5 résumé tips for your Peace Corps Response application

By Peace Corps Response
Jan. 23, 2018

Applying for Peace Corps Response is a bit different from applying to a job stateside or applying to a two-year Peace Corps Volunteer position.

Applicants have to do a lot in a short amount of time; you must demonstrate your flexibility and cross-cultural experience, but also show technical ability to fulfill the objectives of the position in 12 months or less. Here are some helpful hints from your Response recruiters:     

  1. Only include information relevant to the position: “References available on request?” Drop it—we know that we’ll be able to ask you for references, and we will do so later on in the process. An “Objective Statement” at the top of the résumé? No need—your objective is obviously to secure a Response position, and we need to know if your skills and experience match our need. Hobbies? While it’s great that you’re interested in hiking or knitting, if it’s not relevant to the assignment for which you’re applying, leave it off.
  2. Add a section of key qualifications: Many recruiters find it helpful if a candidate includes a brief section, easily accessible at the top of your résumé, that lists the skills you have cultivated in your professional life. For example, you might want to enter bullet points that state, “Organizational development: 4 years conducting process improvement. Project management: facilitated 5 major projects in 2 years. Fundraising: $200,000 raised at present employer.” This type of quick summary helps a recruiter see that you’re a fit for the job, especially if you match this section to the “required qualifications” as listed in the position description.
  3. Highlight your Peace Corps and other volunteer experience: If you’ve served in the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps or another relevant service program, make sure to highlight this up front, ideally under your “Professional Experience” section. We want to know that you’ve developed the flexibility and initiative required in volunteer positions right away; don’t bury it in a separate “volunteer experience” section at the end! If you do not have previous Peace Corps experience, look for other items to ensure that skills and qualifications that demonstrate flexibility and adaptability are prominent.
  4. Consult the “Required Qualifications” section in the job posting: Peace Corps Response positions listed online all contain a section that delineates what qualifications are mandatory for application. We highly advise that you consult this section closely when you’re drafting or revising your résumé; while it should go without saying, if you don’t meet these qualifications, you should not apply! If you do, you should try to ensure that each of the qualifications is reflected in your résumé. This will ensure that the recruiter reviewing your application is able to determine your eligibility to be considered for the position.
  5. Keep it short, simple and sweet: Recruiters review a very high volume of applications, so it’s helpful for us to be able to make a determination about whether you are a qualified candidate quickly and easily. A Peace Corps Response résumé is not like a federal job application résumé—don’t worry about including every place of employment going back to the start of your career. Include the most relevant positions that demonstrate your skills and knowledge for this position. If you’re a research professional, don’t include six pages of publications; perhaps include a few that demonstrate your knowledge base for the position to which you’re applying. Your résumé should be no more than two to three pages long; it should relate the most essential details about your education, prior volunteer experience, language abilities and professional experience that relates to the position. It’s always a best practice to revise and tailor your résumé for each position to which you apply. 

Peace Corps Response positions are highly competitive and we receive numerous qualified applicants for each posting. It’s easy to get discouraged if you’re not selected the first, second or third time applying. We also host office hours on Fridays twice a month if you have questions about applying to Peace Corps Response (contact us at [email protected] to set up an appointment). 

Keep at it—and keep in mind these helpful hints! 

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