Took A Gap Year To Travel? How To Sell Yourself to Potential Employers


Sleeping in a train somewhere around Eastern Europe

Sleeping in a train somewhere around Eastern Europe

There’s a saying that ‘travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer’ and certainly the adventures and experiences that you have on a gap year can be life changing and character building. But what do you do when you get home and find that other graduates in your field have already notched up a year of paid or interning work experience while you were abroad? There is a bit of a stigma around having periods of ‘unemployment’ on your resume, but it can actually work for you too. Read on to find out how your travel experiences can help you land the right job.

Find an Employer Who Isn’t Focussed on Work Experience



Many employers are now seeing the value in hiring people who are a cultural fit for their organisation as they recognise that specific job skills can be learned. Sites like offer help with writing resumes that can be tailored towards a company’s industry and culture. Finding someone who has the right personality and work style for their business is more important than identifying the candidate who has the most experience. Using a human resources partner like Chandler Macleod, who use psychometric testing to asses jobseekers’ ‘fit’ with potential employers and positions will ensure that find a role with an organisation who values the same things that you do and provides the type of work environment you thrive in.

Focus on the Skills You’ve Learned

Even though you may not have spent the past year gaining ‘career skills’ in the traditional sense, that doesn’t mean you didn’t learn anything while you were away. Think about the transferrable skills that you have developed like analytical and problem solving abilities, thinking on your feet under pressure, dealing with situations out of your comfort zone – these are all things that will help you in the work force. Don’t be shy to use them in your application or interview. If you maintained any blogs or social media profiles with work appropriate content, you may be able to use them as a portfolio to demonstrate your communication and computer skills.

Get Straight Back Into Working

Even though you’ll be wanting to spend some time catching up with friends and family when you return and setting yourself up with somewhere to live, see if you can get started professionally straight away. Even if you haven’t found paid employment yet, taking on a volunteer or intern position in your field, even on a part time basis, shows that you are committed and serious about finding work.
Stars Jumps in Sydney Tower

Stars Jumps in Sydney Tower

A year out of the workforce exploring the globe doesn’t automatically equal a disaster for your career. It is possible to return from your trip and start forging the type of professional life you are looking for. Think of the determination it took to save for and plan your trip – channel that drive into your job seeking endeavours and you’ll be hired in no time.

Did you take a gap year? What advice would you give to someone just getting back and looking for work?

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