Keeping your employment prospects while vagabonding

I have one more piece of advice to share from the Q&A. The question comes from David Kliman of Canada, who writes:

“Your book has inspired me greatly. After reading your book, my fiance and I went to Asia. We taught English in Korea for 9 months, and then traveled another 8 countries. It was amazing. We want to go away again and see a different part of the world, but there always seems to be one thing nagging us: our careers. We are both graduates in technical fields. We feel that if we don’t get and keep jobs in our fields we may be unhireable in a year or two when when we decide that settling down a bit is the thing to do. Employers may feel that we are not serious about being career-minded people, and I fear we will have a difficult time finding work when we get back. Any advice?”

This is what I told him:

“I’m glad to hear that my book was an inspiration, and that you and your fiance were able to travel Asia — a region I know and love well. I wish you many more enriching adventures! As for your question, it certainly is a common and valid one — and perhaps there is no universal answer. My best advice would be to side-step the “resume-gap” issue by presenting your travel expriences right there on your resume. You say you’re in a technical field, right? So I would just strategically write your resume so that any relevant “technical” experiences you encountered on the road — from helping in internet cafes, to teaching and volunteering in your discipline, to actually working overseas tech jobs — appear as part of your work history. This might require a slight bit of embellishment on one hand, but on the other hand you should be able to design your travels so that tech experience is a part of it. Granted, I don’t know what kind of technical work you do, but it isn’t that hard to seek out colleagues in your field as you travel overseas, and/or volunteer your tech skills in certain situations. Even if it isn’t a full-time pursuit as you travel, you can present it on your resume in such a way that it fills that employment “gap”. Some of your friends from professional and volunteer situations overseas might even write you letters of recommendation!

“Again, I don’t know exactly what you do in the tech field, but I’d say that creative resume presentation of your travels can go a long way. Another option, should travel be a big priority, would be to shift your career to something more portable, such as teaching (which it seems you have already done) or health care or hospitality. Overseas working and volunteer opportunities abound in these sorts of fields.”

Posted by | Comments (1)  | September 22, 2004
Category: Vagabonding Advice

One Response to “Keeping your employment prospects while vagabonding”

  1. Matt Says:

    Just had to laugh . . . any discussion I ever have or article I read related to resume writing always uses the word “embellish.” It’s like peanut butter and jelly, they just go together.