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?