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Asked by Tanya on February 4, 2017

How do recruiters view full-time service after college, such as the Peace Corps or Teach for America? Will these experiences help or hurt my application for a corporate position?

Answered by Stuart, Hiring Expert at Gap Inc., on February 21, 2017

Hello! This is a great question and relevant for anyone with unpaid volunteer work. If you have limited career experience these kinds of activities are an excellent substitute. Also if you are unemployed or only currently working part time they also add value to a resume. The key is to include them in your resume and highlight skills used in service or volunteer positions that relate to the position you are applying to, just like any other employment. Planning and event, recruiting other volunteers, teaching a subject or a skill etc. are all valuable skills. Even the simplest volunteer work can show a potential employer commitment, teamwork, following a schedule, and showing up on time.

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Answered by Claire, Hiring Expert at American Express, on March 10, 2017

Hi there! Long story short, these types of post collegiate programs should not hurt your chances of getting a corporate job. However, I would be very mindful of how you speak about these opportunities. You always want to have a story behind your decision making process as this helps the recruiter understand how you ended up where you are now. For example, instead of saying, " I joined the Peace Corps because I wanted to travel and see the world," you could say, "I was draw to the Peace Corps because of its many leadership opportunities. I now feel much more comfortable taking on projects where I may not have all the answers or where we may have to pivot quickly." The goal is to help the recruiter see how traveling the world benefited your career goals.

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