So, you recently took some time off from school or work. Or maybe you’re thinking about a gap year or personal sabbatical to embark on a worldwide adventure. Or maybe the way you travel has taught you a lot of skills that you take with you into your everyday life.
If any of these sound like you, you’re in the right place! You might want to include travel on your resume, which can be a valuable addition to round out your professional experience.
Some people may think that taking a little break to travel the world could be damaging to your career, but in an increasingly globalized world, taking a travel gap is becoming quite the opposite, and accepted by many employers today.
Being a well-traveled professional has its merits. Employers nowadays value worldly and diverse experiences that have helped in personal development and gaining unique perspectives.
Adding travel to your resume doesn’t have to be a scary or complicated thing. In fact, you might be surprised that it can be a valuable way to demonstrate your adaptability, cultural awareness, and personal growth.
Whether you’ve embarked on an international work assignment, taken a gap year to explore the world, volunteered abroad, or simply nurtured a deep passion for traveling to new cities, these experiences can enhance your resume and make you stand out as a well-rounded candidate.
Read on to learn why it’s so valuable to include travel on your resume, and how you can incorporate your own experiences into your professional brand and/or job search!
How and Where Do I Include Travel on My Resume?
Well, that depends. Is your travel experience relevant to the job you’re applying for? How long is the gap in your resume–a few months or over a year?
If it’s a short amount of time and not very relevant to the jobs you’re applying to, you can list travel in a section like “Additional Information” or write about it in your cover letter, explaining how enriching the experience was and what you gained from exploring a new place and culture.
Remember, relevancy is key – you want to make your travel experience as relevant to the role or company you are applying for as you can.
Now, if your travel was over several months to a year-long, you can include it in the main “Work Experience” section, which is typically in chronological order. Add it in as if it’s another entry in your work history, with dates and detailed notes on what you did and what you learned or accomplished.
Pro tip: Remember to focus only on the skill-building and perspective-broadening experiences that pertain to your job or career.
Employers don’t need to know about all the fun parties and bars you went to. Make sure to highlight and present your travel story in a professional manner.
Even if you didn’t do anything professional or any sort of work experience or volunteering, it’s almost impossible to travel and not learn something new and valuable. Highlight what you learned or personally accomplished, and frame it in a way that’s applicable to whatever role you’re applying to.
Different Types of Travel You Can Add to Your Resume
There are different types of travel that each deserve their own, unique approach when adding them to your resume. Here are some important ones to note.
International Work Experience
Working abroad can be a transformative way to include travel on your resume. Doing so exposes you to new cultures, work environments, and challenges, and shows that you’re willing to take risks in the pursuit of new experiences.
Employers often appreciate candidates with international work experience, as it demonstrates adaptability, cross-cultural communication skills, and a willingness to step outside one’s comfort zone.
Adding work experience to your resume is a little more straightforward than some of the other travel examples below, as it’s just like any other work experience on your list. You can add it to your resume the same way you would add work experience gained from jobs and internships in your home country.
Highlight your responsibilities, achievements, and projects you worked on. You can also emphasize working with people who are from a different culture or speak a different language, learning new communication styles, and personal lessons that can be applied to another role.
Maybe you had to do something differently than how you normally would in the U.S. because of cultural differences.
Talk about how that helped you learn to adapt to different cultures and improved your communication skills overall. Play up all the valuable skills that you gained specifically from working abroad that you may not have had to learn from working in your home country.
Pro tip: If you have a good working relationship with a supervisor, they can be a great reference to put on your resume as well.
Example: Adding International Work Experience To Your Resume
Marketing Internship – [Company] – Tokyo, Japan – [Dates]
Spent 6 months in Tokyo working for a national social media marketing firm, where I was responsible for overseeing cross-channel syndication scheduling and ideating to accompany different client campaigns and product launches. During this experience, I gained:
- Valuable exposure to cross-cultural marketing strategies and sensitivity
- Proficiency in multicultural and multilingual marketing, effectively tailoring campaigns to resonate with diverse audiences from various background
- Advanced skills in Japanese business communication
- Strong project management capabilities by leading and coordinating multiple multi-departmental social media projects from concept to execution
- Contributed creative ideas during brainstorming sessions and actively participated in marketing strategy discussions, making valuable contributions to campaign ideation and execution.
- English (Native)
- Japanese (Professional Proficiency)
Gap Years / Travel Sabbaticals
Gap years and travel sabbaticals have traditionally been seen as a break from working. However, you can experience, learn and gain many new perspectives that will increase your value as a future employee.
During your time off, you might have honed problem-solving skills, self-reliance, and the ability to navigate unfamiliar situations. These are skills that any and every company could use in their employees, no matter the industry.
You can list on your resume “Gap Year” or the name of the program you traveled with if you went through an organization. If you went on a gap year on your own, that also takes an immense level of courage and demonstrates that you’re a go-getter.
Either way, you can list the experiences and skills you gained along the way.
Ensure you mention any relevant learning experiences, such as language courses, workshops, or volunteering opportunities during your gap year. You never know when basic knowledge of a different language or other soft skills you may have picked up can help you out.
Example: Adding Gap Years or Travel Sabbaticals To Your Resume
Travel and Personal Development – January 2022 – January 2023
Took a 12-month gap year (aka personal sabbatical) after my first tenure working as an associate following law school. During this gap, I engaged in personal growth, self-discovery, and volunteering while basing myself in Ecuador. This experience armed me with:
- Language Acquisition: Committed significant time and effort to learn Spanish, achieving [mention your proficiency level].
- Volunteer Service: Volunteered in Ecuador, collaborating with local communities on [brief description of your volunteer activities].
