What to say about travelling in an interview / CV?!

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What to say about travelling in an interview / CV?!

Avatar for Hollysi
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Joined 2007-10-20

I’ve recently just arrived back home and looking for a job. Can anyone give me advice on what to say about my travels in my CV and interviews. Can I use it to my advantage and how to I talk about it without people thinking I’m lazy and without them worrying I’ll want to take off & do it again!!

Thanks! x

     
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the 1st time i got back from travelling, it was seen as a good thing and the people interviewing me were really interested in hearing about my travels.

but last time, in job interviews it was seen as a bad thing and i did get asked if i was going to be going off for a year again. i just told them that traveling was something i had to get out of my system before i settled down into a career (i lied, they dont know that) blah blah blah. it worked, i got the job!

     
Avatar for Lunny
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but last time, in job interviews it was seen as a bad thing and i did get asked if i was going to be going off for a year again. i just told them that traveling was something i had to get out of my system before i settled down into a career (i lied, they dont know that) blah blah blah. it worked, i got the job!

exactly… just talk about how it’s made you a better all round person with better social skills blah blah… and emphasise you won’t be doing it again as you’re through that phase. even if it’s bullshit it works :D

     
Avatar for Freakgirl0789
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Did you learn anything whilst you were away? Even if you just discovered how to say “hello” in a new language, tell them that sort of thing - saying “I went and lay on loads of different beaches” makes them think you just enjoy bumming around, focussing on anything - and I mean ANYTHING - you have learned, and any skills you have gained, makes them thing that even if you are likely to up off and travel again, it’s because you want to learn stuff. That comes off quite well, at least it does for me!
As much as I hate to disagree with Lunny, I’d avoid telling them it was a “phase,” as it can make you look like the fickle type, and suggests you might be hit by another “phase” at any time. Just reassure them that as much as you love to travel, you wouldn’t be applying for the job unless you had every intention of putting your all into it (back this up with telling them what you learned on your gapyear and you’re laughing!)
X

     
Avatar for Niknoo
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good tips :d i never really thought about this before :? kind of worried now, because im planning to go travelling next year, then come back and go back to studying before travelling again, so it will look like i just take off every couple of years! but hey, got to do what u wana do right, if it makes it a little harder to get a job then so be it!

     
Avatar for Freakgirl0789
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Shouldn’t be a problem niknoo, just emphasise that you’ll be studying in between, and also how structured your plan is - travel, study, travel. As long as you come off looking like someone who plans and saves for trips instead of just taking off whenever they get bored of life as it is, you should be able to use it to prove to any employer that you’ve got great organisational skills, if nothing else! xx

     
Avatar for Aefaef
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I’ve been on both sides of the interview table a large number of times.

With any job application, you need to work out what the interviewers will be looking for.

In my interviews on returning I didn’t have to explain the travel. I just said “I went backpacking in Asia and Aus for a year”. It usually prompted a “I’d love to do that” or mentions of their travel experience.

If you think it might be seen as a negative, because they think you’ll be off again, pre-empt that when they ask you why you’re applying for the job. Say something like “Now that I’m back from travelling, I want to start saving to settle-down”, or whatever reality and your sense of honesty allows.

In all other respects it’s likely to be a positive. In general it shows a certain amount of motivation and self-reliance, but it’s also a potential source of answers to “give me an example when you…” questions. You don’t even have to wait for a question, really. If you think the interviewer has a concern about you which you can address, you can always (at the end of the interview or at another appropriate point) say “I expect that for this role you’ll be looking for someone who (has some quality). I’d just like to say that when I (was in a situation, did something, etc)...”

It’s always good to explicitly ask, at the end of the interview, if the interviewer has any concerns about you, or wants to know anything they feel you haven’t told them.

I like to take an active part in interviews when I’m being interviewed - it’s my job to find out what the interviewer wants and (if that’s me) show them I’m it. I aim for a co-operative atmosphere with the interviewers - we’re all there working together on finding out if and how I’m a good match for the role.

It seems to work reasonably well, after returning from travel I got two good employers competing for me, and as a result earn more than before I left. (Which isn’t bad in this economy.)

Hope this helps,

Anthony

     
Avatar for ambermarie
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Yeah I think travelling can be used as a good talking point in some interviews, as it can show motivation etc. ... in one interview I was asked to give an example of something that I’d worked towards for a long time. Saving up for travelling was a good example of this as I’d had to work a really boring job for 6 months in order to fund going away, so I just spoke about how I had been determined to do some volunteering abroad and having this goal helped to motivate me to save up. It can also be useful for problem solving questions and stuff - the fact that you had to rely entirely on your own resources for however many months can show that you’re independent and mature. But yeah just make sure you don’t talk about it like a long beach holiday; make it sound more like a ‘finding yourself’ type experience from which you’ve come back a more self-assured and rounded person!

     
Avatar for Cormac
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Hi guys,

I know this is a bit of an old thread, but I thought I’d follow up and say I wrote an article about this earlier this week, in which I’ve tried to share a few of my thoughts, based on my experiences of being “the interviewer” (I’ve tried to be as unbiased as possible wink).

Broadly speaking, I think sarahq summed up both sides of this well with her two experiences.

When she said…

it was seen as a good thing and the people interviewing me were really interested in hearing about my travels

...that is generally my view too (though the point about making sure you don’t talk about lounging around on the beach all day is valid).

The article is here - Discussing Your Gap Year at a Job Interview - and I’d love to hear from anyone who has any thoughts or experiences to share. cool smile