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Preparing Written Applications
PARTICIPANT GUIDE



Preparing Written Applications 3
Table of Contents

Page

Purpose and Learning Objectives .................................................... 4
The UN Job Application....5
The new Terminology at a Glance.. .. 6
The Application Form - The Career Planning Process7
Process for Writing the Application . 8
Step 1 - Know Yourself .......... 9
Step 2 - Understand the Position.. ...... 11
Step 3 - Prepare the Application .................................................... 15
Preparing the Cover Letter ............................................................. 23
Your Application Tips and Expert Advice ................................... 26
Annexes ............................................................................................. 28


Preparing Written Applications 4
Purpose and Learning Objectives
Purpose
The overall purpose of this workshop is to help participants understand and apply the
basic principles of writing effective applications and cover notes. This hands-on
workshop will also provide tips and expert advice to focus on the specific purpose of
the application and cover letter: to obtain an interview.


Learning objectives
At the end of this workshop, you will:
1. Understand the importance of knowing yourself when building your
application.
2. Recognize the importance of understanding the position in order to prepare
an effective application.
3. Know and apply the steps to effectively describe your duties and
achievements.
4. Be able to target your application and cover letter to the Job Opening for
which you are applying.


Participant objectives
My objectives for the session:

1. ____________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________


2. ____________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________



Preparing Written Applications 5
3. ____________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________

Preparing Written Applications 6
The UN Job Application
What is the written UN job application?
The written application is a document which allows you, the applicant, to demonstrate
your experience and achievements. In other words, your application provides written
evidence of your eligibility for particular posts. It includes Preferences, Education and
Work Experience, Skills, References and Cover Letter and Additional Information. It is
used to evaluate your suitability for a vacancy.



Additionally:

The application is an electronic document that can be updated and changed, at
any time, but specifically when you apply for a position.
All applicants (internal and external) apply to the UN using it.
The application is not static it is more than just a profile, it is your electronic
resume.
Your application requires concise and pertinent information related to your
duties and achievements.
Do not attach a Resume to your UN application.


Preparing Written Applications 7
New Terminology at a Glance
UN Terminology or terminology
in previous selection system
Terminology for External Views and
Internal Applicants pages in Inspira
Terminology for Other
Internal pages in Inspira
Category and Level Category and Level Salary Administration Plan
Department Department Business Unit
Duty station Duty station Location
Functional Title Job Title Job Title
Human Resources Case Officer Recruiter Recruiter
Occupational Group Job Family Job Family
Organizational Unit (Branch, Section,
etc.)
Organizational Unit Department
Programme Case Officer Hiring Manager Hiring Manager
Personal History Profile your application and User Profile
your application and User
Profile
Vacancy Announcement Job Opening Job Opening
Vacancy Announcement Title Posting Title (title in the Job Opening)
Posting Title (title in the Job
Opening)


For detailed information, click on www.itsforreal.un.org/recruitment, and then click on
staffing. Under related content you will see Instructional Manual as the first bullet, and this
will bring you to the Applicant Manual.

Preparing Written Applications 8
The Application Form

The Career Planning Process

Effective career planning can be a challenging endeavour because it forces us to ask the
tough questions about what weve been doing, how weve been doing it, and more
importantly, what we would like to be doing in the future.

Think about the organizations focus on mobility, career development and
competencies. Add the broad range of mandates, occupations, and functions, all of
which offer a wide array of career opportunities. Effective career planning, therefore,
helps you navigate the choices and options you have for your career development.

Here are the three main parts:
One of the key outcomes of the process is the creation of your application. Your
application will be one of your most powerful documents if you have wisely invested in
career planning. Why? Because you will know yourself better, you will better
understand the positions which interest you, and you will create an application which
reflects your aspirations, achievements and competencies.

Determine your
competencies
Draft a career
plan
Evaluate your
preferences &
satisfiers
Assess your
performance
Become actively
engaged
Conduct career
discussions
Invest in your
development
Reality-check
your expectations &
opportunities
Understand current
UN work realities
Become familiar
with HR rules and
policies
Use the Career
Resource Centre
Log onto inspira to
increase awareness
Engage
actively

Preparing Written Applications 9
Process for Writing your Application
Like the career planning process, writing your application requires a thorough
knowledge of your competencies, achievements and duties for your current and
previous positions. It is your opportunity to tell your story in a way that demonstrates
your fit, i.e., how well you match the requirements of the Job Opening.

