Does my résumé matter when I apply to the Peace Corps?

By Mariana Andrade-Bejarano
July 21, 2020

The short answer is: absolutely. Your resume matters a great deal in the assessment process and should be the starting point for your application.

Placement officers review hundreds of resumes to identify the strongest applicants: The more relevant experience your resume demonstrates, the higher the chance that you will be offered an interview.

How does an applicant get started with creating a resume as a part of a strong application?

To start with, review the following links as you begin your application process: the Application Process page will walk you through the entire process; the Pre-Application Checklist is where you will see that your resume is one of the required documents for your application; the Volunteer Openings page is where you can view the required or desired skills for every position, helping you tailor your resume.

How does an applicant know what experience to highlight on their resume?

In each of the volunteer openings, you’ll notice the following key parts:

  • A “Required Skills” portion lists what education and experience applicants must have to qualify for a position. Without these qualification, an applicant will not be selected.
  • A “Desired Skills” portion lists additional skills and experience that will make applicants stronger, more competitive candidates. However, these skills are not required and you can be invited for service without any of the desired skills.

PRO TIP: If you don’t have any of the desired skills, you might want to look at other openings to see if you have some of the skills listed in this section. You will be more competitive if you have at least of the desired skills. A targeted resume shows that you take Peace Corps service seriously and allows you to demonstrate that you researched the job and put time and thought into your application.

How does an applicant know what to include in their resume?

  • Include: positions held (including dates month/year), experiences that demonstrates meeting the required/desired skills, education (with graduation or expected graduation date), language proficiency and other education/accomplishments as they pertain to the position.
  • Do not include: work experiences you want or plan to do in the future, skills/experience you want to gain, social security number, and date of birth, objective/summary that is not focused for the position, photos, private or health matters and physical characteristics.

Finally, it is important to clarify that a resume is not the sole deciding factor. Instead, it is the first place we will look for the required skills for the job posting. Highlighting how you qualify for a position with your resume may help get you to the interview. You can attend a virtual event for more information on submitting a strong resume for Peace Corps service. After all, you want to use your resume to help get to an interview.

Placement officers are always looking for the strongest applicants for their programs. Be sure to put your best foot forward!

Ready to start your Peace Corps journey? Connect with a recruiter today. They can also help you with your resume.

This blog was updated from its original version by Robyn Cadwallader. Robyn Cadwallader became a placement officer in January 2017 and selects volunteers to serve in Zambia. She served as an NGO advisor in Suriname 2003-05 and the Master’s International at Rutgers. She served in Peace Corps Response in 2005. After her service she spent over 10 years working for the American Red Cross worldwide.

Mariana Andrade-Bejarano

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