World travelers often face a problem - how do you explain four years of hopping between countries and doing odd jobs? In a world where a single piece of paper can make or break your future, we have to curate our work experiences carefully. Fortunately, there is a way to see the world without ruining your chances of getting hired. Go for these four types of travel that will make your resume stand out and get you hired.
Healthcare Mission Trips
Mission trips are no picnic but are extremely rewarding. On a mission trip, you will travel with a purpose and that looks great on your resume. Medical trips have gained popularity. If you’re in medical or dental school, you can travel with an organized group and work at a pop up clinic during the week, followed by swimming in waterfalls, dancing with the locals and riding ATVs on the weekend.
In reality, healthcare skills are in great demand and are extremely valuable. It’s not enough to have a solid GPA in dental school anymore. Traveling to practice your skills and share them with those less fortunate for free, demonstrates a high level of initiative. “Describe a difficult situation and how you dealt with it” is always on the top 10 interview questions recruiters ask. You’ll be able to immediately pull up an example from your mission trip and use it to your advantage. Recruiters also look for employees with a good level of altruism. If you love to travel and take pleasure in your work, your authenticity will shine through. Consider a mission trip as a way to satisfy your wanderlust while working towards establishing the foundations of a successful career.
Volunteer work sounds great on paper, but has lately gotten a bad rep. Having become directly associated with middle-class Westerners building huts in Africa just to have a talking point on the resume, controversy has sparked in terms of the authenticity of the traveler’s intentions. The truth is that there are plenty of ways to volunteer and travel while being genuine. It is in fact very simple.
Evaluate your skill set. Are you good at cooking? Can you clean and build tables? Are you more on the creative side? Any of those skills can be of help. Teaching English is always a great volunteer experience that helps you get immersed in a new culture. Producing video and photography for international resorts has become increasingly popular with the rise of social media in recent years. If you’ve got an eye for photography, why not head over to the Andes with your camera?
The experience you accumulate doing these tasks is practical and valuable. Don’t assume that writing articles or taking photos is in any way a lesser job than building houses. Go for what you’re good at. This way the recruiter will see that you manage to bridge together the love for travel with your professional responsibility.
One of the most popular activities in American colleges is to travel internationally for a semester. While practicing a second language in Italy or Spain looks good on your resume, interning looks even better. It’s no secret that semesters abroad in many cases entail a great deal of partying which inevitably leads to slacking off. Interning abroad on the other hand, shows that you’re not just trying to escape responsibility and a heavy course load, but that you fully intend to work. The work experience coupled with your courage to leave your culture behind and experience something unfamiliar while remaining professional, counts for a lot.
If your school does not offer internships overseas, this may be even better for you, as it will challenge you to create your own opportunity. Seek out ten companies that you’d like to intern for abroad and contact them via LinkedIn, email and phone. Explaining to the recruiter that you created your opportunity instead of receiving it from your school demonstrates assertiveness and persistence, which are key qualities to have.
WWOOF (World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) is an excellent way of travel for those who love nature and like to showcase adaptability. Farming abroad is no easy task, but ends up being a great time. WWOOF groups are usually smaller in size, which is the best way to make close friends. Chances are, that you’ll end up in Australia or New Zealand on one of these trips. You’ll be waking up early and would have to go all-in on adapting to your new environment. Climate plays a role in this experience as well, which proves your willingness to push through tough conditions and persevere.The most important aspect of your interview process when it comes to answering travel questions, is to be authentic. Don’t be intimidated by your international experience. It may not exhibit stability in the traditional 9-5 sense, but it showcases desirable qualities like persistence, open-mindedness and gravitas. For more, check out our top 5 must do tips for landing the job.