How Traveling Can Help Your Career

27 10 2015

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‘Travel’ is often cited as a top interest everywhere from dating sites to professional resumes, but how often have you heard others say “I’d love to travel, but I just can’t”? While there are many legitimate reasons to postpone travel, too many of us put it off for being less important, less productive than work and traditional routines for furthering your career.

This couldn’t be further from the truth: planned correctly, travel can be everything from the break you need to see the big picture clearly to the spark that lights a life-changing fire — and it all revolves around what you allow yourself learn and do.

It helps you learn and grow as a person

Learning a language is one of the most valuable growth experiences that can come from travel, even if not particularly extended. Immersion in a language is the most effective way to learn it given your constant need to resort to and develop those skills. How much knowing a language shapes your thoughts may be arguable, but the benefits are not.

Multilingual people move around more easily in a globalized world, both personally and professionally. They have the potential to be better communicators, not only in the direct use of the language, but also because of increased ability to navigate language barriers — you learn how to parse out the gist from foreign speech the more you practice.

The logistics involved in planning and executing any kind of trip also involve great practical life skills that showcase your capabilities —

Organization to prepare everything beforehand, multiplied in value by the amount of people considered, the destinations visited, modes of travel employed… Knowing how to make things happen is applicable to any career, while budgeting everything correctly and making it back successfully helps you hone your financial planning while showing you have it.

Not often mentioned is the value of patience, and how much about it you learn during travel. Waiting for your transportation to depart, travel, arrive. Time spent understanding how to maneuver your surroundings. Patience when communication barriers frustrate and undermine your plans. Patience when other lifestyles don’t meet your preferred pace, be it faster or slower. Whether you’re working in an office or for yourself, your interactions with people will always require, and benefit from, patience.

Perhaps the most fundamental aspect of your learning as a traveler is that you are a stranger in a strange land. Exposure to different cultures puts yours into perspective — from small things, like realizing how daily habits you may take for granted are completely different elsewhere, to deeper truths, like the common traits that bind us across backgrounds.

The contribution this cross-cultural experience can have is difficult to both overstate and quantify. The more you understand people, the better you can relate, communicate and do business with them. You learn a humility that comes from knowing others believe and live completely differently from you. In a completely connected global economy, the ability to place yourself in others’ shoes becomes the backbone of your interactions, whether you’re marketing a product or yourself.

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And you’ll do a lot of useful things…

Beyond your general learning and wanderlust satisfaction, there are plenty of experiences to focus your travel time into a great tool for personal and professional growth.

Seasonal jobs abound if you know where to look. Some migrate in order to pursue the most rewarding opportunities that only require part of their time, while others get more adventurous and immersed in local jobs and activities. Temporary jobs can help uncertain travelers find their calling, while finding jobs with relatable experience to your field is a great way to both finance your trip and continue investing in your chosen career path.

Volunteering is also a legitimate way for many to travel for free, satisfying the urge to see the world, give back, and try something new at the same time. Joining organizations that pay for your travel in exchange for your services is a sure way to get a rich, yet affordable experience out of it — and volunteer work could be the standout difference in comparing your resume to someone else’s.

There is also, of course, the unpredictable nature of the connections you’ll make, different people with new opportunities you could have never foreseen. You never know when there will be an opportunity for a new job, business venture, collaborative project… Maybe it’ll that conversation you strike up with a future business partner while waiting on a train platform, or a friend of a mutual friend showing you around town. The sheer amount of people you meet during travel stacks the odds in your favor, so be social.

So… how do you do it?

There are as many answers to that as there are career paths. If you’re a student, consider taking advantage of that status to gain work experience on a budget while getting to travel. Maybe it’s just a short vacation away from the office — combine business and pleasure with a scenic road trip to meet and network with old and new connections.

Or maybe the urge is stronger than that  — if you can tailor your lifestyle to be nomadic through remote work or otherwise, why not move with the seasons and escape the winter?

And if all this conversation has you thinking of making a more permanent change to your lifestyle, one that allows for all this travel, there are plenty of ways to do so, limited only by your flexibility and willingness to take that leap.

Happy travels!

****For this unique post that has us experiencing wanderlust, Campus to Career thanks Kacey Mya!!****

Kacey Mya HeadshotAbout: Kacey Mya Bradley is a lifestyle blogger for “The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style throughout the influence of culture and the world around us.  Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations, cultures, and styles, while communicating these endeavors through her passion for writing and expression. Her love for the world around her is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Find her on Twitter (@kaceymya) and Pinterest.





5 Ways to Boost Your Appeal to Employers

21 10 2015

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There’s an incredible amount of information out there about how to improve prospects in job interviews, and by now you’ve probably heard all the tips: dress sharp, make eye contact, be ready to ask questions about the company or specific opportunity, etc. But as any young person seeking employment knows, there’s a lot more than an interview and a resume that goes into the hiring process. Job candidates are researched and scrutinized more today than ever before, and that makes it necessary for you to boost your appeal however possible.

Here are a few strategies to consider, not just when heading into an interview but when approaching a job search process in general.

