Life after Peace Corps, Month 2

The month of January was focused on applying to more jobs. I started numerous lists to keep track of everything (jobs I am interested in, applications and interview requests, companies I am interested in, and Ohio health departments).

All of these lists have not only kept me more organized but also more intentional in my job search. Rather than searching aimlessly online, I am more focused on what organizations are on my lists, and I check them directly. I have such a varied work history that searching for only one or two position titles or keywords isn’t very productive for me. What has complicated these lists are jobs that don’t have due dates because they don’t sort well. I am going to have to start making due dates because I have not been able to keep up with these as well. If I want to search a job platform, I have found Glassdoor to work the best for me, and I have also searched Devex, Reliefweb, and Indeed.

I decided I would try to apply to more federal jobs this month, to see if that made any difference to my referral and interview requests. I also feel like the applications are less stressful, the online platform for applying is easy to use, it keeps track of my submitted and upcoming applications, I don’t have to re-enter my work history every time I apply, and there are always new jobs available (I even expanded my search terms to be notified of more jobs I may be interested in).

Compared to all other companies, some have really horrible job/career webpages and I hate how much time it takes to enter all of my work history information, even when copying and pasting. Some websites have you upload your resume, and then the system pulls the information from your resume into work history segments. I have not once had this work correctly, which wastes even more time. Fortunately I have kept a running document of all the questions asked in these forms and I can copy and paste most of the information needed now, and then I tweak parts as necessary rather than rewriting each time. I have also appreciated when only one cover letter is submitted regardless of the number of jobs you are applying for (CHAI, PSI, and Emory University have been like this). And I have also encountered that some local and state health departments use the same system, which means the standard categories of information are shared within the system, and for each position I only have to attach the requested documents and answer the questions related to the position.

Comparing the data of applications and requests for interviews from these two categories, makes me think that I am wasting my time on federal jobs, especially the expanded search terms I added in January. Looking at my above review of the two options, this isn’t the outcome I was hoping for. The turn-around time is much slower, sometimes taking more than a month to find out if I have been referred or not, and out of 58 federal applications I have received only one interview through the traditional system, while Peace Corps has interviewed me for two positions that came up through their RPCV roster.

I had not expected applying to jobs to be so varied or time consuming. I wonder how I could be so thorough in my search if I was going to work every week day–I probably couldn’t be. This has been an interesting process to learn, coming from print journalism, where I looked for jobs on one website dedicated to journalism jobs (, there were no online forms to fill out, and I submitted the same package of clips to nearly every application. The only difference would be whether or not you would submit a paper application or send your clips electronically. This process has been the first of a few that have been drastically different in this current job search.

Stats for the month

Number of applications: 33 federal jobs and 12 other jobs
Number of cover letters: 5
Number of interviews: 2
Number of rejections: 1

What else happened in January?

IMG_9530.jpg copy

My first winning mahjong hand!

Aside from the regular goings-on with my family, I had a visitor (who graciously went with me to an Indian restaurant!), learned to play mahjong at the community center across the street, started beading more frequently, caught up on more TV, and went to the local library for the first time. I also signed up for car insurance and practiced driving.

Evening Primrose by Kopano Matlwa
Gods and Soldiers [a collection of short stories written by Africans] edited by Rob Spillman
Rachel’s Blue by Zakes Mda

This entry was posted in Africa, eSwatini, Life, Peace Corps. Bookmark the permalink.

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