Ever wonder what impact your Peace Corps experience can make in the workplace? When I worked in the Peace Corps’ office of Returned Volunteer Services in Washington, DC, I met many returned Peace Corps Volunteers — living in DC and around the globe — who were making a difference at work. I also met many more who were trying to figure out how to make that happen! If you’re part of the latter then this column will hopefully help with your job search — and many times we learn about it simply by sharing the stories of others.

Applying our experience
Tim, for example, an RPCV from Honduras, landed a great job as an assistant editor at a large NGO in Boston. Although his position was entry-level, he made a huge impact on the organization’s publications and among his colleagues simply by applying his cross-cultural skills. As one publication was going global, he voiced concern about U.S.-centric language and encouraged writers to think with a more global perspective. He would offer colorful examples of the cultural backgrounds of readers they had and those they wanted to attract. Tim made a difference; and Tim attributes this to his Peace Corps experience and commitment to using the cross-cultural skills he developed as a Volunteer.

How do we do it?
Tim isn’t unique among RPCVs. Far from it. There’s a bit of Tim in all of us and opportunities to apply our cross-cultural, language and technical skills and experience. We didn’t have to be super-star Volunteers, and some of us may not have finished their Peace Corps tour. We know, though, that the time we spent as Volunteers changed who we are and that impact will permeate much of what we do in our life and careers. Yet, how do we find the job so we can apply those skills to a career that’s meaningful to us? This column will provide some guidance on that.

This column’s future and you
This blog will be written for RPCVs who are interested in career guidance, job search support, and related resources. It will highlight techniques for networking effectively, using the internet in the job search, and developing strategies to take you further in your career.

Although I’ve worked in career planning for many years, I’ve learned that the expertise really exists among all of you and we benefit when we all share our tips, strategies, and resources. So I want to hear from you in the comments section about what is working and what you recommend to other RPCVs as they search for a job and a career.

I’m looking forward to sharing what I can with you. What do you want to see in this column? What topics would be helpful to you? What are specific themes you would like highlighted here? Do let us all hear from you.

— Susan Musich