I have to admit, I worried about the effect long-term travel would have on my CV.
I’ve have quite a few ‘gap years’, and in the past I’ve been creative with displaying and ‘hiding’ my travels. (In fact, I’ve had that many ‘gap years’ I don’t think I can keep calling them gap years anymore!). I worried that I hadn’t worked in the UK for a while . I worried that it would look like I had moved around too much. I worried I wouldn’t look committed. I worried I wouldn’t get a job!
Yet getting my most recent job, I spoke about my travels so much in the interview and used examples to back it up. They were definitely impressed by these situational examples and really valued the experiences I had gained through travel.
- Travel teaches you how to problem solve. Problem solving is a great skill to have and something employers look for. You know when something unexpected happens on your trip, or when you’re caught off guard? When your plans suddenly change or there is an emergency – that’s when you problem solve! Figuring out how to get from one place to another and by the cheapest means – that’s problems solving too! Problem solving also leads to creativity – another great skill to add to the list.
- Travel teaches you how to get on with people. And I mean ALL people. From other cultures, traditions and beliefs. Funny people, smart people and down right annoying people! Getting along with people; small talk, openness, communication – these skills are invaluable. You know what it’s like, you rock up to a new hostel sweaty hot and tired, all you want to do is eat and go to bed, but travel forces you to be social to talk to people, to ask about them and to be interested in them. If you can do this after a 12 hour bus ride, you can do it with a horrible customer on a Monday morning.
- Travel teaches you to be assertive. I think the word I used the most on my first trip to Asia was “NO“. Employers want team players, but they also need you to be assertive. To be confident, bold and make decisions. Travel teaches you to become assertive, especially in situations where you may feel uncomfortable or pressured. If you can hold your own at Anjuna market in India, you can do it during a stressful meeting at work.
- Travel teaches you about time keeping. Yeah, Island ‘time’ is great. South African ‘time’ is even better, but when you miss a bus because you’ve become so laid back about timings – you realise time is important. And, you won’t make that mistake again. Travel teaches you about time. Time is all we’ve got, how you spend you days, that determines how you spend your life. Travel teaches you that time won’t wait. Just like that bus won’t wait for you. This works the same in a work environment. Travel teaches you not to waste peoples time. It’s precious.
- Travels teach you to work hard! You will never meet a traveller that isn’t a grafter. Yes, we like to spend weeks on the beach but we worked bloody hard to get there! Employers want to see examples of dedication and commitment. There couldn’t be a better example than travel.
Travel helps you have a better grasp of the world we live in. It puts things into perspective. It teaches you gratitude. Never be afraid of talking about travel in a job interview, ‘to travel is to live’.
So, the next time you’re in a job interview, speak up about your travel! Be brave, use it as situational examples. It will make you stand out from all the other candidates. Travel is such a privilege, use it the best you can!
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us” – J.R.R. Tolkien
I’d love to hear if you’ve mentioned travels in an interview, get in touch and let me know how you got on!