How to Prepare Yourself and Your Resume
So, you want to work with the Peace Corps. Chances are, you’re feeling excited, empowered and… a little overwhelmed. Preparing to apply to the United States’ largest volunteer organization can be stressful, especially when you still have a few years before your application can be accepted. The best way to prepare yourself for the application process (and to calm those pre-application nerves) is to buff up your resume, surround yourself with Peace Corps culture, and start getting acquainted with the work you want to do abroad. Here are a few ways that you can start preparing for the Peace Corps, before you even apply.
Get involved with your Campus Peace Corps Student group
Most college campuses have at least one Peace Corps student group for interested students, so get involved! These groups are designed to connect future Peace Corps volunteers with each other and with returned volunteers. Some common activities among these groups are: promoting the Peace Corps on campus with spirit events and dinners, volunteering as a group to help the community, and organizing events featuring returned volunteers. At the University of Minnesota, we have two Peace Corps student groups: The Peace Corps Student Group and The Peace Corps Ambassadors group. The Peace Corps Ambassador’s group is a slightly more serious commitment; members actively promote the Peace Corps by organizing social media campaigns, reaching out to other student groups, organizing promotional events, and more!
Buff up your volunteer record
To prepare yourself for the work that you want to do with the Peace Corps, volunteer in your own city! Learning the ins and outs of community service beforehand is the best way to prepare yourself for the volunteer work that you want to do abroad. If you have trouble motivating yourself to find volunteer opportunities, join a volunteer organization or student group to motivate yourself to volunteer on a regular basis. If there is a specific field you want to work in with the Peace Corps, get some volunteer experience in that field; working in your desired field beforehand will hone your skills so that you can be a stronger candidate.
Explore your options
The Peace Corps sends volunteers to over 141 different countries to work in one of six different community service fields, so you’ve got a lot of options. On your application, you will be able to cite which countries and which fields you would be interested in working in, so do your research now! Know which fields you could offer the most expertise in (Agriculture or Education? Youth in Development or Community Economic Development?), and scan the map to see if there’s a specific region or country you want to serve in. Take into account your miscellaneous skills and how they might be of use to the Peace Corps: maybe you speak Arabic as a first language, or work well with children, or are especially intuitive when it comes to engineering. These special skills might help you pinpoint the country and field where you can help the most. Keep in mind that versatility might be one of your special skills; you might find that you would fair well in a number of countries and fields, meaning that you could choose the “Anywhere I’m Needed” or the “Any Work Sector” options when you apply.
Now go forth and prepare for the application of your lives!