As the world becomes more and more interconnected and companies begin to branch out to various markets and cultures, the demand for certain soft skills only someone who has traveled possesses, increases in the job market. If you’ve recently taken a gap year to study, volunteer or simply explore the world, you may have valuable skills some employers are looking for.
To make you stand out from the rest of the applicant pool and show your future employer how your experiences make you the ideal candidate for the position, we put together a few tips on how to best highlights your travels on your résumé.
1. Know When to Add Travel
If you took a short break to vacation on the beach or spent the summer wine tasting in Italy, your experiences will simply turn into fluff on your résumé or even become a red flag. Be selective about the experiences you choose to share and make sure they can speak to the skills needed for the job you’re applying to.
2. Speak About Your Achievements
Did you volunteer and helped the organization reach a goal? Did you improve English proficiency for a group of students? Did you run a small business or became proficient in another language during your travels? Speak on any accomplishments you’re proud of that show your potential employer independence, drive or any other relevant soft skills.
3. Label Your Travels Accordingly
If your travels can’t be considered work, don’t lump them in with your work experience. Instead, create a separate section where you clearly label each experience under volunteer work, study abroad, general travel, etc.
4. Don’t Go Overboard on the Details
You may be tempted to elaborate or overshare on your travels. On your résumé, however, it’s always best to keep it concise and only list the experiences/skills that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
5. Do Your Research on The Employer
If the position requires occasional or extended travel, by all means, include your experiences. Also include them if they help you explain a long career gap or again if the skills you acquired make you a good candidate. Otherwise, it’s better to leave them off your résumé or on your cover letter.
6. Leave the Rest for the Cover Letter
Speaking of cover letters, this is a great opportunity to speak a little about your travel experiences if they don’t fit naturally in your résumé. Speak a little about how you managed to finance your trip, especially if you had to work hard to get to your destination or any relevant skill or perspective you’ve gained from your experiences.
How to Get the Most From Your Travels
If you’re considering taking a gap year or about to head out on your adventure, below are some quick tips you can follow to make sure your experiences make a positive contribution to your résumé.
1. Make it Meaningful
Plan to make your trip as meaningful as possible. For long-term travel, volunteering or simply getting outside of your comfort zone may not only help you find purpose but might give you a skill that helps you stand out when applying to jobs upon your return.
2. Have at Least One Goal in Mind
Plan to accomplish at least one goal relevant to your industry or field. Whether it’s doing some freelance accounting for a non-profit, building a social media following for yourself or a small brand or perfecting your photography skills, having a goal in mind will give you something to add to your résumé.
3. Work or Study
Whether you teach yourself a new skill, sign up for a course or find temporary or freelance work, any relevant experiences to your field will give you plenty of material to help you explain your gap to your future employer.
By following these tips and perhaps even elaborating on your experiences in your interview, you’ll be prepared to make your travels or gap year an asset to potential employers.
About the author: Janey is a Content Marketing Specialist at Siege Media. She enjoys writing on a variety of topics including career, travel, and lifestyle. In her free time, you can find her trying out a new coffee shop or planning her next trip.