Welcome back home! Now what? If you’re like us, you’re wondering how to include travel on your resume? We’ve been there and done that with those feelings of “what the hell am I going to do now.” We get that. After we got home from 8 amazing months gallivanting through Southeast Asia and Nepal, we were where you are now, job-figuring-out-mode. The ever-looming thought of getting your resume ready is in the back of your mind.
Take it from us, the folks who have been there and done that, everything will be okay. We’re going to guide you through this and help you land a job. For starters, I (Lauren) was an Account Manager at an advertising agency and Jesse was an Account Manager at a logistics company. What I’m getting at is we came from professional backgrounds and have very marketable skills to put on our resume but still, what to do about that 8-month gap?
Assuming you are aware, I mean why would you be reading this if you weren’t, but having a gap on a resume isn’t considered a positive thing. You should explain why you’ve been unemployed for x-number of months. If not, potential employers could think you are trying to hide something. For example, a jail sentence or you were laid off because you are a lazy bum. You were no one’s jail bait and most certainly not a lazy bum. You were a free, energetic spirt roaming the world and living life! Make sure you set the record straight by leaving no gaps in your resume. This ensures assumptions won’t be made that could hurt you in the hiring process.
If you are in sales or marketing, then you know, it’s all about how you spin something. And if you’re not, well, now you know. Obviously, don’t lie or blatantly make something up. Alter your thinking a bit (which hopefully traveling has done this for you) and let’s approach this in a different way. You did so much more than party in hostels, lay on the beach and eat amazing food. While yes, you did all of that and hopefully plenty of it, you also did a lot of work to make the trip possible. You researched, you budgeted, you navigated and you surely overcame a lot of hiccups along the way. This is where we are going to start.
First – The Brain Dump
What helped us is listing all we did. Yes, open a document or grab a pen and paper and brain dump everything. Get it all out. For instance, what did you research, how did you figure out your budget, how did you figure out where you were going, did you write a blog or do any remote project based work, etc. Thinking of everything you did before, during and after the trip will help you formulate ideas in your head that will eventually lead to getting it down on paper.
Brain dump away! We’ll wait.
Second – Etiquette
Look into resume etiquette. If you’ve been out of the job hunting game for a few years, go ahead and brush up on some resume etiquette and hell, even google resume examples. For instance, we looked into layout examples to give us a bit of inspiration on how we wanted our resume to look and feel.
Now, moving onto the words portion on your resume. Some general resume etiquette is to have 3-5 bullet points under each section and start with “power” words. Why? Studies show that your potential employer won’t read past your 4th or 5th bullet point. Make sure the important stuff, you know the stuff that makes you shine, is in the first two points. Lead your sentences with a strong verb demonstrating from the get go what you did.
At a minimum, you need to think of three of these power words for your 3 bullet points you’re drafting. An example you ask?! Stay tuned, we’ll get to it.
Third – Placement
Where should you put this on your resume? It depends on what your trip entailed. If you did any sort of freelance work or taught English, go ahead and put it under your “work experience” section. If you didn’t, well then, we say make it its own section. For instance, your “job title” could be “International Travel” or “Traveler.” The “company” part of the resume (you know where you enter the name of the company you worked for), we made as our location (i.e. “Southeast Asia and Nepal”). Finally, the dates. Add your dates respective to when you left and returned home.
Fourth – Let’s Write It
It’s time. Draft that sucker! Don’t over think it and don’t be too much of a bullshitter. Your potential boss may see right through the game you’re attempting to play. Without further ado, let us help you get to writing…
- So, you planned and budgeted your whole trip? Well, shoot, you must mean you “Created a comprehensive timeline and budget to meet your long-term travel needs and goals.”
- You overcame issues when traveling? Perhaps a bus accident (happened to us). You must mean you “Adapted, overcame and seamlessly navigated unforeseeable issues that arose.”
- You wanted to make sure you had enough money to drink alcohol tonight and not go over your daily budget? Man, you must mean you “Developed financial skills through daily expense reports to ensure budgets stayed on time and target.”
- You had trouble talking with locals when ordering your Pho? Geeze, you must mean you “Overcame communication barriers and developed negotiation skills.”
- Perhaps you even did a little blogging to update your friends and family about your trip? You must mean you “created travel content.” You could also include site or social analytics to prove the reach of your posts.
Five – We Told You Not To Worry
See where we are going with this? It’s all about how you spin it. Sure, this sounds fancier than what may have happened, but nonetheless, it happened. You did all of these things and perhaps a whole lot more. If you volunteered or taught for any length of time, make sure to include that as well!
Always remember, traveling and experiencing the world is an asset and you should always view it that way. Just because you didn’t spend that time in a classroom or gaining years of experience in a particular field, you are still learning and growing personally and professionally!
Now, we are not giving you this advice based on a random theory or hunch we have. We’re the real deal, just like you. We quit our jobs, backpacked for 8 months, did a short US road trip when we returned, updated our resumes, got interviews and now are fully employed citizens again. What we are saying is, we are giving you advice that works. We did it, and now we’re giving you what you need to do it too.
Once you start interviewing, you’ll find out that your trip is all people want to talk about! They will think you are the coolest person and are so envious of the leap you took to see the world. They will want to hear all about it and want you to spare no details. However, maybe spare them the party and debauchery details. You know, that doesn’t look too professional. Save those stories for the Holiday party 🙂
Be confident, know you’re awesome and come prepared to rock the interview. You got this.
For more travel tips, guides and awesome travel shots, be sure to poke around our site, follow us on Instagram @wanderingstus and on Facebook. Oh and if you have any questions, let us know in the comment section. We’re happy to answer. Or, just leave us a positive note!
– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)