Returned Volunteer FAQs
Here you'll find resources for continuing involvement with the Peace Corps' from administrative necessities such as keeping your records up-to-date, to more enjoyable opportunities such as finding RPCV groups in your area. FAQs fall into the following four catagories:
Loose Ends | Staying Connected | Employment | Federal Employment
What is a GS level? Do I have a grade and series?
As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you were not a federal government employee. Therefore, you do not have a grade or series. However, you may still qualify for certain federal positions on the basis of your relevant experience and education level. Most RPCVs qualify at the GS-7 or GS-9 levels, based on their individual combinations of work experience and education. For more information about the federal government's GS system, see the RPCV Benefits and Services section.
What is noncompetitive eligibility?
Noncompetitive eligibility (NCE) is a special mechanism through which RPCVs can be appointed to federal GS positions without competing with the general public in order to be hired. Not all federal agencies use a competitive hiring process, so contact the hiring agency directly to inquire.
For more information about the federal government's GS system, see the RPCV Benefits section.
RPCVs may provide a noncompetitive eligibility letter (PDF) to prospective federal employers explaining their noncompetitive eligibility. For more information, see the NCE section of the RVS webpage.
What is the policy for working with intelligence agencies?
Each federal agency has a different policy for the length of time an RPCV must wait before being hired for intelligence activities. Please contact the agency directly for more information.
What is an SF-50? Do I have a performance appraisal from the Peace Corps that I can use in the federal hiring process?
Federal employers sometimes ask RPCV applicants for a copy of their SF-50s. This form is called a "Notification of Personnel Action," and serves as a permanent record of a federal employee's promotions, pay-grade increases, duty station transfers, or other administrative matters. As a PCV/RPCV you are/were not a federal employee; therefore, you do/did not have an SF-50.
If you are applying for a job that requires a performance evaluation of previous work, you may use a copy of your Description of Service (DOS) as a formal description of your Peace Corps work, though the DOS is a factual account of your service and does not evaluate your work as a PCV.
Most federal job applications ask for a copy of your most recent performance appraisal. Try to get a general letter of recommendation that gives an account of your work habits and character from an overseas Peace Corps staff member familiar with your work.
It is advisable to get a letter of recommendation before you leave or shortly after you return from overseas. The longer the time since you left service, the more difficult it is to get such letters, since overseas staff may no longer be employed at the same post, or may have left the Peace Corps since you served. This letter can be used in lieu of a performance appraisal.
What if I have other questions about re-entry services?
Refer to the Career Resource Manual presented to you at your COS conference, or contact Returned Volunteer Services: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last updated Jan 22 2013