How you choose to represent your travels on your resume is akin to a work of art. After all, you want to sound professional and showcase the skills you’ve learned while living a transient, out-of-the-box kind of lifestyle.
You want your travels to give you an edge over other job candidates, and most of all, you want your travels and exciting experiences to mean something. Not everyone is able to swing the full-time nomadic lifestyle as some people need a 9-5 work structure, or don’t feel being transient will benefit their long-term goals.
Thinking about what you’ll use your travels for before you leave can only help you in your future job hunts.
Explaining a resume gap
Despite the fact that every travel experience will shape you in some way, you can’t put a 2 week all-inclusive beach-bum vacation on a resume. Long-term travel and a vacation are completely two, separate entities when it comes to resume curation.
However, you will want to include your travels on your resume when they create a noticeable gap between employers. For example, your potential bosses will want to understand why you didn’t work during any of 2016, so don’t leave them guessing.
When you have something tangible to show for it
Did you work or volunteer abroad? Did you start a travel blog and write down, take photos, and publish your experiences? Did you create works of art after every city you visited?
Put these kinds of things on your resume. Not only will they show that you’re capable of, and interested in, personal development, they’ll also show that you’re able to work in a variety of settings.
Put it in your cover letter
Where is a safe place to explain your extended time off work? In your cover letter.
Opposed to the limitations of your resume, putting this information in your cover letter will allow you to explain your life decisions in a more effective manner. Explain why you took the time off, a brief description of what you learned from the experience, and how you plan to use that experience to benefit your future work.
As mentioned above, if you’ve decided to volunteer while abroad, absolutely put that in your resume.
By doing so, you’ll show an ability to think outside of yourself, and learn more deeply about other cultures; absolutely an asset to any company.
Volunteering abroad is usually an easier application to obtain than if you plan to work for pay. Plus, if it is short-term, you won’t need to obtain a VISA for your chosen country.
Like with volunteering, working abroad will show a future employer that, even though you are not in the country, you are still interested in professional development. Every country has different prerequisites and VISA’s for obtaining short-term work, a quick google search will sort this out for you.
Even though it is hard to break into the freelancing business, it will be worth it if you want to independently continue your professional development abroad. A few months before you leave on your trip assess your strengths, and choose a field to focus on in your freelance career.
For starters in your brainstorming, consider freelance writing, graphic design, or selling your professional photography shots.
Be sure to link potential employers to an online portfolio of your work so they can see firsthand what you’ve so thoughtfully created.
Don’t underestimate the skills you have obtained by traveling the world. Guaranteed you will be a changed, more experienced person at the end of your adventure. However, you don’t want to add generic skills to your resume that could be misconstrued.
Consider adding skills such as the following to your resume:
- Negotiation – based on your new found ability to haggle for goods
- Budgeting – based on the strict budget you lived on across the planet
- Planning – you planned your trip didn’t you?