information on the site.
- The National Committee pages also have information on other ways to help in your country, including fundraising or donations, so you can get involved even if there are no volunteer positions open at this time.
Step 3. Join a Youth Advocates Program volunteer if you are between 18 and 24 years old
This is a program developed by UNICEF and the United Nations Volunteer Program. Apply for national and international volunteer assignments on the UNV website at
- You can apply for this program no matter where in the world you live. To be eligible for the program you must be between the ages of 18 and 24, have completed high school education, have demonstrated a commitment to peace and development through academic, extracurricular and volunteer activities, and have a working knowledge of English.
- If you have a disability or are from a minority group, you are encouraged to apply.
- Youth Advocates Program volunteer positions were available in 33 countries during the years 2018 and 2019.
- Assignments for these volunteer positions last 1 year.
Method 2 of 2: Get a job with UNICEF
Step 1. Read the UNICEF competency documentation to prepare to introduce yourself
Read the UNICEF Core Values and Competencies List here: https://www.unicef.org/about/employ/files/UNICEF_Competencies.pdf. This will help you select the jobs that are relevant to your skills and prepare you for the selection process.
- Every job at UNICEF requires you to possess the UNICEF core competencies and values, as well as to be proficient in a range of 3-5 of the functional competencies listed in this documentation.
- For example, a hiring manager position might require you to be proficient in these 3 functional competencies: relating / networking, planning / organizing, and leading / supervising.
- Your level of proficiency will be assessed during the selection process on a scale of 1 to 3. Detailed descriptions of the different levels can be found in the documentation.
Step 2. Visit the vacancies page of the UNICEF website and search for relevant jobs
Go to https://www.unicef.org/about/employ/ and look for jobs that match your education, experience, skills, and interests. Search by keyword or filter job listings by category, location, or job type.
- Double check the nationality requirements in the positions that interest you. Some jobs only admit applicants who are local to the country where the job is located.
- Write down the application deadline (including time zone) so you can make sure you fill out the application sooner.
- Read the entire job description and requirements carefully to make sure you qualify for the position and are a good candidate before applying.
- There are a wide variety of jobs available at UNICEF, including roles as immunization specialist, budget officer, finance associate, information management officer, construction engineer, social policy specialist, and many more.
Step 3. Fill out the application form for a position to be evaluated for selection
Click "Apply" under the title of a job listing that interests you and for which you are qualified. Follow the onscreen instructions to apply for the position.
- You don't have to fill out the entire application in one go. You can save it and finish it again later. Just be sure to complete it before the deadline listed on the job posting.
- Make sure to update your resume and write a new application-specific cover letter.
- Please note that you will need to go through the online application process to be considered for a job with UNICEF. There is no way to apply for a job outside of the portal. All candidates are considered equally in this way.
tip- This video shows exactly how to fill out the online application for UNICEF jobs:
Step 4. Complete additional assignments and an interview if you are selected as a candidate
UNICEF may send you additional assignments such as an online evaluation, a written assignment or a video evaluation before interviewing you. You will be interviewed once you have completed and approved any additional assignments.
- The additional assessments and interview are based on UNICEF Core Values and Functional Competencies, so make sure to memorize the values and competencies relevant to the job position you applied for to refer to in assignments and interviews.
- Helpful tips for preparing the interview are available on the United Nations website here
Step 5. Wait for an email from the recruiting office about the result of the application
All applicants will receive the information, at least by email, whether they have been chosen for the position or not. The selection process usually takes between 1 and 4 months, so be patient if you do not receive an answer immediately.
- If you don't get the job you've applied for, you can always apply for another. There are hundreds of vacancies posted on the UNICEF website at any one time, so don't be discouraged.
- You can also set up job alerts through the UNICEF job portal to be notified when a new job posting is posted that meets certain eligible criteria.