This post is part of 30 Ways in 30 days to Redesign Your Life and Travel the World. This series seeks to give you the practical, real world steps you need to take to get from wherever you are, to exactly where you want to be– traveling the world and living the lifestyle you want.
For most travelers intending to return to the workforce, it won’t be possible to secure future employment before you leave. However, that’s not to say you should do nothing. If you’re planning on rejoining the 9-5 there are some things you can do now, to make your job search easier when you return.
Get personal with your coworkers. If you don’t already, try to get as many of your coworker’s personal emails (rather than just their work email). The benefit is that in a year or two when you return from traveling, those coworkers may have moved on too and you can still contact them. Keeping in touch with former coworkers is a great way to scope out potential jobs in your industry, especially as they move to new companies.
Update your resume now. Chances are the last time you updated your resume was when you got your current job. Now is the time to get it absolutely up-to-date. In a year from now it’ll be tough (if not impossible) to remember all of the details of your current projects. If you typically go after several types of jobs and tweak your resume to fit for each one, you might want to create detailed notes so you can do that when you return or write a few versions before you go. For instance you may go for a senior staff position if the pay is right, but you’d really like to be a the management level. You’ll need versions of your resume that show off your staff skills as well as your management skills.
Create or update your profile on the job boards. Should you have an active Monster account while you’re away? Absolutely. If you work in a field or at a level where headhunters will contact you, it’s a good way to have a base of contacts for when you return. If they email you, it’s okay to say, “Hey, I’m not looking now, but check in with me again in X months.” (If the emails are too much, you can set up a new gmail account for your job search and leave the emails unread until you return).
Create or update your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is a great tool for keeping in touch with everyone you know on the job front. It’s particularly useful for job search networking, because you can see where former coworkers are working just by checking their profile. Go ahead and connect LinkedIn with your work email before you leave, so that you can link to those people who are currently using the site. Some people get recommendations, but I think this can wait until you return and it’ll be a way to let people know you’re currently looking for work.
Get recommendations and the little details now. Depending on your career level, a written recommendation may help you get your next job. Or they may want to speak directly with those people you’ve worked with before. Most people remember to get recommendations before they leave, but also email yourself the numbers of your HR department, your employer’s address, the general phone line at your company, and your references’ phone numbers (and personal emails in case they change jobs). It may seem obvious now, but in a year you may have completely forgotten some of the routine details you take for granted now.
Say goodbye with grace and humility. I’ve known a few people who have quit dramatically, and believe me, your coworkers will never forget you if you announce your departure with, “See ya later, suckers!” as you flip your desk and run screaming out the door. A quiet exit, performed professionally, will buy you goodwill when you need it most: in your future job hunt. Today’s coworker could be tomorrow’s interviewing manager. Best to play nice.