How To Make Travel Look Good On Your CV

Many people, especially those on a competitive career path, are very hesitant about taking some time off to travel the world.

I’ve met people who say that they would love to travel the world for a year, and that they probably will – one day …

“One day, when I’ve finished studying”, “One day, when I’ve made it in my career”, “One day, when the kids grow up”,
“One day, when I retire”….

We both know that day will never come, because there will always be something in the way.

There is no right time to travel, which is why you should do it RIGHT NOW – we can’t live our whole lives dreaming about the future.

But what about that career? Won’t it look bad on my CV – having a whole year just blank?

Here are some tips on how to travel and still make it look good on your resume…

Volunteer Or Work

Taking a whole year off to volunteer will look very impressive on your CV, and you’ll have a great time doing it.

Besides, there are so many types of volunteer work that you might actually find something which will be directly related to the skills needed in your job.

This will show that you have an incredible passion and love for your work, care about others and aren’t afraid of hard work.

If you have training and work in health care, taking a year off for medical volunteering abroad will be both a rewarding as well as a beneficial experience for your career.

A more general but also very beneficial option is to teach English abroad. There are both jobs where you volunteer for free as well as jobs that actually pay you a salary.

That way you can work, but still have time left over to explore the country you’re in and enjoy the best it has to offer, be it on the weekends and afternoons.

Just Want To Travel?

If you’re not into volunteering or working abroad but just want to travel, then don’t lie about it on your CV and say you had a work experience when you didn’t.

Instead, be honest about it and put your gap year under “Other Experience”, including the dates.

This, however, doesn’t mean that your experience wasn’t important.

You learn a lot of skills from traveling, it’s just about putting it down the right way on paper.

If you learned how to bargain and haggle, you’ve learned some great “negotiation skills”.

The planning, financing and organization of your trip taught you “planning and budgeting”, and how to keep a record of your expenses.

Your unplanned situations, culture shocks, and how you dealt with them can be put down as “adaptability”, and you can write about how you cultivated great “language and communication skills” when communicating with people and overcoming language barriers.

Show Off The Blog

If you have a travel blog, it’s definitely something to include on your CV, and why not include the long list of skills you learned from maintaining your blog:

Website designing, php coding, networking, writing, SEO and social media skills are all very good and useful skills to include!

The Big No-No

Many companies like that their employees have taken a year off because it often means they’ve “done it” already and won’t be traveling again.

Don’t let on that you might be leaving for another big trip, even if you are…

For those of you who are doubting whether to take that year off to travel the world, I hope this article gave you a kick in the right direction, and for those who have just finished a big trip, I hope this helps with working out what to write on your CV.

30 Responses to How To Make Travel Look Good On Your CV

  1. Vi July 30, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    I really loved approach in New Zealand. I got best paid job I ever had before and nobody cares you will be leaving country in a year. I think it because kiwies travel a lot and it is much easier to understand each other.
    I doubt it would happen in US or Canada.

    • Sofia July 31, 2012 at 3:45 am #

      Great to hear it was easy for you, I also think that because they’re so isolated and far away they realize that a foreigner might not have come to New Zealand to stay forever and are more used to having people staying for a shorter time.

  2. Waegook Tom July 30, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    Great tips, especially about volunteering and teaching abroad. Travel is definitely something you can turn into a positive on your CV. Nice info about the blog skills too – I’d never have thought of that :)

    • Sofia July 31, 2012 at 3:52 am #

      Thanks Tom, yes it’s easy to forget that everything you know about travel blogging today are things you’ve learned along the way and skills that most people don’t know anything about.

  3. Beverley | Pack Your Passport July 31, 2012 at 5:14 am #

    Great tips! I’ve just arrived in Auckland and two years in Australia and I’m looking for jobs here. I recently added my travel blog, the skills I’ve developed from running it and the social media management I do on a freelance basis to my C.V and the response from potential employers and recruitment agencies has been great actually :-)

    I’m actually getting put forward for social media roles just from travel blogging and freelance work which is great because, even though I have a marketing degree, I’ve never done that kind of job in an actual full-time role.

    I don’t think people should worry so much about taking a break in their career, why do people think this is the be all and end all of life?! You can have a career anytime in your life but travel is always going to be easier to do when you’re younger and don’t have all the commitments of a family/mortgage etc :-)

    • Nathan July 31, 2012 at 10:26 am #

      Hi Beverly, great to hear that you’re getting such great response from potential employers.

