The majority of people follow the same path through life. We go from elementary school to middle school to high school to college to career to retiring. I’m sure many of you are in the same position as me: finishing my senior year in college and embarking on the ever-daunting job hunt so that we’ll be secure with a job post-grad, basically following the cliché path.
After working hard for sixteen-plus years to get a job where we’ll have to work even harder to keep until we retire, do you ever wonder when it is you’ll get a break? A time where you can relax and enjoy what the world has to offer before settling down to a 9-5 job for the next 40 to 50 years?
I’ve always dreamed for a long vacation but it never really occurred to me how important it would be until recently. At my current internship, the other interns and I had the opportunity to sit down with the CEO for lunch and ask him any questions we had about the industry, his experience, advice, etc. When I asked him what makes a great candidate in a job search, his answer was someone who has traveled.
His reasoning was that hiring managers look for indispensable people. And indispensable people have indispensable knowledge, such as that you would gain from traveling to different parts of the world and learning the different cultures each place has to offer. Travelling can help open your eyes and expand your mind. Also, what better time to travel than when you are young and before you have any tight commitments.
You’ve probably heard that employers look down on any long breaks in your employment history. But this is your chance to explain that that time was not wasted. Use your travelling time to expand your knowledge on what it is you’re trying to find a career in.
If you’re getting into fashion, take note of the different fashion trends in each culture. If you’re going into marketing/advertising, observe the marketing strategies and different types of advertisements in a new city. If you want a career in technology, see what the new technological trends and advancements are being discovered in a different country. Taking away international experience in an industry you’re breaking into can provide you with leverage over other candidates.
The transitioning period between college and career is most ideal for those wanting to take a break and doing something worthwhile, and still have it be beneficial for the future. In the words of Robert Frost, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference".
This blog post was written by Khani Le, our Campus Ambassador from the University of Washington, Seattle.