The most effective place to begin is by taking inventory of your career history. Taken
as a whole, the process for preparing your application follows three main steps, as
follows:



KNOW
YOURSELF
You will first need to know and be able to
describe yourself. Since the application
requires your employment history, begin by
examining each of your positions starting
with your current Job.

Even if you are not planning to apply for a
vacancy, it is wise to take stock and build an
application so that when you see a Job
Opening of interest, you will have already
begun the application process.


UNDERSTAND
THE POSITION
Although your employment history does
not change, most career counsellors suggest
that it is best to draft your application with a
position in mind. This will enable you to
best highlight and demonstrate matching
qualifications.

If you have already drafted an application,
you can now target it to match the Job
Opening.

PREPARE THE
APPLICATION
By doing research on the Job Opening and
with a complete assessment of your
employment history, you are now ready to
build your application. Most of your efforts
will be in describing your education,
languages, employment history, and skills.

Preparing Written Applications 10
However, duties and achievements will be
the focus of this workbook.


Preparing Written Applications 11
Step 1 Know Yourself
For your last two positions that you have had, ask yourself these
three questions:

1. What did I do? (i.e., duties executed)
2. What competencies did I use and/or demonstrate?
3. What results did I achieve? (either individually, or as a member
of a team)

The answers to these questions will help you identify and categorize
your competencies and achievements.

Ex 1
Know yourself

Use the spaces below to answer the questions listed above. A few
sample entries are provided to prompt your answers.

Duties Competencies Achievements
Planned and supported
twenty training
programmes within two
months.
Planning and organizing
Accountability

Successfully secured $2M
from member state
contributions to establish
new fund for training
global HIV educators
Managed a team of 40 staff
members as first reporting
officer
Leadership
Managing Performance
Developed strong morale
and trust with staff,
resulting in increased
productivity and client
service.
Oversaw the drafting and
compilation of unit SOPs to
assist with training of new
staff.
Communication
Professionalism
Contributed to the
streamlining of unit
guidelines, which resulted
in more efficient work flow
and invoice processing for
consultants.

Preparing Written Applications 12



Preparing Written Applications 13

Duties Competencies Achievements



















Duties Competencies Achievements
















Preparing Written Applications 14
Step 2 Understand the Position

Understanding the position requirements
In order to target your application and cover letter, it is critical that you invest
some time in understanding the position requirements. There are two main
benefits of understanding the position requirements:

1. Time savings and reduced frustration that results from applying for Jobs not
suited to your strengths and aspirations.
2. Improved ability to position yourself to meet the needs of the hiring
manager.

Four tasks for better understanding the position
1. Analyze the Job Opening what are the responsibilities, competencies and
qualifications required?
2. Take the quiz below to assess whether it is apt to apply.
Put a Y for Yes and an N for No.

(Y) or (N)
1. Do I meet the minimum qualifications?
2. Do I have the competencies for the position?
3. Do I have a thorough understanding of the Job mandate
specifications and the experience required?

4. Do I know why I am really interested in the position?
5. Am I interested in the Job for the right reasons?
6. Do I know enough about the Department or Unit?
7. Does it make sense for me to apply now?
8. Does it fit in with my future career goals?


Preparing Written Applications 15
Were more than four (4) of your answers No? If so, then reconsider why it is you
are applying for the position it may not be worth your time to apply.

Preparing Written Applications 16
3. Now, put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager: what are they looking
for? Use your networking skills to find out what is critical for this position. If
possible, ask, e-mail or contact the hiring manager to obtain further
information.

4. Finally, do an analysis of the position against your qualifications. This will help
you focus your application as well as help you prepare for a potential Job
interview. Your analysis can also help you highlight the strengths you have for
the position, as well as identify any gaps for future development.


EVALUATION CRITERIA

It is important to read the qualifications section of each Job Opening carefully!

