Since the economic crisis hit the Korea in 1997, the Korean economy has suffered from lots of problems. Less companies are hiring new employees, and the number of the unemployed is reaching one million again.
In this difficult situation you do not need to find jobs only in Korea. Why don’t you work for international organizations like UN? Of course, it is pretty difficult to enter an international institute. But if you prepare enough, it will be a lot easier. You can get this chance by being a J. P. O. (Junior Professional Officer).
1. What is a JPO?
JPO is a temporary employee who is dispatched and financed by a country and works for international organizations like UNICEF. Our government has selected 19 JPOs since 1996, 5 selected each year.
They work under the same conditions as regular employees and are often hired later as specialists after gaining the necessary knowledge and experience. JPO’s responsibilities are diverse and include various tasks such as collection and analysis of data and area studies. JPOs often later join UN execution executive office if their ability is acknowledged.
They are sent to UN subsidiary organizations such as UNDP (United Nations Development Program), UNICEF (United Nations International Childrens Emergency Fund), UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) and UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). Annual-pay averages approximately $45,000.
2. What is needed to be a JPO?
If you want to be a JPO, you must be Korean with at least a bachelor degree. A master degree is not necessary.
There is no limitation related to major field of study, but most organizations require a person with specific knowledge or a background in business administration, economics, information systems or public administration. There are two entrance exams. They select applicants with the highest scores.
Only the people who passed the first exam can apply for the second test. The first exam is TEPS (perfect score is 50 points) and the second exam is a comprehensive evaluation. The second exam includes a personal interview (10 points), English interview (10 points), a second language interview (10 points), and an academic degree [a master’s degree or a doctor’s degree] or a certificate [lawyer or CPA] (10 points). A second foreign language is optional.
The related office of the international organization makes the final decision concerning employment and the place of employment (head office or field office). Applications usually start around February or March every year.
3. More requirements to be a competent JPO
Not all conditions mentioned above guarantee employment. These are the minimum requirements. If you want to be a competent JPO, you need to keep the following in mind.
First, speaking more than two languages is necessary. You need to speak foreign languages fluently enough to proceed with your project.
You need to know the specialized terms of each field. Also, you need to study one or two of the five UN official languages, Russian, French, Spanish, Arab and Chinese. Second, since the UN subsidiary organizations are diverse, you need to build your own specialized field of knowledge. As the work is diverse, specialized field knowledge is advantageous.
Third, being international, accomplished through living abroad, is required. Having field experience abroad through various programs like exchange programs, language training and long term travel is important. Fourth, you need to have an open mind toward the different cultures. There are many people from different cultures in the organization. You need to understand and respect their cultures.
Assignment : business assistance in the international organization
Selection Process : the first exam : TEPS (50 points)
the second exam : comprehensive exam (100 points)
Application period : 2001, 2, 12 ~ 22
(Usually round February or March)
The first exam : 2001, 3, 11
The second exam : 2001, 4, 10 ~ 12
As time goes by and globalization is accelerat-ing, the JPO has become very popular. Competition is getting fierce. In 1997, averaged one out of twenty was accepted, but nowadays only one out of hundred qualifies. It seems very hard to become a JPO. However, the job is as much attractive as it is competitive. This is all a good foundation to be a UN officer.
For more information, you can contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Tel: 725-5839, 733-3882
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