I was doing this corporate training gig last month and here’s something that came from the crowd. ‘How do we explain a gap year (taken to travel) in our professional careers?’. More recently I was addressing a group of some 200 students at IIT Bhubaneswar and someone asked something similar once again, ‘How do we put our travel experiences on our CV?’.
It is no mystery that people today are traveling far more than they used to back in the days. So it is only expected that more and more people are braving up to take a gap year (or even a few months) to get out there and discover the world around. Now, the corporate scene doesn’t always follow suit with the rapid changes. As such it is not always easy to explain it to your recruiter about the gap in your career. How to make travel seem like a win & set yourself apart from the rest?
When it comes to fruitful travel we learn a lot while on the road. And it is essential that we share the same on our resume/profile once we start looking for our next opportunity. Whether the time off was a career break between jobs or year off after college, recruiters look for a reasoning.
Disconnect with your work self on a sabbatical, and you’ll reconnect with who you really are
— Corbett Barr
Where to put it on your resume?
Your travels take you places and brings you face to face with a variety of experiences. Do you think these experiences are related to your line of work?
If yes, make sure to highlight them along with your rest of work experience.
If not, you can push them towards additional information section on your CV.
What all should I include from my travel?
It is important to understand that your travel details will be the story behind why you took the break. It’s is very possible that maybe you were a beach bum for majority of the last six months or maybe you hopped across every party on the face of the earth, but putting that on your CV is not the brightest idea. Instead we can think of experiences which can help us in our professional lines.
When it comes to long-term travel most people tend to take up remote jobs or jobs along the way. Sometimes to help them offset the cost of travel or to keep oneself engaged while on the road.
Now work relevant to your professional background is indeed something you should mention (for instance if you into consulting and have been picking up gigs along the way, it’s worth it). On the other hand if you take up full-time positions like ad-hoc teaching or AuPair it can be included together under international work experiences.
Blogging (digital entrepreneurs)
Photography & blogging come in handy to illustrate your travel experiences. Working on your digital footprint showcases one’s commitment and passion towards travel. Besides this, it also helps you develop some finer skills which are pretty sought after in the industry, like SEO, marketing, partnerships, etc.
Some of the ways in which I illustrate travel blogging include the following.
- Increased readership from 200 unique visitors per month to 8K per month
- Worked with tourism boards in 8 countries
- Created marketing campaigns on Facebook & Instagram which had a reach of over 1.2M users
- Contributed articles to leading travel magazines & portals like…
Volunteering is always good to represent on your resume. And travel gives you ample opportunities to volunteer with some of the biggest organisation working towards pressing global issues. It showcases our commitment towards the bigger picture to help fix problems with healthcare, education, etc.
When we do work as volunteers, the finer details showcase a much better picture. Consider including where you volunteered, for how long and if there was any end result. If one could manage references or recommendations from the organisation, its just the cherry on the icing.
What else do I consider?
One thing is given about travel, i.e. you will learn more life skills than in most other situations. Travel presents us with opportunities which constantly need hustle. Especially if we are on the road for a long time, we are bound to pick up some pretty neat lessons on trip planning, accounting & finance, negotiating, language skills, etc.; all of which are valued quite a bit by big corporations. Businesses today want does over the ‘run-of-the-mill’ graduates who go by the book.
Our communication, negotiation as well as marketing skills come in quite handy when we are at our work places as well. Recruiters are aware of the same and value such on your CV. Better yet, it is easy for you to stand out of the lot during interviews because you have stories attached to all of these values; stories from your travels where you needed to use any of these skills.
Besides justifying why we went on the break, travel on your CV does something truly important. It sets you apart, truly apart. When you embrace travel and showcase it as a part of your complete package you give the interviewer/recruiter a story that they want to know more about. More about your experiences & adventures. Played well, your travel card can open doors in the most unexpected ways. So go out there and discover a bit more of this world. Go out & TRAVEL!
Feeling Inspired? Let me help you figure out the perfect itinerary. From RTW trips to the shortest break, just drop us a word here.