- Adventure and Skill Acquisition: Pursued a passion for scuba diving, completing [number] certifications and refining my ability to trust my problem-solving and decision-making intuition.
- Developed Essential Soft Skills: Including self-reliance, adaptability, problem-solving, and increased empathy toward diverse perspectives through cultural immersion.
- Conversational fluency in Spanish, enhancing my ability to serve both English- and Spanish-speaking clients.
Volunteering is technically gaining work experience, even if you’re not being paid.
It can teach you so many valuable skills that employers love to see, such as caring about others and being passionate about causes outside of yourself.
This experience not only demonstrates your empathy and compassion but also showcases your ability to work in diverse teams and adapt to challenging circumstances. It also demonstrates an excellent work ethic to be contributing your time to something you feel strongly about without being paid.
On your resume, list specific projects you are working on, what you accomplished, the positive impacts you made on the organization or community, and who you worked with, similarly to what you’d list in your work experience summary.
List the time you spent there, and what duties you had, and frame them in a way that could also be applied to the company you’re applying to.
If you have any close co-volunteers or a group leader, they can serve as a reference on your resume as well.
Example: Adding Volunteer Work To Your Resume
Medical Volunteer – Sight International – Nepal, Spring 2021 (3 Months)
Volunteered abroad supporting free eye exams to underserved communities across Nepal. In doing this, I gained real-world experience collaborating with local healthcare professionals and patients, assisting in more than 600 eye exams in a 3-month period. My focus was on serving children and families, a skill I am proud of and that I want to strengthen even further as I continue my career in pursuit of starting my own optometry practice.
General Passion for Travel
Even if you haven’t had the opportunity for extensive travel experiences, you can still include a section in your resume that reflects your passion for travel.
In the “Skills” section of your resume, you can list travel and describe how exploring new places and meeting people from different backgrounds has broadened your horizons and instilled in you a desire for continuous learning.
This passion can translate into a willingness to take on new challenges and adapt to dynamic work environments.
Example: Adding Travel Interest & Skills To Your Resume
Other Skills and Interests:
- Travel writing and photography – [Portfolio site link]
- Global communication skills – proficient in English, Spanish, and French language and writing
- Cultural competence – the ability to liaise with and respect clients and colleagues across various backgrounds, belief systems, and life experiences
Add Travel to Your Resume with These Soft & Hard Skills
One of the great things about traveling is how much you learn and pick up without realizing it.
Soft skills, which are basic people and communication skills like leadership, problem-solving, and independence, are skills that you can’t help but pick up when traveling abroad.
These skills are necessary, especially in the workplace, and traveling helps you practice and perfect them more than someone who doesn’t ever leave their comfort zone.
These are much harder to include on your resume without it sounding too vague or cheesy, but there are ways to show you have these skills by describing your reflections and experiences and including details on the interpersonal skills you learned through these accomplishments.
And then, of course, you have hard skills, such as teaching, writing, learning a new language, or anything else that can be directly attributed to the profession you do (or seek). If you’ve acquired any experience learning skills that directly apply to your position, even better.
Here are some examples of soft and hard skills that travel can give you. You can use these and more on your resume or in your next interview to validate and expand on your travel experiences.
Soft Skills You Can Include on Your Resume
Adaptability: Traveling often involves dealing with unexpected situations, such as language barriers, cultural differences, and changing plans (and all without cell service, sometimes!). The ability to adapt quickly and stay composed in unfamiliar and challenging circumstances is highly valuable in the workplace.
Cross-Cultural Communication: Interacting with people from diverse backgrounds enhances your cross-cultural communication skills. This skill is crucial in this digital age where teams are often spread across different countries and cultures.
Problem-Solving: While traveling, you encounter various challenges that require creative problem-solving. Whether it’s finding your way in a new city or resolving travel logistics, these experiences develop your ability to think on your feet and find practical solutions.
Resilience: Traveling can be physically and emotionally demanding, but it also builds resilience and mental strength. Employers appreciate individuals who can handle stress and bounce back from setbacks.
Open-Mindedness: Exposure to different cultures and perspectives fosters open-mindedness, which is essential for fostering innovation and building inclusive work environments. Not to mention improve collaboration and conflict resolution.
Hard Skills You Can Include on Your Resume
Language Proficiency: If you’ve traveled to countries with different languages, you might have picked up some language skills. Proficiency in multiple languages can be a valuable asset, especially for companies with international operations.
Project Management: Planning and organizing trips require project management skills. Detailing your experience in coordinating itineraries, bookings, and budgets showcases your organizational abilities.
Customer Service: Interacting with people from various backgrounds during your travels can enhance your customer service skills. This is particularly beneficial for roles that involve client-facing responsibilities.
Crisis Management: Traveling involves assessing risks and handling unforeseen situations. These crisis management skills can be transferable to roles that require quick decision-making in high-pressure situations.
Cultural Competence: Exposure to different cultures fosters cultural competence, which is crucial in global business settings. Understanding and respecting cultural nuances can facilitate better collaboration with international colleagues and clients.
Incorporating travel experiences into your resume can provide a unique and compelling perspective that sets you apart from other candidates. Highlighting the different types of travel you’ve undertaken, whether it’s international work experience, gap years, volunteering, or a general passion for travel, can showcase your versatility and adaptability.
Moreover, emphasizing the soft and hard skills acquired during your journeys demonstrates to potential employers the practical value of your travel experiences in a professional context.
So, don’t hesitate to take that next trip, and don’t worry that it’ll have a negative impact on your career.
Just make sure to include your valuable travel adventures on your resume, as they are as much a part of your unique story as the professional experience you bring to the table!
Do you plan to include travel on your resume? Let me know how you’ve done it in the comments below!
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