4 Reasons Travel is Great for Your Resume and Career

Mark Horoszowski

Mark is the Co-founder of MovingWorlds.org, a global platform connecting people who want to volunteer their expertise with social impact organizations.

Volunteering-for-your-career

There are probably 100 reasons why travel is vital to include on your resume, these 4 reasons highlight skills sets that are most indicative of long-term success – and help you stand out from the crowd.

Before looking at the skills, it’s important to understand what serious employers are looking for these days.

The best employers look for skills you can’t learn from textbooks

While all companies are looking for people with a balance of key skills, the most sought after skills are not ones you learn in school. Here are a few major skill set that specific employers are looking to recruit:

  1. Innovation | Tech companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, and the American Cancer Society are looking for people that exhibit a history of innovative problem solving.
  2. Communication | Consulting companies like McKinsey, Accenture, PwC and Boston Consulting all tout the importance of effective communication and networking skills.
  3. Taking initiative and operating in ambiguity | Large companies like IBM, Amazon, and Siemens are all looking for managers who have the ability to prosper in ambiguous environments, and who take initiative to develop solutions to problems that people don’t know exist yet.
  4. Leadership and coaching | Starbucks, GE, and Microsoft all invest heavily in leadership development and have mentoring programs to continue developing it amongst their employees.

As it turns out, planning major international travel tips shows proficiency in many of these skills, and international volunteering and Experteering does even more to help you develop these skills. According the Sherry Ott, proclaimed corporate runaway and travel adviser:

Keep in mind that many of these experiences, if described in a professional manner, will make you stand out from other candidates.”

Demonstrate Innovation on Your Resume

There is really nothing very innovative about going through school. And most internships are less about you practicing innovation, and more about schmoozing you for full-time hire. Employers know this. The only way to really demonstrate that you have the ability to problem solve creatively and lead innovation is if you have done it. The ways to be demonstrably innovative are few, which is exactly why they are so valued:

  1. Be voraciously active and impactful in your community
  2. Plan extraordinary global travel adventures on your own
  3. Volunteer extensively in leadership roles
  4. Start something, like a nonprofit, organization, or community event
  5. Coach, teach, and give back

Highlight Communication Skills on Your Resume

Like innovation, employers know that you learn basic communication skills in schools and early jobs. Real communication skills from dealing with people in stressful, unexpected, and/or high-impact situations. Sharing experiences about

Prove Ability to Take Initiative and Prosper in Ambiguity

Whether you learned a new language to more fully enjoy a culture, organized a major fundraiser, or even planned your own around-the-world trip, that fact that you did it on your own initiative is what makes all the difference. You saw an opportunity, made a plan, and executed – something that all employers like to see.

Show History of Leadership and Coaching on Your Resume

To teach is to learn twice” is exactly why employers like people who have been in leadership roles and coaching roles. And lead teams abroad and teaching others valuable skills is vital to not only developing your own, but also showing proof of ability.

While some employers do like to see clear, uninterrupted career paths, the candidates that stand out the most have a diverse set of skills and experiences. For more on that, read our previous post on career advice for world-travelers, as well as this article from the Harvard Business Review which highlights the value of disrupting your career.

What other skills can you learn from international travel and volunteering?

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