Almost Fearless

Getting a Job When You Return: Day 29 of 30w30d

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.


30 ways in 30 days, real world, getting a job, return home, travel around the world

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.

Pic:Photomish Dan

Christine Gilbert

I’ve been dragging my husband around the world since 2008 always with the promise that, “Yes, Drew there will definitely be hammocks there.”



  • I reckon it must be one of the hardest things to come back from traveling around the world to be stuck in a cubicle again. I couldn’t do it. Since I’ve been overseas for the past eight years, I’ve come to value freedom. When I go back, I wouldn’t be able to cope with having a boss and forced to work a 9-5 five day workweek. I am now working on setting up my online business so that when I go back, I can be independent and work from home.

    Thanks for the post.
    .-= Gordie Rogers´s last blog ..Is There Anything That’s Unforgivable? Part 1. =-.

  • Something that I’ve heard so many times is that having this big gaping hole in your resume will sink you. On the contrary, when I got back from working/hanging out in Europe for 9 months I easily found a job in the field that (i thought) I was interested in. During the interview I used experiences and skills I learned while traveling to impress my now boss with my determination, ingenuity and problem solving skills. I think that as long as you can show future employers why travel has made you a better person (and that you weren’t just bumming around on a beach), the experience should only enhance your resume.
    .-= Stephanie´s last blog ..How to Enjoy a Weekend in New York City =-.

  • Long-term independent travel basically ruined me for any traditional job. I just can’t wrap my head around the idea of what society puts “value”om because it no longer represents anything I value. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not complaining. I like my new view and see it as an opportunity to create something of value. It just won’t happen with any kind of traditional employment.
    .-= Barbara @ Hole In The Donut Travels´s last blog ..Amazon Reveals New Kindle – Perfect for Travelers =-.

  • “Should you have an active Monster account while you’re away? Absolutely. ”

    I disagree. I think this is a line that should be cut clean. There are plenty of ways to stay in touch with former coworkers like you mentioned. I can’t fathom the reminder or thought of wanting to stay connected to your pre-crazy awesome travel life from this angle. Then again, it took me a good 7 years to update my resume. The challenge now is that I have no desire to work for anyone but myself. 🙂

    “Long-term independent travel basically ruined me for any traditional job. I just can’t wrap my head around the idea of what society puts “value”om because it no longer represents anything I value.” – Barbara in comments

    I couldn’t agree more, just not sure how I can turn my passion for travel blogging into a career before my parent’s kick me out or sell their house!
    .-= Dave´s last blog ..Friday Flashback – Sikkim Adventures =-.

  • I returned from travelling and am looking for my first ‘proper’ job post-uni…. and all I can do is keep wishing I was still abroad, travelling the world and experiencing new places and meeting new people.

    Probably as soon as I have the money saved up I’ll undertake another round-the-world adventure!
    .-= jen´s last blog ..+ TOKYO, JAPAN – Dream Destination =-.

  • I think it’s very important to update your resume and reach out to your network to let them know what your plans are before your travels. You may find that when you return you won’t want to return to a traditional job, but unfortunately not everyone will be able to make a living off of their travel blogs.

    So it’s still important to stay connected with those you’ve worked with in the past, as they may still be able to help you transition into a new or different career path. That’s exactly what my husband did when we took our career break. In just a matter of months after our return he found a new job that got him back on track with his career goals – something he would not have achieved without taking the break.
    .-= Michaela Potter´s last blog ..Manali & Terry – Adjusting to Life on the Road =-.

  • I have found that traveling jumbles my career goals. It makes me uncertain of what I want to do with my future life. I know I love design (graphic design and strategic branding), but I don’t know what angle I want to take with my career: go back to being a designer at a big branding firm? be a design manager in the corporate world with big brands and big projects? go into a communications role where strategy is more of a focus? work at a small design studio where I will wear multiple hats? start my own business? go into a more human factors research role? the list could continue and is too long. I have no clue how I will figure it out.

    I am confident I can find a job when I return home one day, but knowing which job to go after is a whole other story.
    .-= Pond Jumpers: Croatia´s last blog ..we just have to laugh (if we aren’t crying) =-.

  • The best way to solve this problem is to NOT return.
    My husband just returned to his home country after 10 years of traveling around the world (and working along the way) and finding a job here has proven almost impossible. So impossible in fact, that we are seriously considering setting off again next year after my contract is over.
    .-= AnnaI´s last blog ..Kanuma Buttsuke Autumn Festival part 1 =-.

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