This week, we have some expert advice from Chad Paulsen, a Chicago-based IT Recruiter. Originally from Milwaukee, he made the move to Chicago for a new challenge and to work with more reputable companies. Check out what he has to say about the impact of travel on getting hired!
* * * *
What do you do as a recruiter?
I am an IT Recruiter who supports medium to fortune 100 sized organizations across the country. Currently I work with the largest IT solutions provider in the country. I recruit for everything from software development to data center professionals.
In your opinion, is it harmful for young professionals to take 3-12 months off to travel, work, study or volunteer abroad?
I don’t think it’s a huge risk for a young professional to decide to travel, work, study or volunteer abroad. I think it’s a great way to set yourself apart from other candidates and to better prepare yourself for the workforce. Most employers find it impressive and it shows your versatility. I have also read many articles about the benefits of traveling to recharge the battery, regain lost confidence, tap into your creativity and to prepare yourself to commit to a long term career without regrets.
For those already working, what should they consider before quitting their job to travel for an extended period of time?
First and foremost, speak with you current employer and see if there is a chance of returning after travel. Some companies will allow this depending on the length of travel. Make sure that you network and align yourself with professionals that can benefit you upon your return. Networking is the best way to find the best roles with the best companies. Some companies won’t even post their roles online for the public. It’s true what they say, “It is who you know.”
For recent college graduates, should they take 3-12 months off to travel BEFORE or AFTER starting their first job?
I would highly recommend before. It is the best time to get that travel bug out of you. If you have a desire to travel it will only get more difficult to plan once you start your career. Unless you are willing to really push yourself it will never feel like the right time. But you have less responsibilities and less risk your first year out of school.
What’s the best way for job hunters to showcase their global experiences on a resume/in a cover letter?
This is actually a little more difficult to decide. It depends on how many years of experience you have. If you are more senior I would keep it at the bottom of the resume as a subject to set yourself apart from others. If you recently took the time off I would add the experience within the break in your resume. A Recruiter will always ask about a break in your resume, so adding it in explains the reason for the gap in your work history and helps to avoid the awkward question. It will also prevent a Recruiter from passing on a resume since now they won’t assume that you just couldn’t find work. If you are entry level keep it at top to immediately catch the eye of the Recruiter.
What else would you like our readers to know?
As a recruiter, I would highly recommend traveling abroad for your spirit and professional life. You will have lifelong stories, friends and memories from traveling. It is a conversational topic that will help you break the ice with some of the hardest employers. Everyone loves to hear about the world through the eyes of the traveler.
Chad Paulsen is a Chicago-based IT Recruiter who studied abroad in Seville, Spain while in college. During is time in Spain, he also traveled to 5 other countries. He credits his travels for opening up his mind and giving him the confidence to take risks. His biggest takeaway from that experience was that while the world is not perfect, and no matter what the problem is, there is always a solution.