Maybe you lost your mind a little bit. You went through an awful divorce and decided you needed to get in touch with your spiritual self. “Re-enacting Eat, Pray, Love” doesn’t exactly read as impressive on a resume.
You’re going to need another way to bridge that long gap. So how can you honestly frame travel as something that your employer should care about as a disruption in your work history? It depends on how you look at it.
Lay out the groundwork in your cover letter
You don’t want something long and painful like Aunt Susie’s vacation slides, when you mention what you’ve been up to in your cover letter, include a few sentences about your travels.
Spare them a novel – they don’t care that much. Just let them know that some of your pertinent experience comes from your travels, and leave the specifics for the instances you plan on mentioning later on in your resume.
All travel is not equal
Two weeks at Disney World is not the same as two months in India. When thinking about what travels you want to include, opt for the lengthy ones.
If you didn’t learn or do anything on a specific trip, that was just a vacation. “I go on vacation all the time” is not something you want to lead with, as it makes you seem flaky and less goal oriented. In order to list a travel experience, you need to have gained something from it.
Showcase what you did while you were gone
This is not the time to mention all of your favorite restaurants, or brag about how you ate authentic baba ganoush every day for a week.
Did you meet any influential people? Did you do any volunteer work while you were away? Maybe you picked up a small job, or learned a new language. Any skill you’ve acquired while you’re away still counts as a skill.
Call it a project
This counts especially for volunteering or working you did in a different country. Whether you set out to do it before you got there or not, whatever you did changed the purpose of your trip.
Teaching English to speakers of other languages or assisting in the development of a third world community to any capacity made your trip meaningful, and that helps it transcend the boundaries of travel, causing it to become more of a project.
Your blog might count
Everyone keeps a travel blog nowadays, and you’re probably no exception. If it’s not employer friendly, go in and clean it up. Any way you’ve documented your experience through regular updates, like the photos and text you posted while you were away, serves as a diary of your experience.
Actively maintaining a blog while you’re gone shows your commitment to organisation and attention to detail. Even if you weren’t really working while you were gone, you still have something to show for it.
Remember that there’s a difference between travelling and being irresponsible in a new location. Your drunken bender in Mexico doesn’t add anything to your credibility.
Make sure you have personal photos, videos, and posts about your travels that you don’t want your employer to see set to private. Nothing can ruin beautifully framed travel on a resume quicker than that photo of you drinking tequila out of a stranger’s bellybutton.