Recently, I’ve heard a lot of people talking about their fear of long term travel, worried that might jeopardise their chances of being hired later down the line. What a lot of them don’t realise is that a lot of the skills you build ‘on the road’ can be highlighted as transferable skills when applying for your dream job.
In this post, I’ve pulled together some key skills that most businesses will be listing as general requirements on a job listing.
Airport schedules, buses, visa periods, transfers, personal blog post drops. It sounds obvious, but doing this day in and day out for months on end takes a good bit of commitment. Those travelling to multiple locations on really short time scales will find themselves running to tight (self-inflicted) deadlines.
Forward planning and organisation skills
Executing a long trip can take a lot of pre-planning. You research itineraries, budgets, accommodation, packing limitations and medical care (to name a few). You create schedules and possibly spend some time learning key phrases of new languages. You follow a calendar and prioritise things that are important. You are an admin machine.
Confident taking on new challenges/risks
If you’re applying for any job worth its salt, the company should be interested in candidates who are keen to develop, try new things, and push their own boundaries. You booked a solo ticket and got on a plane to a continent you’ve never been to, where nobody speaks your language. You left all your home comforts and took a gamble leaving the security of a safe bubble. It doesn’t get much more ballsy for some. It shows guts.
Knowledge of different cultures
Travelling gives you an experience no book or TV documentary can give you. You are fully immersed in the culture. You become more aware of the politics of the country, the habits and etiquette of the locals. The ongoing growth of technology has meant that (more than ever) businesses are trading and interacting with international markets. What better person to hire than someone who is already familiar with that country and its practices?
Can work to tight budgets
30 days on £15 a day; including meals, travel, accommodation and entertainment. You are the person to make this business’ money stretch! You saved your earnings for months to afford your flights/travels, and you made sacrifices to ensure you got there.
Team player with great interpersonal skills
You’re in a dorm room with 12 other people and you are desperate to make friends so that you don’t need to do another city alone. Everyday, you market yourself in a way that means people are sold on you, they want to spend time with you, they want to share their experience with you. You work as a team to develop daily and weekly itineraries, and you come to decisions that suit everyone’s needs, not just your own.
You can adapt quickly
You alternate the currencies in which you’re dealing with every week, and have learned to quickly convert these back to your own. You arrive in unknown cities at 11pm and navigate yourself to hostels in the dark and the rain. You react quickly to unexpected interference in your schedules and quickly implement a new plan of action. You could rule the world!
These are only a number of points to highlight to employers questioning your time overseas. I have regularly had employers address my time away, a two-year period living in Thailand in particular. After responding with the above, my travels have never got in the way of a new job opportunity. I hope they help you too.
Have any of you found it difficult applying for jobs on returning from travel? Do you have any other points to add to this list? I’d love to hear your ideas.
Good points – all of them! I used to travel a lot before I had kids – living in Asia and Europe and I have found that when employers see this noted on my resume, they’re more interested in me. People who have had to adapt to a different culture have a new perspective and are able to think on their feet!
Definitely! When I first started travelling, it was really frowned upon by employers. However, I think the internet and international relations within business are really changing that.