The evaluation criteria are the criteria against which the applicant is assessed and are in line
with the requirements stated in the Job Opening. Some are used for automated pre-screening
by Inspira, and they also form a compliance tool for Central Review bodies for use in
monitoring and reviewing the hiring process.

The evaluation criteria consist of:

a. Required years of work experience
b. Required education
c. Required languages
d. Competencies and skills




*Applicants who do not meet all required qualifications will not be considered for the post.

*The applicant who meets all the required qualifications but does not meet the desirable
qualifications will be considered qualified for the post and will be considered for the
assessment exercises. However, desirable qualifications are used to raise the bar in the
screening process if there are too many applicants; that said, an individual does not need to
possess every desirable qualification in order to apply.

Preparing Written Applications 17
Exercise: Analysis of a Job Opening
Choose one of following Job Openings.

1. Administrative Assistant (G-5), UNEP [INSPIRA]

Org. Setting and Reporting
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the United Nations system's designated entity for addressing
environmental issues at the global and regional level. Its mandate is to coordinate the development of environmental policy
consensus by keeping the global environment under review and bringing emerging issues to the attention of governments and
the international community for action. This post is located in the UNEP/DRC, RONA, at the Washington DC duty station. Under
the supervision of the Fund Management Officer, the incumbent will carry out the following duties:
Responsibilities
1. Human Resources Management: Enter, maintain and certify administrative data and records for time and attendance,
performance appraisal in electronic information systems; Review entitlements-related claims and reports; Provide advice and
guidance to staff with respect to administrative procedures, processes and practices, liaising with central administrative
services. 2. Budget and Finance: Monitors status of expenditures and allotments through IMIS, record variation and update
budget tables; Consolidate data received and provide support to higher level staff with respect to budget reviews; Review
status of relevant expenditures and compare with approved budget; Review requisitions for goods and services to ensure
correct objects of expenditure have been charged and availability of funds; Assist in the preparation of budget performance
submissions; Prepare statistical tables and standard financial reports. 3. General Administration: Prepare, process and follows
up on administrative arrangements and forms related to the official travel of staff; Draft routine correspondence; Maintain files
of rules, regulations, administrative instructions and other related documentation; Maintain up-to-date work unit files;
Coordinate extensively with service units and liaise frequently with internal team members both at Headquarters and in the
field; Perform administrative duties as operational travel programme; monitoring accounts and payment to vendors and
individual contractors for services; physical space planning; identification of office technology needs and maintenance of
equipment, software and systems; organizing and coordinating administrative arrangements for seminars, conferences and
translations. 4. Perform any other duties assigned.
Education
Completion of secondary school is required. Supplemental training in office/business administration or related field is required.
Work Experience
A minimum of 5 years progressive responsible work experience in administrative services, finance, accounting, audit, human
resources or related area is required.
Languages
English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the post advertised, fluency in oral and
written English is required.

What are the minimum educational requirements?





What is experience is required?






Languages?


Preparing Written Applications 18


Preparing Written Applications 19
2. Administrative Officer (P-3), Field Missions Administered by DPKO [GALAXY]

Responsibilities
Within delegated authority, the Administrative Officer is responsible for: (duties are generic and may differ depending on the
requirements of the mission.) General Administration: Overseeing work related to delivery of administrative support in areas
such as procurement, assets management, billing and receipt of income from various services, travel operations, monitoring
and evaluation of vendor contract performance and facilities management. . Review adequacy of space requirements; Oversee
the identification of office technology needs and maintenance of equipment, software and systems; Perform other related work
as required; Human Resource Management: Effectively coordinate actions related to administration of human resource
activities recruitment, placement, promotion, performance appraisal, job classification reviews, separation of staff members
and training to ensure consistency in the application of UN rules and administrative procedures. Define conditions of service,
duties and responsibilities and privileges and entitlements under the Staff Rules and Regulations. Finance and Budget: Takes
the lead with respect to the preparation and implementation of the work programme, ensuring that financial resources are
utilized to implement activities in accordance with programme budget and allotments issued. Monitors and reviews the work
programme and budget by conducting regular and special reviews to assess actual work progress versus the programme plan.
Coordinates the production of programme reports. Define work requirements and work with systems units to improve budget
reporting systems and cost effective utilization of program resources. Develop and implement procedures to ensure that
accounting and financial management controls are consistent with UN policy and practice. Supervise and provide guidance on
financial administration and management information issues and practices to staff. Provide leadership and guidance to junior
staff.
Education
Advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in business or public administration, finance, accounting, law or
social science. A first level university degree with a relevant combination of academic qualifications and professional experience
may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.
Work Experience
At least 5 years of progressively responsible experience in administration and human resources management or finance and
accounting management. Knowledge of UN rules and regulations and experience in UN field operations is desirable.
Languages
Fluency in spoken and written English or French is essential; knowledge of a second official UN language is highly desirable.
Other Skills
IMDIS, IMIS. Knowledge of SAP or similar software programmes of advantage.

