When it comes to applying for jobs after a stint of backpacking, some students worry that employers will view their time away negatively. However the reality is- experience of travelling can provide you with a host of skills and knowledge which can actually help you to stand out on job applications. Read on to find out how you can recognise these skills so that you can market your gap year effectively to employers.
Travelling teaches you important skills
There are a number of core skills that all companies appreciate in their staff, and the good news is you can develop several of these by travelling. Examples include communication, organisation, adaptability, self-reliance and responsibility.
Think about times when you had to ask for directions to the nearest train station from locals who only spoke limited English. Overcoming language barriers such as this would have strengthened your communication ability. In addition, taking time to map out your journey, plan routes and coordinate transport with available hostel rooms takes a great deal of organisation. In fact, simply showing that you were brave enough to leave the comfort of your home soil will show that you are a responsible person who is adaptable to change.
If you took part in any voluntary work while you were away, you may have also gained invaluable experience which you can sell to future employers. For example if you worked with a group of people to construct a well, you will be able to showcase your experience of working as a team.
Employers value cultural awareness
In the era of globalisation where international links between companies are increasing, your awareness of different cultures could help you stand out further. Through your travels you may have picked up cultural sensitivities and the ability to relate to lots of different people which could come in handy in the position you’re applying for. Furthermore, you will be able to prove to employers that you are comfortable with travelling, which may be necessary if you want to work for a multinational company.
• Be positive: Even if you struggled with the challenges of being away from home, these challenges would have taught you a lot.
• Organisations want to hire interesting people: Graduate recruiters receive numerous applications. Evidence of travelling on your CV or in a cover letter could help you stand out from a big crowd.
• Keep a record: If you are about to set off on your travels, consider taking a journal with you so you can jot down specific things that you did and what these experiences taught you. That way if you struggle to remember examples to write on your CV or speak about at an interview, you can refer back to this.
• Consider writing a blog: Similarly, if you’re interested in a career where writing skills are important, writing an online blog while you’re abroad could help you showcase your talents later down the line.