If you want to get a top graduate job take more holidays

Jun 29, 2015

Why travelling increases your job prospects

Most graduates underestimate how much their choice of holiday destination can influence their ability to get a top job in London. Yet bagging mileage is a bonus if you are looking for a career in an elite profession like accountancy, law or banking as recruiters at these types of firms need graduates with some awareness of global culture. One of the easiest ways to find out if you’ve got that awareness to look for evidence of travel on your CV.

Graduate recruiters at top companies are not looking for just any old holiday soaking up the sun on some tropical beach in the Caribbean (though that can be a part of it) but where you have travelled, why you travelled and what you did while there. Ideally recruiters will be looking at whether you have worked abroad or taken part in some other adventure, challenge or life experience.

Gap year travel and getting a top graduate job

Lots of young people choose to travel by taking a gap year, an experience once preserved for the privately educated and affluent but becoming increasingly more popular with graduates from a range of backgrounds. Although most simply see gap year travelling as an opportunity to take a break from their studies your forward-thinking graduate will see the benefits to their career prospects. The skills and experience gained while travelling or working abroad are often those employers say most graduates lack – life skills, cultural awareness; resilience, adaptability and confidence.

Why travelling makes you more desirable to employers

Graduates who have travelled or worked abroad often say it developed them as a person, exposed them to new ways of thinking and working and made them more confident. They say working abroad enabled them to learn a new language or strengthen existing foreign language skills.

Gap-year.com lists opportunities like building a school in Nicaragua, learning Portuguese in Lisbon, working with elephants South Africa and taking work experience in Australia. Imagine having these types of experiences listed on your CV!

In our recent article on how to pass the posh test to get a top graduate job in accountancy, law or banking we mentioned travel and exposure to different cultures as one of the desirables these types of firms look for. One interviewer at a top law firm said he looks at where candidates go on holiday as a gauge to what type of personality they have.

The experience you gain through travelling is wide and varied but will show employers how adventurous you are, whether you are the type of person who likes to take risks and is confident to try new things.

Graduates who’ve worked abroad are better prepared to compete

Being placed in a foreign environment with people who have a different culture, language and life outlook from your own requires you to adapt and develop a sense of awareness and respect for differences. Working in another country exposes you to that culture and its people in a way that holidaying in a hotel does not: you will widen your knowledge of the people, the language and the local and surrounding regions. Placing such information on your CV could be attractive especially if the prospective employer has business interests in the country you’ve travelled to and worked in.

Besides the benefits of travelling and widening your cultural and geographical awareness you will of course also gain from the opportunity to work. Jobs such as teaching English language skills to children or adults, working as an au pair or nanny, fruit-picking or interpreting can all help you to gain the experience you need to get the job you want.

These days, with competition for top jobs so fierce, graduates need to think outside of the box and find ways to gain the experience they need to stand out and get a top graduate job. Travelling is one way you can do this even if you didn’t go to a top university or school.

If you think you could do with some support to get a top job in accountancy, law or banking speak to us at Graduate Coach.

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