What are the minimum educational requirements?




What is experience is required?





Languages?


Other Skills?


Preparing Written Applications 20
- BREAK -
Step 3 Prepare the Application
When logging on to inspira, click on Self Service, Recruitment Activities and Careers.
At the bottom of the page, click on Create Draft Application.



The application form consists of five sections: Preferences, Education and Work
Experience, Skills, References, and Cover Letter and Additional Information.

The link "Create Draft Application" allows the applicant to prepare and save one or
more fully or partially completed applications with or without applying to one or
several particular Job Opening(s) immediately. The applications that are saved and
those that are submitted for consideration to Job Openings are listed in your
applications page under My Career Tools.

Attention: When you apply for a job opening, the most recently created PHP will
automatically be used by the system. For details, see the Applicant Manual section
8.5.1.

Preferences

The Preferences section indicates an applicants preferred field of work and preferred
work location(s).


Preparing Written Applications 21
Education and Work Experience
With respect to the Education and Work Experience section, please note:

It is important to complete all information on education and work experience
accurately in the application as this information is used for system-automated
pre-screening and it serves as the basis for evaluating an applicants eligibility
and suitability for a Job Opening.
The applicant must note any period during which he/she was not gainfully
employed. In cases where the applicants has worked with one employer but
held several positions, he/she must indicate every Job held separately. This is
important for determining eligibility and suitability.

The Employment History part under the Education and Work Experience section of
the application is the one area that will require most of your time and effort. We will
focus on the main areas that applicants find most challenging, as follows:

1. Kind of employees directly supervised
It is important to highlight the number of staff reporting to you and their
category.
2. Description of Duties (maximum of 2500 characters)
This section is where you highlight your current and previous Job
responsibilities. Whenever possible, use the language of the UN competencies
and describe your duties with attention to the Job Opening you are applying
for. Highlight your duties in descending order of importance according to the
Job Opening. Be specific!

3. Summary of Achievements (maximum of 2500 characters)
This section is very important. It asks you to provide concrete examples of how
you have provided value, and/or made an impact, in your current and previous
positions. Providing the context, the specific actions and the results you
achieved in carrying out your duties is a critical component in writing a
successful application. Using the C-A-R statement model (context-action-
result), think of when, who, what, and why in order to effectively contextualize
your achievements.

4. Reasons for leaving (maximum 1500 characters)
For previous positions, cite your reasons for leaving. For example, offered a
promotion, and/or opportunity for professional development are good starting

Preparing Written Applications 22
points for responding to this section. For your current position, focus on why
you are interested in the vacancy. Describe in specific terms your motivation
for applying.
Skills
In the Skills section, you indicate all United Nations training courses attended (100
character limit), your knowledge of languages, any recognized publications written by
you, and any licenses or certificates obtained from recognized authorities, such as:

a. Accounting Assistant (ACCTNG)
b. Administrative Support Assessment Test (UNASAT)
c. Editorial/Desktop Assistant (EDIT)
d. Language Reference Assistant (LANGREF)
e. Statistical Assistant (STAT)

**ATTENTION: IN the skills section, be sure to click on licenses and certificates
and add any that are required for the job (including the ASAT).

Under languages, list your mother tongue, knowledge of other languages and whether
you have successfully passed the official United Nations Language Proficiency
Examination in any of the six official languages.


