Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Peace Corps volunteers earn an employment advantage

I was 15 when I found out that English classes were offered by a group of Americans -- Peace Corps volunteers -- in my native city, Chisinau. I didn’t know why Americans were in Moldova teaching English, but I jumped at the opportunity to learn English with native speakers. But I learned more than English; I learned about American values, such as tolerance towards minority groups, the concept of community service, and freedom of speech and the press. The Peace Corps played an important role in my upbringing and I am grateful to all Peace Corps volunteers that make a difference in people’s lives all over the world.

Benefits of Joining the Peace Corps

The skills developed by Peace Corps volunteers are important to employers across all sectors of the economy. Acquiring international work experience in a particular area of expertise, as well as cross-cultural competency, leadership skills, professional savvy, and fluency in foreign languages prepare Peace Corps graduates for today’s global economy. Depending on your work area in the Peace Corps and the job you would like to do, many employers consider Peace Corps service as work experience.

Peace Corps volunteers return home with proof that they enhanced professional abilities in specific areas and overcame challenges, setting them apart from other job applicants. During service, volunteers are given a tremendous amount of responsibility and autonomy. In order to successfully complete their tenure as a volunteer, they must develop the ability to self-manage and solve challenging problems without intensive management from their supervisor, who is often located in a different city.

A significant employment advantage for volunteers is the one-year noncompetitive eligibility for jobs in the federal government. After completion of service, federal agencies may expedite the hiring process for returned volunteers by hiring them without a vacancy announcement, formal screening, interview or other federal recruitment steps. The decision to hire a returned Peace Corps volunteer, however, remains at the discretion of the hiring agency and the candidate must meet the minimum qualifications for the position. 
To learn more about how Peace Corps can help you advance your career, read Economist Felicia Bechtoldt's full article "Peace Corps - A Launching Pad for a 21st Century Career".

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