Travel's not just for vacations anymore
Job seekers find that globetrotting may lead to exciting employment opportunities.
Travel is seen by many as an "extra" – something you do when you have the time or money to enrich yourself. But in an increasingly globalized world, knowledge of countries other than your own is seen as an asset by many potential employers.
This need for international experience dovetails nicely with many graduates passion for travel.
Rebecca Holland studied abroad in college, and after graduation spent nine months backpacking around the world, including Asia. "When I returned and was applying for international-related jobs, travel was an asset at every interview," Holland says. She got her first job at Eniware Sterile, where she says, "My experience in a developing country was essential for the role, as the company provided medical instrument sterilization to countries in Africa and South Asia." The twentysomething is now a Chicago-based writer and communications consultant for the International Development Law Organization.
For some, travel is a gateway a job – and a new home. After four years working for Russell Simmons' Global Grind, 26-year-old Rachel Steinman was feeling like her Manhattan-based life was getting monotonous. "After traveling briefly to Israel last spring, my eyes were opened to all the things I wasn’t experiencing, but could be," she says. So Steinman started looking for a challenge to "shake her life up." She found it in an internship at Glide, a Jerusalem-based tech company. She planned on returning to New York in December, but she ended up loving it so much that she decided to stay.
Glide offered her a full-time job as the social and creative director for the popular video messenger app. "The fact that she’s a Millennial who traveled and brought knowledge of the U.S. market with her was extremely important to us,” says Chaim Haas, head of communications at Glide.
Amy Robertson, now a freelance travel writer in her early 40s, spent six weeks post-college traveling to India and other nearby countries – and it paid off pretty much immediately. She landed her first job at a consulting firm that gathered data on the cost of living in various countries around the world. Part of the job included travel to collect that data.
And of course, travel experience is certainly a huge asset when it comes to working in the travel industry – or any business related to it. Lilit Marcus is now an editor at Conde Nast Traveler, and she uses skills there that she honed when she spent three months in London working at European magazine Metropolitan. There she was able to polish her French-speaking skills, since the magazine publishes in both English and French. "We may be based in New York City, but it's a global brand with global reach," says Marcus, who is in her early 30s. "France is a destination we cover a lot, and as one of the few proficient French speakers I bring an important skill to the table. Just last week we had a fact-checking issue about the price of an item at a bakery in Paris, and I was able to call, confirm and get it resolved in five minutes."
Even if your globetrotting ways don't get you a job outright, they can't hurt. "I wouldn't say that my travels necessarily landed me a job, but being able to talk about backpacking solo across a continent for several months was a great talking point in interviews," says 27-year-old Rachel Kossman, editor at DAYSPA magazine.
So the next time you're traveling, stay engaged and keep your ears and eyes open – you never know when the experience will come in handy.
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