After graduation, what comes next? While some might jump right into looking for a job, taking a gap year is also an option you can take if you so desire. And travel is a common idea that comes to students post graduation – even if the current pandemic has limited travel locations somewhat.
But pandemic or not, it can be hard to justify taking time out of your job search to travel. Setting aside the monetary costs of doing so, there’s also the concern of whether doing so will hurt your job-hunting prospects in an already-uncertain job market. So, is it worth it? If you’re able to, travelling can provide more than just fun and great memories – it can count as invaluable experience that can give you a leg up in the professional world.
Equipping yourself for international opportunities
As the world becomes more interconnected, the job market today is more diverse than ever. With that in mind, having cultural sensitivity has become vital, especially if the job you’re gunning for offers opportunity for global interaction. While you don’t really need to leave the country to appreciate other cultures, by being well-travelled, it not only further heightens your cultural awareness, but also sets you up to be more emotionally intelligent. That will help you better communicate with those around you, especially if they come from different backgrounds.
You might even pick up on skills such as learning other languages, which can be a valuable asset among some employers.
Growing on a personal level
As cliché as it sounds, travelling can indeed be helpful in terms of ‘finding yourself’, as well as a golden opportunity for growing as a person as well. Being in a new place, with different people, who hold different values and go about life differently strips all that familiarity away and forces you to learn how to adapt to it. And it could be that those situations are where you learn the most, not just about the world around you but about yourself as well.
Leveraging it on your resume and interviews
So where should you put travel in your resume? It depends, actually. If the experiences you had while travelling are relevant to the job you’re after, then you can consider putting them in the main body of your resume, like your work experience. On the other hand, if it isn’t as clear, you should put it in another section, such as under ‘Other Activities’.
The same applies to skills that you’ve learned too. If the language skills you’ve picked up are closely linked to the job role, such as in marketing or teaching, then you should definitely highlight it more in your resume. But do be honest about your fluency – exaggerating it can lead to some embarrassing situations for you down the road.
Of course, you shouldn’t just drop everything and hop on a flight willy-nilly. If you’re intrigued by the thought of traveling but are nervous that taking time off will hurt your chances of finding a job in the future, don’t be. Not only does it give you some well-deserved time off, but depending on where you go and what you do, it can open the doors for professional growth and opportunity, too.