Why You Should Hire a Girl (or Guy) Who Travels

Who travels

It’s the scenario we all dread. You’re sitting at a very professional looking table, a very professional looking person directly opposite you, and you’re dressed in very professional looking attire (or so you hope).

And this person is asking you questions.

“Why are you interested in working for this company?”

“What sort of duties have your previous positions entailed?”

“Where do you see your career going in the next five years?”

And then they see it… and the statement is always the same.

“Looks like you’ve done a fair bit of travel… how does a full-time job fit in with your travel bug?”

Let the explanations commence.

I have studied and worked in four countries. My life experience has taken me to more than 20 countries, and counting. It’s safe to say I’m a bit of a free-spirit with a tendency to wander. And I have the resume to prove it.

Wanderlusters know. The lifestyle is a tad unconventional. And companies looking to secure a stable employee might balk at hiring someone who seems to move around more than a leaf in a fall breeze.

But they’d be wrong.

And here are the reasons why:

We adapt easily.

A traveler knows what it means to be a fish-out-of-water. But we also know that this is a temporary sensation. We know how to gently adjust to different cultures, different groups of people and different settings. Flexibility is our middle name.

We are self-reliant, but know when and how to ask for help.

Sure, companies want to hire someone who is able to do the job at hand. But they also need someone who doesn’t allow their ego to prevent them from asking for help when they need it. A traveler knows that nothing is gained by stubbornly refusing to break out the rusty Italian and ask a local for directions, even though you’ve been lost for more than three hours… so far. And the same applies to an assigned task that could be done in half the time, if you’re just willing to ask for clarification. This is a huge asset.

We possess no fear of the unknown.

Ok maybe a little… but we won’t let that stop us. There’s always a sense of anticipation when you’re striking out into the unknown, whether that be a new country or a new job. And that’s okay. A traveler knows that this little tingle isn’t an indication that all will go awry, but rather a sign that something exciting is just around the corner.

We thrive in challenging situations.

Actually, that little tingle mentioned in the above boils down to one thing: adrenaline. And that’s the rush we live for. Many travelers talk about loving the challenge of it – of setting yourself up, of learning the local language, of making new friends. Of creating a sense of belonging in a totally foreign place. If it was too easy, it almost wouldn’t be worth it. We bring the same gusto to the workplace, and companies can benefit greatly from our experience.

We have real life experience.

And speaking of experience, we have that. Even if our background isn’t specifically aligned with the position we’re going for. How to do this, that and the other thing in an office can be learned. Those who travel bring to the table a set of skills that cannot be taught – they have to be earned. Travel broadens your views, expands your horizons and teaches you things you could never have picked up otherwise.

We know our passions.

Many people travel for self-discovery. You can learn quite a bit about your likes and dislikes, what you want to do and what you don’t, and what you’re willing to do and what your not. And chances are if a traveler is applying for a full-time position somewhere, it’s because they are willing to give up another summer in Europe to pursue said job. That intention shouldn’t be taken lightly.

We actually do like stability.

Some of us are perfectly content to be constantly on the go, living the life of a true nomad, never in one place for long. And then there are others, who enjoy seeing new places, but also love having the comfort of a “home base.” Just as you probably wouldn’t want to live in your college dorm reliving your university days for the rest of your life, many travelers do reach a point when they are ready to just unpack for a spell…

There you have it. Seven reasons why hiring a traveler is more of an asset than a liability. And I’m sure there are plenty more, one being your ability to tell interesting stories (because you have plenty).

So don’t feel like you have to apologize for seeing the world instead of following a traditional career path. A traveler is a highly valuable asset to any company in any industry. And in reality, your interviewer is probably more jealous of your Instagram feed than anything else.

You have an incredible story. Own it.


What are your thoughts? Would you hire a person with a lengthy travel resume? Any other skills I left out?

 

  • I am saving this post as inspiration for the first interview I go to post-Army when I have to answer why I changed jobs and locations every 1-3 years for the last, oh, two decades! Yikes!

    • You should!! I was forced to sort through this issue recently when I went for a job interview here in Florida. Of course all my bouncing around comes up, and I have to explain why I moved around so much and how that is an asset. Which got me thinking, surely companies would rather have a self-sufficient, can-do traveler of their staff!! lol

  • Love this, Amy! I do feel like no matter how you spin it, travel is a boost in the resume for sure 🙂

    • Thank you Michelle!! It’s always a tough question to answer, since so many in the corporate world don’t understand the choices of those who traveled instead of climbing the proverbial ladder (though I swear they are all secretly jealous! lol) 🙂

  • Oooh thanks for this, Amy! In the back of my mind, I’m *terrified* if I ever one day need to seek out a traditional 9-5 job again, and of the interview (I’ve only ever had one real job and one real interview) and how to answer the questions about my traveling. I’ve never been good at the questions like “why should we hire you?”. I need to save these points 😀 .

    • It does seem that often travel experience gets viewed in a negative light during interviews!! I guess companies are afraid you’ll get story crazy and just pack up and leave lol. But there is so much knowledge gained through travel, it would be crazy to overlook it or simply dismiss it. The trick is explaining that “real world education” as employable qualities! 😉

  • This is great. Perhaps I’m an expert bullshitter (aren’t all us nomadic story-tellers) but I’ve always found that as long as you’re able to tie a strong parallel between your previous experience and the position you hope to fill, you’re well ahead of the competition.

    Most recently I was able to use three years of travel experience to parlay myself into a Masters of Engineering program at the University of Melbourne I was painfully under-qualified for. My reasoning: “I’ve noticed a startlingly consistent theme in the stories I’ve been documenting internationally these past few years. A huge percentage of the issues that plague us as humans are rooted in our relationship with energy – how we produce it, the lack of efficiency with which we store it, the rate at which we expend it, and the resulting impact on our environment. I honestly believe that progress in this industry is integral to improving our relationship with the earth.”

    Confidence, as you’ve alluded to above, is a traveler/human’s best attribute.

    • Thank you Jeff!! I love that you were able to successfully use your travel experience to get into your master’s program, and the way you did it! Confidence is paramount for any endeavor. It is true the travelers tend to have confidence in their abilities, and a broadened perspective to see things “outside the box” more than sticking with the status quo. This is such a strong quality to bring to anything, whether its school or a job. Good luck at the University of Melbourne!! 🙂

  • Here’s a wise article.