Getting away this summer? How travelling can enhance your CV

As the summer break is almost upon us, many of you may be planning to get away for the holidays. If you’re planning to travel abroad for a substantial period (anything from a month upwards) you may be worried about the gap it will leave on your CV. But, depending on what you get up to while you’re away you can use your experiences to demonstrate skills necessary for the workplace.

If you don’t have any previous work experience and are finding it hard to get any in the UK, applying for jobs abroad (for the part or the entire length of your trip) could help you have a greater chance when you return. Why not plan a trip where employment is incorporated within? For example; teaching English as a foreign language or working in a summer camp.

Some things you can do while you’re away:

  • Work (Part time)- Working in a bar or restaurant abroad may not seem a world away from jobs you can get in the UK. But, they have the added bonus of enabling you to earn money as you travel.
  • Intern- There are a number of organisations which recruit for interns in their international offices. You can also register with an overseas internship providers.
  • Volunteer- This is particularly useful for those considering a career in international development, NGOs or charity work. There are very few placements with employers that will send you abroad if you’re an inexperienced student or recent graduate. Organising a volunteering trip with an overseas volunteering provider is a way to get experience.
  • Teach- Teaching English as a foreign language is probably the most accessible way to teach professionally abroad. But, if you’re interested in more arts based topics, choosing to work at a summer camp instead of a school can offer a varied programme.

Going abroad for the summer can be a good way to give yourself a break, especially if you’ve found the exam period exhausting. But, you can come back with more than a tan and a few souvenirs. If you’re going to a country where they speak another language you can use the opportunity to advance your language skills.

Some skills and qualities you can develop while you’re away:

  • Independence/decision making- Travelling alone is a great show of independence and an indication that you are comfortable in unfamiliar situations. Two qualities which are attractive to employers.
  • Language skills- Foreign language skills are increasingly sought after by employers. Practicing your language skills in the native country is in an invaluable experience and will really help you to improve.
  • Communication skills- Whether you’re working in an office, bar or classroom communication is key. Even if you’re in a country where English is the main language or widely spoken you will still need to overcome cultural barriers.
  • Cultural awareness- Whether you intend to work for a global business or a niche local one, the diversity of the UK and the increasing importance of international links means that this quality will help you to stand out.
  • And more!

Just because you’re not in a formal working environment this doesn’t mean that you’re not expanding your skill set. If you go away for any period from a month onwards you will be learning new skills and applying them as you travel.

How to incorporate this on your CV:

  • Don’t just simply put, ‘Travelled for two months across America’. Think more specifically about what you did and how that could help you in the workplace. .
  • Each activity you undertake whether it’s teaching or bartending, lifeguarding or working in a health clinic can be used as a platform for you to demonstrate specific skills on your CV.

Useful Sites

Need more advice on how to present travelling on your CV or what kinds of activities you should undertake? Why not book an appointment with a careers consultant by calling us on 020 7882 8533 or visit us in Queens’ WG3.

NB Many overseas volunteering and internship providers require you to either fundraise to fund part or the entire cost of your placement.


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