Network your way into the UN

Alejandro Daniel Wolff, deputy permanent U.S. representative to the United Nations, met ENOUGH Project co-founder John Prendergast ahead of the meeting on peace and security in Darfur in June 2008. Events like this provide a venue for networking among international development players. Photo by: Mark Garten / UN

Networking is a valuable skill to acquire for anyone desiring a career in international development. This is particularly true for job applicants to the United Nations.

Jasmina Popin, a consultant for the U.N. Industrial Development Organization, began her career with the U.N. in 2007. She was accepted in a three-month internship at the U.N. Development Program’s office in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

But it took Popin two years from speaking with someone about the internship before landing the assignment. Unlike some, she was not intimidated with the idea of proactively approaching the global organization.

“I originally come from the region, and during my visit to Bosnia in 2005, I was in Srebrenica,” Popin recalled. “I saw the UNDP office and walked inside to inquire in person about the opportunities of doing an internship once I commenced my postgraduate studies.”

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About the author

  • Ingridphoto

    Ingrid Ahlgren

    Ingrid is a Devex correspondent based in New York City. She worked as a staff writer for from 2007 to 2009, helping to write guidebooks, including the "Vault Guide to the Top Government and Nonprofit Employers." Before moving to New York, she was a researcher for National Geographic Traveler magazine in Washington, D.C. Ingrid holds a master's in journalism from the University of Missouri. As the daughter of a U.S. diplomat, she grew up all over the world.