INSPIRA Application: Tips and Tricks

A platform that hosts all job application in the United Nations, INSPIRA is often misunderstood as a notoriously complicated career portal while in fact it is a simple online recruitment system. The common perception among internship applicants is that getting an internship via INSPIRA is nearly impossible. So how can you build a great INSPIRA application?

1. Make sure your personal profile is complete

From nationality, family details, to your place of residence. Note that if you have a family relative that is currently working at the UN office you’re trying to apply, most likely you will not be eligible for the internship. This is because the UN has to avoid conflict of interest and as well as implement fair and equal job opportunity. However, if you have family members that work in different UN agencies than you are eligible to apply for internship position.

2. Pay attention to the requirement

Some internship position requires you to have an excellent writing skill, experience in data processing, or a proficiency in a certain language. Applicants sometimes did not pay attention to these specific requirement. The tip is to really learn the application and see if you really do have the skills that they are looking for.

If there’s a communication internship position that requires the intern to speak France, most of the time they will pick a candidate that indicates “fluent” or “native”in writing, speaking, and listening in French under the language segment of the application. If you apply to this position and indicate that you are a “beginner” in one of the criteria for French language, then the system will most likely to screen you out of the eligible candidate pool.

3. Don’t copy and paste

Although you can save your previous INSPIRA application to be a template for your next application, please avoid copy-pasting on the cover letter part of the application. Candidates often write a very general cover letter that shows how enthusiastic they are about the work that the UN is doing, however this will not get you selected.

Once you have found the UN agency you’d like to apply to, write about how their specific programmes and activities really caught your interest. You can write about how your experience such as classes in university or skills you obtain from work can add up to improving their specific programs.

4. Keyword

While you are writing your specific cover letter, make sure you pay attention on the keywords that the internship application use in describing the candidate they are looking for.

For example, some internship application will require you to have design experience such as working with AI or Photoshop. If you have that experience and the same skill that they listed, don’t forget to type it down. The INSPIRA system will detect them and they will add to your application’s weight.

5. Don’t skip

One of the main reason why applicants fail at this phase of internship screening, is simply because they often leave some parts of the application as empty. The most common mistake is leaving the publication part empty while you could have filled it with journals you’ve made during your study or Op-Ed you have published in local newspaper. If you list them down, it will certainly add on the weight of your application and also gives the recruiter more options for their consideration about you.

Last tip:

In the beginning of your application, you will have to indicate if you can afford all the expenses you will have during your internship (from accommodation, air fare, to visa application fee), if you indicate you’d need support then you will be screen out of the eligible pool. The reason is because in general the UN does not cover and will not be responsible for intern’s expenses.

-------------------- The article was written by Hillary Bakrie, IUNIA Founder and Mentor. Feel free to drop your comment and questions to

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