Welcome back to the US! Or if you're just finishing more school, welcome back to the glorious U.S. job market! In this article I will provide a bunch of useful resources for finding a job on your return from Peace Corps.
The author power networking herself into the prestigious FoT Vice-President position
1. Peace Corps Career Center and other resources. If you're in Washington, DC you might as well head over to the Peace Corps Career Center, located in Rosslyn, Virginia. I found the spreadsheet listings of international development organizations most helpful for learning about the multitude of development organizations that are in DC and around the country. While this is a good place to start and gives you a sense of purpose in your job search, I do not recommend spending too much time there. Try it out for a few days max and then move on to a coffee shop.
I also found the Hotline magazine pretty helpful as a resource for current job listings. It is also a good place to learn about development and other non-profit organizations.
2. Idealist.org, Craigslist.org etc etc. There are a lot of great job search sites, like Monster.com and Simplyhired.com, but I think that the best for doing non-profit work is Idealist.org. There are tens of new job postings every day all around the country. This is a great site for learning about smaller community development organizations in your area.
If you're doing a more development focused search I recommend ReliefWeb or InterAction (which you can get access to via Peace Corps) or DevNetJobs. These sites will help you learn about organizations that you want to work for, and then you can go to that org's website to check on their job postings. From there you can figure whether your brother's former classmate knows someone who works at the organization that you're interested in so that you can do an informational interview with that person.
I also like Craigslist.org for finding jobs. It is sketchy, yes. But if you approach it knowing that it is sketchy you can weed out the jobs that look like a scam or look like just a position where you're attempting to get money from people on the street. It is a free place to post, so a lot of non-profits or other orgs will post jobs there because it is free. Just use common sense when responding to ads.
3. Don't be afraid to temp. When I moved to DC after Peace Corps one of the first things I did was sign up with a three or four temp agencies. Not all RPCVs go this route, but I found that it was an easy way to make money while I was looking for a full-time job. Most jobs that RPCVs qualify for are administrative and don't require that much brain power so I found ample time to still apply for positions.
Here are some of my recommendations for DC temp agencies: Help Unlimited Temps is a favorite of RPCVs and they love RPCVs as well. Career Blazers has clients like the IMF and the World Bank so if you are interested in those organizations that is a good place to try. CityStaff is good, and Ajilon is a national organization with a lot of legal and other types of temp positions.
4. If you don't feel like temping, you might as well volunteer. Volunteering or doing an internship is a great way to get your foot in the door. It means you get a chance to get to know people who work there, you get to know their systems, and you're right there when they have a position opening. It doesn't always work out, but at the very least you'll meet people who know people and you can start the networking fun!