Careers in international organisations

Switzerland strives to fill strategic positions in multilateral organisations with senior Swiss officials. It develops strategies and conducts targeted campaigns to achieve this goal.

In certain cases, Switzerland supports candidacies submitted by individuals. The Swiss government selects the candidates it supports based on Switzerland's political interest in the position and in the multilateral organisation. As a rule, Switzerland takes active steps to support a candidacy once an individual has been shortlisted. In order to be able to examine whether a candidacy can be supported by Switzerland, the FDFA requires the complete application dossier (vacancy notice, application letter, curriculum vitae).

If you are applying for a specific position in an international organisation, the FDFA will be happy to provide advice and support.

Switzerland's presence in international organisations

Getting into an international organisation

There are different ways to start your career in an international organisation. In addition to a degree from a higher education institution and several years of relevant professional experience, you need excellent social skills and flexibility if you want to have an international career. If you want to apply to work in an international organisation you need to be:

  • Willing to work anywhere in the world, even in remote and/or unsafe regions, rural areas or crisis zones
  • Prepared to accept hardships in terms of quality of life, security and supplies (e.g. irregular supply of water or electricity, lack of healthcare services)
  • Intercultural skills: working together with people from different countries requires patience and sensitivity.
  • Ability to handle long periods of uncertainty concerning your employment contract. International organisations often employ staff on short-term contracts only and do not guarantee follow-on contracts.

If you are interested in a career in an international organisation, visit the job portals listed below, where you will find information on vacancies and application processes.

Switzerland helps young professionals start careers in international organisations by funding Junior Professional Officer posts advertised on the cinfo website. 

Cinfo jobs portal: Swiss Junior Professional Officer positions in UN organisations 

International Career Day 2019

The logo of the International Career Day 2019 embedded in red and blue colored areas.
International Career Day 2019 in St. Gallen. © FDFA

The FDFA is inviting university graduates and young academics to the Olma Messen in St Gallen to meet representatives of international organisations and learn about their activities, career opportunities and recruitment processes.

ICD 2019

List of job portals of key international and regional organisations

  • UN Global Call 2019
    The Global Call for Nominations for the positions of Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) in the United Nations peace operations is an outreach initiative conducted by the United Nations Headquarters. The Global Call initiative aims to increase and diversify the pool of potential candidates for senior leadership positions in the field, including with a view of advancing gender parity and geographical diversity at the United Nations Senior Leadership level.

    Further information on this year's Global Call and frequently asked questions (FAQ) on the process can be found at: www.un.org/globalcall. The application deadline for individual candidatures is 30 September 2019. Inquiries concerning the support for Swiss candidacies in international organizations are addressed at kandidaturen@eda.admin.ch.
  • UN Inspira: posts at the UN Secretariat (en)
  • UN Funds, Programmes, Specialised Agencies and Others
  • OSCE
    Please note that only selected OSCE jobs can be financed by Switzerland. You can find these on the homepage of the Swiss Expert Pool for Civilian Peacebuilding.
  • Council of Europe
  • OECD
  • List of international organisations with links to their job vacancies (German only)

Applicants specialised in human rights

Human rights are one of the cornerstones of Swiss foreign policy. Two of the UN Human Rights Council's key mechanisms to promote and defend human rights are the 'special procedures' and the treaty bodies of the UN, which ensure that the human rights conventions are being implemented and monitor how this is done. If you have recognised skills in the field of human rights here are some interesting links:

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Election of treaty body members

Special procedures: nomination, selection and appointment of mandate holders