Going away on a year or longer RTW trip does not mean your professional life back home should suffer. Some folks would have you believe that, especially the kinds of folks who don't want to see others living out their life's dreams. In fact, if positively exploited, a gap year abroad can actually have a positive effect on your future employment.
We know what you're thinking; how can you show achievements for your time abroad if you hate youtube videos, hate learning languages, and you don't even know how to fit a ping-pong ball in there?
This information is most helpful for those who are returning from a RTW trip or a job abroad and are trying to further their career. One of the main things we're striving for on this site is the delicate balances inherent to a life of international travel and a professional career. Think James Bond but with lazy Sundays and the occasional empanada.
I am not a resumé expert, I just know what works for me and if it works for me, then it might work for you because I am not smart, just resourceful.
For starters, you can't lie on a resumé, it is unethical and will always come back to haunt you. Did you see the movie Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead? That is a great and realistic example of when lying on a resumé goes terribly wrong. Luckily for Christina Applegate, she made hundreds of millions creating that peace of classic entertainment. She is rich. You are not.
Look at your cover letter as a brief introduction of you, which the employer reads as a snapshot of your professional and personal traits (not too personal). If you have an interesting cover letter, they will continue on to your resumé and if your past work experience and education are a match for the position they are looking to fill, then you might get an interview.
In a sense the cover letter is the teaser with a personal touch, while the resumé is like Dragnet: just the facts. It lists previous employment, education and your skill set.
Your gap year abroad or year long sabbatical should be used as a stepping stone to get them interested in reading your resumé, it isn't a crutch to support your whole resumé, or lack of experience. The traits that your year abroad displays are personal, not so much professional.
The cover letter should be short and to the point. It should grab their attention without being obnoxious. It's here you can address the fact that you have spent the last year abroad, gaining experience beneficial to your career. Don't dwell on it, keep it to one or two sentences max. That is unless it's a travel job or relevant in some other way.
Point out the skills you've picked up during your travels. If you are like most people then you had to work for part or all of your year abroad. If you did actually sit around on the beach, bird doggin' chicks and slamming crappy beer for 12 months, then this is not a website for you because you have life too easy.
If you are still uncertain about how your Gap Year Abroad will affect your resumé, then consider volunteer work. This will be a great example of you how you did more than sit around and shows that you have interests in more than just working and earning money.
Make sure, as succinctly as possible, they understand that you did more than drink and shag the whole time away. Did you do volunteer work, work in a related field, WOOFing or study while you were away? This helps fill in at least some of the gap in employment.
If the work you did abroad isn't in a related field than don't make a big deal of that aspect in your resumé. Keep it simply put to a blurb after your other jobs stating your work and responsibilities or skills you picked up while there. Leaving it out shows you did nothing, while keeping it in shows your versatility in getting a variety of jobs done.
Depending on your career, you may even be able to do some contract work while away. This you can chalk up as freelance or independent contract work for various employers.
As for the resume itself, if you didn't work in your particular field or vocation while on your gap year, than you don't have much to place here as "Work Experience". Try adding an "Additional Skills" section at the end for the so called soft skills they should know you possess.
Traits you should have continued developing while traveling abroad include building your confidence, independence and communication. This should be apparent in your cover letter, then reinforced when you go in for the first interview.
Your trip abroad shows your independence and an ability to set and achieve goals.
You're not afraid of new situations, rather you embrace them and look forward to new challenges.
Knowing another language, even if it is a language that they don't directly use at the workplace, does show that you have the ability to be multilingual which displays a level of intelligence in itself.
Employers also like to see that you have a life outside of work and a lifestyle of travel displays just that. We all have hobbies and interests, and travel is one that most everyone can relate to.
A few things you can also list if it is a travel job your applying for include:
Your keenness to be away from home for prolonged periods of time. Being a road warrior isn't easy and if you're ready for it, then your employer should know.
Up to date Passport or other travel documents. If they need to hire someone who leaves tomorrow, then you better be up to date. Do you have multiple passports? That could help as well, depending on where they work.
An ability to get around in places that speak another language. This skill lets an employer know that you will be OK if things don't always go as planned while working abroad.
There is more you can do when creating a resumé for a travel job.
An interesting cover letter and well laid out resumé are the one two punch that gets hired every time. While your gap year abroad can not make up for a lack of work history or education it will get an employers attention.
As soon as they accept the year abroad was beneficial they will look past it towards your actual professional experience and from there you are on your own. Remember to be smart, but not too smart. Be funny, but not too funny. And if they ask you where you were on the night of march the fourteenth, cheese it like you were in France...
The world is too amazing not to share.
Resources for Travel Jobs Abroad
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What's it like to work onboard cruise ships
Do cruise ship staff party?
Travel by rail on Train jobs
House sitting jobs Worldwide
Tour Guide Jobs Abroad
Get Paid to Party!
How to become an au pair
Meet an au pair in the USA
Run a Travel Website
Hospitality Jobs Abroad
Monetize that Website
Bad Resumé won't get hired
Resumé advice after travel
Resumés for travel jobs
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Become a carnie
Be a Flight Attendant
Produce Travel Video
Work Seasonal Jobs
Cruise Ship Jobs
Crew on sailboats
Crew on Yachts
Work 1 year in Australia
Working Outback Australia
Working in Australian cities
Finding work in Australia Work in New Zealand
Work in Singapore
Day trade online & abroad
Busking & street performing
Be a corporate stiff
Teaching English Online
Teaching in China
Work in Antarctica
TEFL for non teachers
Teach English in S. Korea
Become a Roadie