      I agree, taking a career break shouldn’t be something to worry about, and a gap year could easily be turned into something positive on the CV that will actually separate you from the rest.

  4. Jen July 30, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

    This is fantastic and really useful. I believe it’s called “funemployment”!

    • Sofia July 31, 2012 at 3:53 am #

      Thanks Jen, haha yes funemployment sounds like a great word ;)

  5. andiperullo July 31, 2012 at 12:17 am #

    Brilliant ideas!

    • Nathan July 31, 2012 at 4:50 am #

      thanks :p

  6. Tiny Girl with Big Bag July 31, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

    Very creative writing, I really like the idea. You could also put in the “marketing” skills for yourselves, as I am pretty sure that this article will go a long way ;)

    • Nathan August 1, 2012 at 2:44 am #

      haha yes marketing online is also a skill we learn while blogging – thanks for adding that one!

  7. mzansigirl July 31, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

    This is a great post for all long-term travellers. I’ve added my travels in my CV but not as creatively as you suggested. Thanks for the tips!

    • Nathan August 1, 2012 at 2:42 am #

      Hey – thanks for the comment, glad we could help :)

  8. Jesse August 1, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    I can say that I’m not one of those lifeless office workers who don’t have the light to at least experience the outdoor.

  9. Sophie August 2, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    Great tips guys. People put up all these barriers that stop themselves from travelling when they should just go and be free and enjoy the world. Hopefully anyone reading this article will feel inspired!

    • Sofia August 5, 2012 at 2:28 am #

      Hey Sophie,

      I agree, people put up a lot of barriers for themselves of what they can and cannot do, or should and shouldn’t do.

  10. Harrison August 3, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    These are great tips I will consider when I create a more travel focused CV.

    Interestingly, majority of US hiring managers/recruiters would hate any type of gap year (or just gaps of time in general). They are okay with volunteer experience, with some reputable organization, but usually the idea of travel bloggers or travel in general is held in negative light with the US, which sucks.

    But like someone else mentioned, certain countries like New Zealand have an open mind to being able to travel. It’s awesome. Wish the US was more like that.

    • dansandersn August 5, 2012 at 1:45 am #

      That’s because the US isn’t as forward thinking as the rest of the western world (or even ‘non-western’ English speaking countries). The general view held in America is that any time doing anything not directly related to a career/somehow earning large amounts of money is wasted time, and don’t see travel, particularly travel outside its own borders as worthwhile. Very telling, no?

  11. Jennifer August 4, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

    This may work for some careers, but others such as engineering are a lot trickier.

    • Sofia August 5, 2012 at 2:23 am #

      Hey Jennifer,

      funny that you mentioned that, I just met an engineer in Malaysia who had been traveling the world for about 8 months, and had just spent three months working on a building in Cambodia.

      He had found some temporary jobs along the way of his travels, and was on his way to Australia to see if he could get some work there for a bit.

      I agree that it’s definitely trickier, but I’m sure he could include those temporary jobs on his CV ;)

  12. Jeremy August 5, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

    This is a great idea for a post! I think sharing that you’re a travel blogger would be very value-added information for a potential employer as blogging is something many companies are interested in. Just make sure you’re not Roosh V and sharing a link to your site!

  13. Anthony August 11, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

    Great post….AWFUL photo of me :P

  14. Skott - Get Up and Globe August 12, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    This may be the most well-timed post I have ever read. Shawna and I are headed back to Canada in the very near future, ending our 15-month RTW honeymoon. We are absolutely thrilled to go back, and although we are not to concerned about jumping back into careers, the whole concept of how to sell our time away on our resume was something we just discussed yesterday.

    Super helpful guys – appreciate it!


  15. Jason - iCotswolds August 14, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

    Great post, i did something very similar but finaced my travel by playing online poker, its a great way to see the world and work at the same time, once it came to my cv i dropped the bit about poker financing my trip as it can sometimes have negative effect.

    My only wish was that i had blogged the trip although it was a few years ago now, oh well!

  16. matt August 14, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

    Great tips, will try this out for my next trip.

  17. vidisha September 2, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    These are great ideas and a nice way to present travel on the career front. Thanks!


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