1. Do A Background Check On Yourself

Most of us are at least in the habit of understanding how we’re portrayed online and things of that nature, but a lot of companies will do full background checks on any potential hires. That means it can’t hurt to dig a little deeper. Writing for Discover Corrections, Jennifer L addressed this process in detail, opining that those looking to become more desirable to possible employers should look into any past criminal or driving records, do whatever possible to improve credit scores, and of course, make sure any social media presence is clean. And don’t forget to Google yourself to see what comes up! This is sometimes the first step for an employer.

2. Maintain A Blog Or Website

It doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking, and frankly it doesn’t matter too much what it’s about. But having a website or blog to your name—so long as it’s clean, attractive, and in interesting in some manner—can give you a new dimension beyond your resume. The site doesn’t have to be relevant to the career opportunity; if it’s well done, it will give employers a sense of your professionalism.

3. Have A Sense Of Humility

It may sound counterintuitive, but being able to understand and speak about your failures or shortcomings can go a long way. In a different context, this is a point that’s emphasized thoroughly by Alice van Harten of Menlo Coaching, who assists prospective MBA students with their applications. The program stresses the importance of honest assessment of (as opposed to the glossing over of) failures in application essay responses, and the same point is relevant to any job application down the road. Employers are used to seeing people with impressive resumes talking up their good qualities. But you’ll also need to be prepared to humbly and constructively address any shortcomings that might come up.

4. Don’t Stop Learning

You can find a class on anything these days, whether it’s a strictly online program or a college course available remotely. Enrolling in such a course or program shows serious initiative. If at any point during the hiring process you can demonstrate that you’re still advancing your education even after earning a degree, you’re sure to come across as a driven, goal-oriented individual. And it’s a bonus if the additional education you seek is relevant to the career opportunity!

5. Pick Up Some New Hobbies

Lisa Chatroop of Good.co made an interesting point when she wrote a blog post about hobbies for boosting employability. She argued that many companies today are using hobbies and extracurricular interests as indications of personality and culture fit. You shouldn’t go picking up any old activity that you don’t even enjoy, of course, but this is an interesting idea to keep in mind as you conduct your job searches.

****For this unique guest post, Campus to Career thanks Sara Upton!!****





6 Ways to Promote Yourself Without Bumbling, Bragging, or Being a Jerk

8 10 2015

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Google “self-promotion” and up come the haters.

In a flash, you’ll see countless negative articles. From “Why Self-Promotion Is a Terrible Idea” to “The Braggart’s Dilemma” to “Please Shut Up,” there’s no shortage of spewing.

Here’s the problem: In today’s intensely competitive, hyper-social work world, self-promotion is no longer just a professional responsibility. It’s a career survival skill.

Employers must know your real value. Otherwise you’ll find yourself on the losing end professionally. You won’t get the job, the raise, the promotion, the respect and recognition you deserve.

Your career success depends on your ability to promote yourself correctly. Yet many people have a blatant inability to properly express their value to higher-ups and hiring managers.

Here are six ways to do self-promotion right.

  1. Don’t assume that your boss knows exactly what you do.

Whether you work six feet or 6,000 miles away from your boss, it’s unlikely he has more than a general idea about what you do beyond the minimum he expects. He probably has countless other responsibilities than his direct reports, and is increasingly stretched too thin.

And you think he knows exactly what you do? Not a chance. It’s up to you to actively promote yourself.

  1. Embrace the difference between articulating your value and bragging. 

As a kid, you were likely taught that modesty is the best policy. Better to let others discover your greatness on their own.

The problem is, in all probability, they won’t. Besides, when done properly, self-promotion is not bragging. It is informing.

    3. Adopt an accomplishment mindset and narrative.

In any workplace, you’re seen first as a commodity, not a person. Accordingly, you need an inventory of your on-the-job accomplishments—the things that express your commercial value to the business. Be able to roll those things off your tongue anytime, anywhere, to anyone.

  1. Quantify your worth.

You were hired because someone believed that you’d produce more value for the company than you’d cost.

Consider, for instance, a payroll clerk I once worked with. In the first run he ever did at XYZ Company, he cut 6,000 paychecks alone, on time, with zero returns. Think of the cost savings created by an error-free check run of that size.

  1. Source and shape your success stories.

Unless you are just starting out or have a superhuman memory, you’ll need to do some heavy lifting to track down your past accomplishments—end results, problems solved, projects completed on time and on budget, and so forth.

To begin, look at old resumes, business planners, performance reviews, and journals. Then reach out to family, friends, managers, co-workers, customers, etc. To bypass generic responses, you must do this by phone. No email. No exceptions.

  1. Master the three-part accomplishment statement.

Your accomplishments must be crafted into a single three-part statement with a distinct beginning, middle, and end.

You’ll convey what you did, what that resulted in, and the value or net result. For example: “Created a digital filing system that resulted in 300 man hours saved per week, enabling the company to save $6 million annually.”

****For this great post, Campus to Career thanks Rick Gillis!!****

About the author: Rick Gillis is a nationally recognized careers expert and employment coach specializing in trends and technologies in the modern job search. A onetime workplace radio and TV host, he is a sought-after keynote speaker and the author of five books. His new book is Promote! It’s Who Knows What You Know That Makes a Career (CreateSpace). Visit rickgillis.com.