So, you’ve just returned from the trip of a lifetime during which time you were able to grow and challenge yourself. But how do you get your new life skills to work to your advantage in your job search?
I often talk to candidates who have taken extended leave to travel the world. Then they worry about how to cover it up, often relegating their travel experiences to the end of their resume under “Hobbies” or “Other interests”. They fear that a prospective employer will look upon them unfavourably if they have taken time out to travel. There are, however, some very good reasons to share your adventures in the professional part of your resume and indeed many of these experiences, if explained well, will set you apart from the competition.
Six reasons why to include travel on your resume
1. You gained soft skills that are relevant to the job you’re applying for
There are a number of key transferable “soft” skills that can be gained during a travel break such as resilience, problem-solving skills, the ability to think on your feet, and the confidence to build rapport with people from different cultures.
The good news is that many employers are very interested to know more about your soft skills and will often include desired soft skills in the job criteria. Once you have discovered what skills your prospective employer is looking for, you can use your travel experiences to illustrate how you possess those skills, such as how you planned and budgeted for your trip to demonstrate your organisational skills, or how you handled language barriers to illustrate your communication skills.
2. You worked while you travelled
You should always include any work that you did while travelling. Popular travel jobs such as teaching English as a foreign language and working as an au pair, even if not directly relevant to the role you’re applying for, are another great opportunity to demonstrate important soft skills such as mentoring and cross-cultural understanding.
3. You volunteered while you travelled
Volunteer work that you did while abroad should definitely be included in the main part of your CV. Volunteering is often viewed favourably by employers because it demonstrates a passion and drive for the particular cause you have supported and a willingness to contribute your time and talents without pay – key attributes that will make you an attractive and interesting candidate.
4. You wrote a blog while you travelled
Many travellers write a blog about their travels. If this is you and the content you have produced is appropriate, you should include this in the professional section of your CV. Blog writing demonstrates a variety of skills that are highly sought after in the workplace such as writing ability, photography and web design skills and knowledge about social media, for example.
5. Travel is an opportunity to build rapport
Employers often appreciate seeing travel on a candidate’s CV, not only because it is an indication of a worldly and cultured mindset, but also because it offers an interesting talking point at the interview. Being able to talk about your adventures in an interview is a great icebreaker and will make it easy to build rapport with your interviewer. Once again, you can keep the discussion professional by using your travel experiences in the interview to illustrate the soft skills that you possess that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
6. Returning from travel demonstrates you’re ready for action
One other great benefit of starting your job search as soon as you return from a travel break is that you can assure your prospective employer that you’re recharged and ready to tackle your next challenge. Plus, if you’ve just returned from your latest travel adventure it means you’re immediately available to start, so it’s a win-win for both you and your prospective employer!