With the rise of digital nomads and an increasing number of companies venturing out to reach foreign markets, some employers have been demanding certain unique skills. Some of these new skills include cross-cultural communication, effective leadership with colleagues and teams abroad, and being able to adapt to different work situations and environments.
If you've recently taken a gap year, have had meaningful travel experiences, or are a digital nomad yourself, you might want to add the knowledge and skills these experiences taught you to your resume.
These experiences will not only help you stand out from the applicant pool, but they can also allow you to explain any gaps in your career, if necessary. Follow the tips below to learn how to categorize your travels, make them relevant to your desired career path, and highlight the skills your potential employer might be interested in.
Resume Tips For Travel Experiences
1. When You Should Include Your Travels
If you took a brief vacation to your favorite beach town or spent the summer wine tasting in France, your travels will translate as no more than fluff on your resume. Make sure the travel experiences you include speak to the skills necessary for the job you're applying for. If your travels can't sensibly be related to your professional life, it's best to leave them off your resume.
2. Highlight Your Accomplishments
If part of your travel experience included something like helping an organization reach its fundraising goals, doing some freelance accounting for an agency, or sharpening your writing skills by documenting your travels on a blog, make sure to add those to your resume. If possible, add quantifiable details such as, "wrote and published five posts a week for X site" to further boost your credibility.
3. Keep Things Concise
Recruiters usually spend only a few seconds scanning a resume, so be sure to get your point across quickly. Avoid fluff words and phrases like "gained confidence and independence after two months of solo travel" and instead say, "learned about Chinese customs and culture through experience."
4. Tailor Your Skills to the specific employer
If the position requires occasional business travel, having extensive traveling experience will look great on your resume. Do your research on what the position entails and the kind of employee they're looking for to better word your travel experiences. If the skills you acquired during your travels don't fit naturally in your resume or aren't a good match for the position, you shouldn't include them.
5. Leave the Rest for the Cover Letter
Speaking of skills that don't fit naturally in your resume, consider adding them to your cover letter instead. Cover letters are an opportunity to provide deeper personal information for employers to really understand who you are. Include a sentence or two that relates your travel experiences to your independence, people skills, self-sufficiency or any other relevant soft skills.
6. Label Your Travels Correctly
If your travels can't be considered work, don't lump them in with your work experience. Without overloading your resume, consider adding a separate section where you clearly label each experience under its appropriate category.
Below are the most common types of travel you can include under "Other Experience" on your resume.
- General Travel: List your experiences as general travel if you only traveled for leisure.
- Volunteer Work: If you traveled solely to volunteer or volunteered at any point during your travels, be sure to make that clear.
- Teaching: If you spent time teaching any subject or even giving tours, this experience could provide you with leverage over other candidates.
- Study Abroad: A desire to learn and expand your knowledge will always be seen as an asset to a future employer, especially if it relates to your career.
By following these simple tips, labeling your experiences appropriately, and speaking on any relevant skills you've gained, you'll be fully prepared to turn your travels into an appealing asset for your future employer.
About the Author: Janey Velasco 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.