How ‘travel’ can benefit your CV
“All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.”
I thought it would be nice to start this blog with a travel related quote from the literary leg-end, Samuel Johnson. I chose this quote in particular as it contains a sentence that will set the tone for the remainder of the blog – “All travel has its advantages”. In this blog, we are thinking about the advantages gained in terms of your ‘employability’.
Travel – some people HATE it, other people can’t seem to get enough. I am one of many recent graduates that have made it a personal mission to experience the best sights and sounds that the world has to offer, and I know that ALOT of effort goes into organising individual/group trips. However – it is totally worth it.
Are you currently planning on going on a trip abroad, or do you not know where to start? Well there are lots of options available to you. As a Coventry University student, which I hope many of you reading this are – I would recommend that your first point of contact is the IEMS department (International Experience & Mobility Service), further information can be found here: https://students.coventry.ac.uk/IEMS/Pages/Home.aspx.
It is also worth keeping an eye open for the presentations that the Central Careers Service runs throughout the year. Every year, organisations promoting international opportunities such as CCUSA and BUNAC come in to the university to present on the opportunities they have available. You will find out about these presentations by following us on Twitter or FB. Or you could just check the events calendars on www.coventry.prospects.ac.uk. Another tip – you may also find opportunities to work abroad listed on the Coventry Prospects website, in areas such as volunteering, TEFL and teaching.
Travel can broaden the mind – but can it also improve your CV?
Anyway – I digress. The main focus of this post is to make sure that you make the most of the experiences gained when you get back! And by that I don’t mean boring people with countless travel stories and seemingly never-ending holiday slideshows with ‘Good riddance (Time of your life) by Greenday playing in the background. We have all been in that dark place.
I hope that this post will get you thinking about the ways that you can possibly utilise the skills and experiences gained from your travels, as you pass through the different stages of the recruitment process.
Think about how you can highlight the skills and experiences gained on your travels. It is highly likely you have used/developed some of the following:
• Planning – Think about the effort/research that you have put into arranging a trip: such as booking transport, accommodation etc
• Communication – Have you travelled to countries with different languages/customs that you have had to use?
• Adaptability – While travelling you may find that things may not always go to plan. This may be in the form of delays or overbooked accommodation. How did you cope / react?
• Initiative – Ever find yourself in a sticky situation where you had to make an on the spot decision?
• Independence – Are you travelling solo? Did the trip make you more confident in your own ability to be independent?
• Interpersonal Skills – You will have met a wide variety of people on your travels, often from different countries – has this made you more comfortable in dealing with people of different cultures?
• Etc etc
Now, you may be in the position where you already have lots of really good and relevant, examples of employability skills, perhaps through: work experience, volunteering, university etc. In such an instance, it is important to choose your examples carefully and always ensure that the chosen employer can easily relate it to the skills that they require, and that it is appropriate.
Remember that you can highlight your skills gained through travel in the following:
• If you use a ‘Skills Based’ CV, you have the opportunity to include relevant examples under the relevant skills heading. For communication you may decide to talk about…
“While on my gap year I travelled across South America, this required me to communicate in many different languages, including Spanish and Portuguese. While this was often challenging, the experience greatly improved my language skills and ultimately made me a more confident individual when communicating to people from different cultures.”
• You could also mention your travels in the ‘Interest’ section of your CV – e.g. “I enjoy travelling as I have a keen interest in other cultures and ways of life. I thoroughly enjoyed travelling across Asia in my gap year and intend to return. I feel I learnt the importance of independence and understanding the ways of others.”
A key point to reiterate, make sure your examples are appropriate. Employers don’t want to know how you have great interpersonal skills developed through meeting people in bars while on holiday in Zante!
Posted on March 19, 2013, in CV tips, Gap year/travel, International zone, Professional development, Volunteering and Employability and tagged Careers, Careers advice, Coventry University, CovUniCareers, CV, Resume, travel. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.