The language proficiency levels are defined as follows:
a. Proficient - The capacity to achieve most communicative goals and express
oneself on a familiar range of topics. If you have passed the LPE, please be sure to
note Proficient for all categories.
b. Confident - The ability to communicate in a limited way in familiar situations
and to deal in a general way with non-routine information.
c. Basic - The ability to deal with simple, straightforward information and begin to
express oneself in limited contexts.

See Annex C for a general guide to ascertaining language skills level.

References
In the References section you will list three persons as contact references who are
familiar with your character and qualifications, e.g present or past supervisors,
colleagues and/or mentors, but you should not give the names of anyone to whom
you are related (i.e. friends or family).
Cover Letter and Additional Information

Preparing Written Applications 23

Finally, in the Cover Letter and Additional Information section, you will attach your
cover letter and any relevant files, such as performance appraisals.
CVs and Resumes are not accepted.

Preparing Written Applications 24
Employment
Description of Duties (2500 characters maximum)

Here is where you highlight your current and previous job responsibilities. Whenever
possible, use the language of the UN competencies and describe your duties with
attention to the Job Opening you are applying for. Highlight your duties in descending
order of importance according to the Job Opening. Be specific!

To begin, look at the following list of duties taken from an array of actual applications:

Description of Duties *
1. Analyze and oversee the disbursement of staff entitlements (housing, education
grant, hardship pay, etc.) to approximately 250 UN staff members (100 and 200
contract series) in the field.
2. Manage office space, information technology equipment, and a wide range of
administrative responsibilities for the Department of Management.
3. Organize and coordinate approximately 10-20 trainings/month for UN staff at
headquarters and in 7 Offices Away from Headquarters in the areas of people
management, conflict resolution, negotiation, and leadership development.
4. Coordinate operations between Electoral Assistance Division (EAD) HQ, EAD
field teams based in the 25 state capitals of Sudan, UNMIS mission support and
military units and the United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).
5. Coordinate payment of over 20,000 temporary electoral employees, including
workers in remote areas of Liberia accessible only by helicopter.
* Numbering added for usability



Preparing Written Applications 25
Summary of Achievements (2500 characters maximum)

Duties describe the specific responsibilities of your job. They accurately reflect what
you are doing or have done in each of your positions.

Achievements describe what you actually did, or the results of your work. This section is
very important because it asks you to provide concrete examples of how you have
provided value, and/or made an impact, in your current and previous positions.
Providing the context, the specific actions and the results you achieved in carrying out
your duties is a critical component in writing a successful application.

This is a place to use your CAR (Challenge-Action-Result) stories.

To begin, take a look at this list of achievements:

Summarize Your Achievements.
1. Processed over 600 procurement cases totalling USD$500 billion in 2009, an
increase of over 50% in 2008.
2. Facilitated the establishment of $3M in major partnerships between the UN and a
major European private company in the area of water and sanitation.
3. Managed and monitored the portfolio implementation of over 70 projects totalling
$20 million USD in the field of democracy and good governance.(This is the new
one)
4. Monitored budget of $400,000 and maintained records and reports of funds
available for financial assistance to participating student delegates from developing
countries-ensuring geographic representation and gender equality.
5. Procured, under tight timeframe, all equipment needed for smooth operation of
media coverage of major conferences such as the Millennium Summit and World
AIDS conference.




Preparing Written Applications 26
Action verbs

Use action words to describe your experience and achievements. Here are some
examples:


Achieved
Acquired
Adapted
Addressed
Administered
Analyzed
Anticipated
Assembled
Audited
Budgeted
Calculated
Centralized
Changed
Collaborated
Composed
Condensed
Conducted
Constructed
Contracted
Converted
Coordinated
Created
Cultivated
Demonstrated
Designed
Developed
Devised
Discovered
Doubled
Drafted

Edited
Eliminated
Enforced
Established
Evaluated
Expanded
Explained
Forecasted
Formed
Founded
Generated
Guided
Hired
Implemented
Improved
Informed
Insured
Interpreted
Interviewed
Launched
Maintained
Managed
Marketed
Minimized
Motivated
Negotiated
Obtained
Operated
Organized
Originated
Oversaw

Performed
Planned
Prevented
Produced
Programmed
Promoted
Provided
Publicized
Published
Recruited
Reorganized
Reported
Researched
Resolved
Reviewed
Selected
Separated
Set up
Simplified
Solved
Surveyed
Staffed
Supervise
Taught
Tested
Trained



Preparing Written Applications 27
Now, begin drafting your own in the space below:

Summarize your achievements during the last year.































