This is a guest post by Milleigh about how to combine professional development with traveling. Since I don’t have any experience with this topic, I thought it would be a great idea to get someone who does to share this valuable information with you! I certainly learned a few new things. Enjoy!
How many times have you caught yourself at work daydreaming about a vacation to a pristine island, sharing a beer with locals, and getting away from the constant pressures of the fast-paced world of business? Believe it or not, you can get away from it all without hurting your career. In fact, some people are even convincing their bosses to foot the bill for their travel and professional development through responsible volunteering. How? Check out these tips for getting the best of both worlds.
Volunteer Your Skills Abroad
One of the best ways to truly experience a culture and give back to the area you’re visiting is to volunteer. Instead of volunteering your time to do something generic without a large impact, like building a well or teaching English, use this as an opportunity to strengthen your professional resume and volunteer something that is infinitely more valuable: your skills.
You can find skills-based volunteering opportunities by connecting directly to organizations you admire and trust abroad or by using a service like MovingWorlds save you time. MovingWorlds pairs skilled professionals, like you, with organizations that are making real change in their area. These Experteers (expert volunteers) use their skills to help accelerate social enterprises and nonprofits’ mission thus expanding the scope of their impact. And, of course, you’ll develop your resume while seeing the world. One cool thing about MovingWorlds, if you want to save time and have money to blow, is their custom-matching option. They’ll work with you to create customized volunteering projects that align with your career goals.
Learn the Language
Though it is unlikely that you’ll be fluent in the country you choose to travel to, a little bit of effort goes a long way. Use your skills-based volunteering experience to immerse yourself in the local language. Don’t just stick to other foreigners or expats. Mingle, network, and make lasting connections with your host organization and their community. Not only will knowing at least one other language make you a competitive candidate in this highly connected business world, the connections you can be a huge asset when you’re job hunting.
Build a Network of Like-minded Professionals & Travelers
What’s an amazing experience without someone to share it with? Traveling is an excellent opportunity to expand your network. This will only help you make more connections and form more partnerships when you return to reality. A great way to connect with like-minded professionals is through a new program called Impact Teams. An Impact Team allows you to join a cohort of volunteers, share your challenges and find support during your volunteering experience, learn about the area, and grow together. Each team is united based on a common cause, skill, or industry. Three teams are open now: a team focused on business strategy, one on gender equality, and one on the healthcare industry. The teams also come with structured networking support and mentorship opportunities to make the most of your travel experience. Applications close on August 16th, so apply now!
Start a Travel Blog & Build a Portfolio
Starting a blog is a great way to improve your communication skills, shows commitment and discipline, and can also serve as a portfolio for your writing and photography. As a kind of a capstone project to your experience, it can be a great addition to your resume and give employers a better idea of who you are, your passions, your work ethics, your problem-solving process and more. Check out some of these great blogs from Experteers to learn about their experiences, get inspiration, and gather some advice for your own trip.
Market Your New Skills
After you’ve had these incredible experiences, learning how to talk about them is extremely important. Frame your time abroad as intentional volunteering and a skill-building experience as opposed to time spent aimlessly traveling. Rather than focusing on soft skills, translate your experiences into hard skills, such as budgeting, planning logistics, and communication. Let your travel stories shine in your cover letter and interview, and they’re sure to set you apart in any job search.
It’s easy to fuel your travel experience with purpose and use it as an opportunity to develop your resume. Truly, a perfect vacation that develops your professional experience and boosts your resume is just a few steps away. Are you ready for it?
Petra is currently a public relations intern at MovingWorlds, specializing in economic development and social impact marketing. Join other socially-minded professional wanting to boost their resume – become part of our Impact Team. 1st round of applications due August 16, 2017.