Many of us live in wonderful places with wonderful people and wonderful offerings, but the offerings of one place might differ completely from the offerings of another. Given variations in location, climate, common demographics, community size, popular activities in the area or other aspects, many locations throughout the country and the world have different and wonderful things to offer.

When it comes to building a workforce, diversity is essential. Diversity strengthens organizations, as different employees bring varying characteristics and talents to the table.

Travel Experiences Are Useful in Developing Skills

  • Travelers like to learn AND are often good at it. A desire to travel is really a desire to take in new information. Home and normality do not offer the same learning and information-collecting experiences as adventures in faraway places. This thirst for knowledge and new information sends travelers into the world to collect information and experiences that will better them and those around them.
  • They play well with others but are also able to succeed independently. People who travel often have likely done so with others as well as by themselves. When traveling with others, they have to function as part of team while making plans and coordinating details. They know how to listen and tend to be more empathetic when dealing with fellow group members and with people, they encounter in their travels. When they travel by themselves, travelers are responsible for ensuring everything goes as planned, demonstrating their ability to function independently.
  • They can function as both leaders and followers. Depending on the groups they have traveled with, travelers often function as both a leader and a follower. They may more commonly fall into one group over the other, but they likely know when to step back or step forward as the situation demands.
  • They are creative (even if they don’t know it). Travelers often see things the rest of us may miss. They have discovered their own appreciation for scenery or history. They develop an eye for creative detail that manifests in their work. Travelers learn to think “outside-the-box” to solve problems.

What Frequent Travel Tells You About a Candidate

  • Travelers have a higher sense of self.  Travelers know who they are as individuals. They have been exposed to and have learned what they prefer and what they dislike. They have had their values challenged and been able to learn from people different than them. Similarly, they know their own strengths and weaknesses, as they have been tested throughout their travels; consequently, they are more likely to remain levelheaded in the face of a challenge or an emergency. Travelers often appear confident because even when they don’t feel assertive, they know how to exude self-assurance.
  • They aren’t stuck in their ways. Because they have been all over the place, travelers have had the chance to learn different ways to do things. They have seen different ways of life and have been able to recognize good ideas or adapt themselves.
  • They know how to keep a schedule. In almost every case, traveling requires a schedule. Travelers have flights to make, people to meet, hotels to check-in and out of and reservations to make. When a schedule is not kept, fees and additional costs can accrue quickly. When a traveler has to pay a fee, he or she loses money that could have been spent on other experiences.
  • They are go-getters. When travelers see what they want, they go for it. They are good negotiators because they have had an extensive practice to get the things they want.

Abilities Specific to Travelers

  • They don’t have a comfort zone. Traveling is fun, but it isn’t always comfortable. Situations and interactions can leave travelers feeling stretched out of their personal comfort zones. The more they deal with these situations outside their comfort zones, the more it begins to fall away, leaving travelers with the ability to face just about any uncomfortable situation head-on.
  • They welcome change and innovation. For many people, change is a scary thing. For a traveler, however, change offers a chance to learn and to experience. Consequently, travelers welcome change with open arms.
  • They are accepting of differences. Travelers interact with different people all the time. They have to be tolerant and accepting of others in order to be successful in their travels.
  • They don’t let their emotions rule. Travel often requires a level head for success. When something doesn’t go as planned, a traveler knows that an emotional outburst will accomplish nothing. Travelers know how to contain their fear, irritation, disappointment, or other emotion to get to where they need to be.
  • They are frugal. Travelers know that tourism isn’t free. They also want to continue to be able to travel. They know how to save money and stretch their dollar to ensure they will be able to continue their adventures.

The most important thing to know about travelers is that they are happier and know how to live in the moment. Others have noted that people who collect experiences are happier than those who collect things. Travelers are rich in experiences and relationships. They aren’t waiting for life to start, as they have already started it themselves. For an employer, travelers represent a huge benefit. All the qualities they bring to the table are shared with those around them. Travel experiences should be added to resumes, as the experiences affiliated with travel are often some of the most applicable to the average work environment. Consequently, hiring a traveler is a productive decision for any organization.

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, is an author, speaker, Human Resources professional, and workplace social media expert who has a passion for recruiting, training, and all things social media. She is the president and CEO of Xceptional HR, and a leader in the HR community with more than 12 years of industry experience. The author of Tweet This! Twitter for Business, Jessica was named by HR Examiner as the second most influential recruiter on the Internet and the seventh most powerful woman on Twitter. She is a columnist for both SmartBrief and The Huffington Post, in addition to Blogging4Jobs and Human Resources One on One. Jessica has been interviewed for professional articles in CIO Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, SHRM’s HR Magazine, and on CBS. Jessica earned a Senior Professional in Human Resources designation in 2008, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Business from Kansas State University. Originally from a small town in Kansas, Jessica currently lives near Oklahoma City with her husband, Greg and daughter, Ryleigh.

2 Comments

  • Avatar Lynda Martin says:

    In general, I agree with the idea behind this post, but you have to accept that there are different kind of travelers – those who are just observers and those who get involved in the culture of the place they are visiting. I think most of the qualities you’ve described apply to the latter. So don’t just go hiring travelers – think first about which type of traveler they are.

  • Avatar Fatima Ross says:

    Adding your travel experience to your resume is a very interesting idea, but I think most HRs aren’t ready for this. Seriously, how would you react when a candidate starts describing his travels when asked about his experience? You’d most probably think that the guy or gal does not even understand the question.

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