Preparing Written Applications 28

Reason for Leaving

For your current position (which you have not yet left, presumably), focus on why you
are interested in the vacancy. Describe in specific terms your motivation for applying.
For previous positions, cite your reasons for leaving. For example, offered a
promotion, and/or professional development/learning opportunity are good starting
points for responding to this section.

Here is an example for a current position:

Reason for Leaving*
1. My experience in working with the USG directly in my current post, as well as my
career aspirations, which focus primarily on human resource management, makes this
vacancy very appealing and ideally suited to my experience in all areas of financial,
administrative and personnel planning.
2. Promoted to a more senior position (P4) where I was responsible for providing
support to the USG and the Executive Officer to promote the Secretary Generals
Climate Change Agenda.
3. Accepted promotion as Program Associate with DESA/DSD.
* Please note that bulleting has been added for readability.














Preparing Written Applications 29



Preparing Written Applications 30
Preparing the Cover Letter
The cover letter, which you must complete when applying for a Job Opening, is the
personal introduction that accompanies your application.

Your aim in the cover letter is to describe how your experience, qualifications and
competencies match the position for which you are applying. Think of your cover
note as an opportunity to distinguish yourself from other Job seekers by
highlighting what makes you a good match for the position.

Your cover letter also plays a critical role in creating a hiring managers sense of you as
a person. Use the cover note to convey more fully who you are than your application.
Go into detail about key aspects of your background that relate to the Job opportunity,
but do not just rehash information from your application. Remember, your cover
letter also provides a sample of your writing skills, so pay attention to grammar and
spelling.

Your cover letter should be brief, three to four paragraphs, and as targeted as possible
to the position for which you are applying. Focus on the most relevant parts of your
background that relate to the Job Opening.

We suggest that you follow a standard communication structure to improve clarity
and readability. From there, you must customize the cover letter to best suit your
needs and the specifics of the situation. Here is the standard structure:

1. Open with statement of interest one short paragraph
Your Opening, or introduction, should state and explain why you are interested in
the position.
2. Summarize qualifications, experience and competencies one to two
paragraphs
Describe how your experience, qualifications and competencies match the
requirements for the position for which you are applying. Amplify or augment
information contained in your application, do not merely repeat it. Briefly describe
a few strengths and/or personal qualities related to the type of position you are
pursuing.
3. Close with a brief recap
The closing is a brief, one- or two-sentence recap of your key points.

It is important to balance the tone of your cover letter. You want to be professional,
cautiously assertive, but not presumptuous or overconfident. Additionally, while your

Preparing Written Applications 31
application does not have to conform to standard writing styles, e.g., grammar and
punctuation, a cover note does.
Sample Cover Letter:
UNITED NATIONS Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC)
Office of the Chief Civilian Personnel Officer and Chief Medical Officer


I am writing to express my strong interest in the FS-4 Administrative Assistant position in
the above mentioned office in MONUC.

With five years of previous experience in the private sector, I joined the Office of Human
Resources Management (OHRM) at United Nations Headquarters (UNHQ) in January 2008
as an intern in the Staffing Section, and later was hired as a Staff Development Assistant with
the Career Support and Performance Management team. During that time, I provided
administrative support to several Staff Development Officers and organized and coordinated
logistics for more over fifteen events (400+ participants), including information sessions,
workshops and several 5-day orientations training for a global network of Junior
Professionals (P-2s) with very positive evaluations.

In September 2010, I was selected for a G-6 temporary post in the Executive Office in the
Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO). My work in the HR Unit here has given
me an in-depth perspective of UN human resources policies and procedures, regulations and
rules. I work closely with a range of diverse colleagues, including the Finance Team,
Department of Field Support, UNDP, and DPKO staff members at all levels, answering
queries related to general administrative issues as well as processing, reviewing, monitoring
and following up personal actions for 100+ staff in HQ and in the field.

I have a certificate in Human Resources Management (New York University New York,
USA), and a bachelors degree in Social Sciences (Universidad Autnoma de Guadalajara,
Mexico).

