While many people view travel as a fun hobby or interest, it can actually help gain experience and improve skills that are of interest to employers. While you shouldn’t put travel under work experience unless you had an internship or job abroad, you can create a separate section to discuss your international skills, include anecdotes in your cover letter, or give examples during the interview to give yourself a boost over the competition.
Traveling to foreign countries shows you have excellent communication skills, especially if you were able to pick up a new language. Many companies do business with foreign organizations or clients who may not speak English as a first language, and being able to communicate with a diverse population makes you an attractive candidate. Moreover, even if you don’t speak a foreign language fluently, it shows you have the ability to get by using unique communication methods.
Being able to adapt to unique situations is a skill that is useful in the business world. First of all, as a new employee your boss will want to know that you can adapt to the company culture as well as new policies, procedures, and technologies. Moreover, it shows you are creative and forward thinking enough to take a situation or project you are given and make it work for the benefit of the company.
Many travelers often find themselves frequenting markets and open-air shops where haggling is condoned. Moreover, bartering over taxi fare is also a common occurrence. Being able to negotiate is important when traveling, but even more important in the workplace, when business deals take place on a daily basis. Proving that you have the skills necessary to negotiate in favor the company can make you a more appealing candidate.
When you travel, there is a usually an extensive amount of planning that goes into the trip, from what to pack to what cities and sites to visit to what modes of transportation are best utilized. You’re future-boss will appreciate the fact that you have the ability to strategize, which can be helpful for basically any task you are given, like managing new campaigns, product development, events, and effectively managing your time each time.
Being a traveler is usually synonymous with being a great problem solver, especially since the inevitable kinks in your plan are also happening to you in unfamiliar territory. Don’t think that just because you didn’t solve a country’s economic crisis doesn’t mean you can’t problem solve. Think of issues that arose on the trip, from missing a train connection to lost baggage to trying to get cough drops and not being able to speak the language. How did you effectively deal with these problems? Make a list and think of how these methods can be transferred to the workplace.
Most travelers are confident individuals who are not afraid to take risks, especially when the possible benefits are worthwhile. Because employers often have a lot to gain when employees aren’t afraid to take a chance, this can help give you an edge over the competition. Being assertive in your decisions is also a highly valuable leadership skill.
Going on a trip means being in a charge of a budget, a skill that can easily transfer over into the workplace. If you can successfully map out and stick to a budget, it shows you have self control, a logical way of thinking, and the ability to make the most out of your resources. It also shows great leadership skills and the probability of successful campaign and project management.
Broader Point of View
The fact that you’ve traveled shows you have experiencing interacting with different cultures and have had unique experiences that many others have not. It gives you a bank of knowledge to pull from, and can help during times when a unique idea or perspective is needed at work.
Travel often shows a desire to learn, and you can bring up the fact that you are passionate about broadening your knowledge base. Maybe you visited art museums in Paris because you wanted to know more about the art culture, or participated in cultural ceremonies in China in order to gain some perspective on the traditions of the locals. Employers want to hire people who want to improve themselves and be proactive learners, not individuals who are okay being stagnant.
Interesting Conversation Starter
While this isn’t exactly something you put on your resume, having traveled can be very helpful when meeting a prospective employer. In every interview I’ve been on, employers have always been very enthusiastic about the fact that I’ve traveled, some even outwardly telling me that was the main reason they called me in to meet. What’s really great, too, is if you can relate to them in some way, such as when you’ve both had a great experience in the same city or if their son or daughter has done a similar project abroad. It will help make you more memorable when it comes time for them to make the decision on who to hire.