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Does Peace Corps Look Good on a Resume?

Joining the Peace Corps is a unique and impactful experience that can have a positive impact on many aspects of your life, including your professional career. For those who are considering joining the Peace Corps, one major question that often arises is whether or not this experience will look good on a resume. In this article, we will explore the potential benefits and drawbacks of adding Peace Corps experience to your resume, and provide some key takeaways for job seekers.

Key Benefits of Adding Peace Corps to Your Resume

  • Cross-Cultural Skills and Experience – By joining the Peace Corps, you have the opportunity to work in a cross-cultural context, which can help to develop your interpersonal and cross-cultural communication skills. Exposure to different languages, customs, and perspectives will make you a more well-rounded and open-minded individual.

  • Networking Opportunities – Peace Corps volunteers have the chance to work with local communities, NGOs, and government agencies. These connections can be valuable for building professional relationships and making contacts for future job opportunities. Additionally, you may gain contacts in the field of international development and humanitarian work.

  • Demonstration of Soft Skills – Joining the Peace Corps is a testimony that you have the resilience, adaptability, flexibility, and cross-cultural sensitivity needed to navigate new challenges and complexities. A volunteer’s ability to thrive in a novel and dynamic environment shows potential employers that they can handle situations beyond their comfort zone.

  • Relevance for Global Industries – Peace Corps volunteers have a unique experience in the international development field, which is highly applicable to global employment sectors. Their experiences can extend to fields such as government, education, international business, and public services. Additionally, their cross-cultural competency and language skills can serve as a foothold into new markets and opportunities.

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Some Potential Drawbacks of Adding Peace Corps Service on Your Resume

  • Perceived Lack of Career Development – Volunteering for the Peace Corps may be seen as a hiatus from building up a professional career. In some long-term career paths, such as specialized programs or career fields, prolonged absence from the industry may be seen as a lack of professional growth or development.

  • Challenge of Re-Entry into the Job Market – A big challenge that Peace Corps alumni face is once they are back home and have re-entered the workforce, their Peace Corps experience may not be immediately relevant to new career opportunities, and they may find themselves facing a gap in their employment history.

  • Homesickness and Cultural Shock – Volunteering abroad may sometimes result in isolation, homesickness, or culture shock, which could impact a participant’s overall mental and emotional health. This could influence job performance, and potential employers may worry about that being a hindrance to future assignments.

Key Takeaways

  • Adding Peace Corps service to your resume can be highly advantageous, especially if you are targeting international development, humanitarian work, or related fields.
  • Peace Corps is highly respected as an organization that encourages volunteers to develop valuable interpersonal, communication, and cross-cultural skills.
  • Highlighting the achievement of being accepted into the Peace Corps should be emphasized within the resume, as potential employers see it as a competitive edge with dedication to serving others.
  • Creating a narrative that shows the relevance of the Peace Corps experience to your career outlook, in general, can make your experience look more valuable to potential employers.
  • Peace Corps service is not suitable for everyone. An applicant must honestly evaluate if the commitment and uncertainty of living in a foreign environment is acceptable for their personal and professional life.
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