I am quite adept with IMIS, MS-Access, MS-Excel, MS-PowerPoint, MS-Project, Inspira, HR
EZ-Trak and others systems and databases that I use in my daily work, and to refine existing
programs, presentations and SOPs.

I believe my educational background in human resources, competencies in IT and strong
client orientation would allow me to make a strong contribution to the daily operations of
the office and to help accomplish its goals successfully. I bring commitment and enthusiasm
to my work, as well as excellent communication, analytical and management skills with a
friendly personality and easy ability to work as a team member.

Preparing Written Applications 32

I am quite interested in pursuing work in a peacekeeping mission, and would welcome the
opportunity in particular to work with MONUC. My attached application and ePAS outline
my experience in greater detail. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Exercise: Types of Uniqueness

List 6 things that are unique about you.

Tip - Assuming you have all the qualifications (Education, Experience, Languages, Other
Skills) for the job, and these have been summarized in your cover letter, what additional
attributes do you have that would make you the best candidate for this position?

1.

2.

3.
4.

5.

6.

Cover note tips and expert advice
1. Draft the cover note in MS Word or similar word processing
software before sending it in with your application.
2. Ask someone to review your cover note and provide feedback.
3. Be natural avoid clichs.
4. Be specific and to the point.
5. Be positive, polite and professional.
6. Be confident, but not arrogant.
7. Proofread. For example, automatic spellchecking cannot tell the
difference between form and from.
8. Save an electronic copy for yourself.

Preparing Written Applications 33
9. Make sure your cover note answers these two critical questions:
a. Why are you interested in the position?
b. Why should we consider you?
LAST BUT NOT LEAST: OVERALL APPLICATION
TIPS AND EXPERT ADVICE
Write/Edit in MS Word
It is critical to create your application in MSWord or a similar word processing programme
and then cut/paste into Inspira.

Avoid I and My
Because your application is about you to begin with, you do not need to write the words I
and my. Doing so for every statement is repetitious and clutters your application with
unnecessary words.

One of the tricks is not really a trick at all, but a simple omission. Just leave out the words I
and my. Some people might have a problem with this, because from grade school through
college, we're taught to write complete sentences. But it's perfectly acceptable to construct your
application (or resume) with incomplete sentences. In fact, it's the preferred method.

Keep it concise
For some positions, up to 1000 applications are submitted, so do not make the mistake of
asking hiring managers to read through an unnecessarily long application. In fact, one of the
most common complaints is the length and wordiness of your applications. It is rare that you
would need to use the maximum allowable characters. Instead, use the character limits as a
guide for the ratio of content to include. For example, the character limit for duties and
achievements are both 2500.

Make your words count
Your use of language is extremely important; you need to sell and market yourself quickly
and efficiently. Address your potential employer's needs with clearly written, powerful
phrases.
Provide small, digestible pieces of information. Because of the number of
applications submitted for each Job Opening, your applications are regularly

Preparing Written Applications 34
scanned for keywords. For example, if you are applying for an economist
position, the hiring manager may scan for the keyword econ. Use the Job
Opening as a guide for keywords to include.
Use action verbs (see list at the end of this section)
Avoid passive sentence constructions, such as "was responsible for
managing"
Avoid clichs.

Make the most of your experience
Potential employers need to know what you have accomplished to have an idea of what you
can do for them.

Don't be vague. Try to describe things that can be measured objectively.
Using the CAR model (context-action-result), especially in your achievements
section, will focus on what youve accomplished and achieved, as opposed to
what you do on a daily basis.
Be honest. There is a difference between making the most of your experience
and exaggerating or falsifying it.

Target. Target. Target.
It is generally considered appropriate to target your application to a specific Job Opening.
Naturally, a customized cover note will also help you focus on the key aspects of your
application that relate to the position, but it is also in your interest to target the application to
highlight what is most relevant. This takes time, but it is well worth it.

Given that the system allows you to update your application and cover letter, it makes sense to
tailor the application for a specific position. In fact, customizing the cover note is the easiest
way for you to demonstrate that you have clearly read, understand, and are interested in that
job.





Annex A-How to find The Applicants Manual






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