Recent college grads seeking work and travel jobs can often do so by finding employment with a multinational organization that has offices throughout the world. So instead of taking a year off to travel the world after college graduation, why not find a job that allows one to travel for work – and get paid for it, while gaining valuable professional and personal experience?
1. Work and travel jobs provide unique on-the-job experience.
Traveling for work, or as part of a job, is a great way to see the world, while building important professional and life skills that will benefit individuals throughout the rest of their career.
“Experience is the best teacher,” says Ilona Jurkiewicz, head of the Early Careers Program at Thomson Reuters, a multinational mass media and information firm. In her role with the Early Careers Program at Thomson Reuters, Jurkiewicz leads internal and external strategy for how Thomson Reuters will attract, assess, develop, engage, retain, and flow early career talent. This spans everything from interns and apprentices to MBAs and PhDs.
“You can read about business etiquette, cultural nuances in offices, or the pace of change in emerging markets all you want, but nothing beats seeing and feeling these things up front and center,” adds Jurkiewicz.
Related: How traveling abroad after college can help you land your first job
2. Want to climb the corporate career ladder? You’ll need international business experience.
Do you have aspirations to become a CEO (6 rules for women who want to become corporate leaders), or goals to someday earn a spot on the board of directors at a large, global organization? Then international business experience is a must. For many employers, access to the C-suite or senior level roles is prohibited for those who don’t have international or multinational experience.
“Corporations need individuals with a global mindset leading the way,” said Jurkiewicz. “Aside from a long or short term assignment sponsored by the company or moving to another company, travel is a great way to get this type of experience and skillset. This will undoubtedly provide lifelong experiences if you apply the skills you learn, and know how to talk about it.”
Additionally, many work and travel jobs tend to be client facing as the employee is often traveling to the site of the client. “This is also a fantastic double punch,” says Jurkiewicz. “Customer service experience is highly valued in every industry, and it’s helpful to get that earlier on. The more you understand a customer and how to serve them, the more likely you will make smart and insight driven business decisions.”
Developing a strong understanding of how to do business across cultures, along with learning foreign language skills, is essential to international business success. Traveling to different countries can help build those all-important business and interpersonal skills to work with different business professionals/leaders in different countries. Doing it now, out of college, with less personal responsibilities (for most recent college grads), is the time to do it.
Watch: Why employers value recent college grads with foreign language skills
It’s not now or never, but in some cases, if it’s not now, it’s never.
“The older you get, the more responsibilities and roots you have,” says Jurkiewicz. “You buy a house and a car, and you have to figure out how to solve for that. Your partner has a job that doesn’t allow travel, so that becomes a factor you have to take into account. A pet requires constant home care and attention. Your parents begin aging and you worry about being closer. Earlier in your career, your life is less tethered and you are also likely more easy going and willing to forego the ‘perfect’ travel scenario because you want the opportunity more than all the fanfare that goes with it.”
3. Traveling for work builds international business and networking skills.
A job at a large, multinational company can provide recent college grads global work and travel job opportunities, whether it’s for business trips or projects, or permanent opportunities. A recent college grad could start in a U.S. branch of a multinational organization, and transfer to a global office at any point during their career. One example: A graduate of a United States public college got a job at a large financial services organization right after graduation. He spent a few years in the Minneapolis office of that firm, then transferred to a role in Russia, where he worked for five years before moving back to Minnesota for a different role with the same company. He met his wife at that job in Russia, and together they had two kids. He returned to Russia for a family vacation last summer. The experiences, personal and professional, are things he still talks about this day.
Many large organizations have internal programs in place for employees who want to transfer to roles across the world, which in turn, helps employees make a more seamless transition to a new country.
“Every colleague can be a potential partner or someone to help you assimilate into the location,” says Jurkiewicz. “You just need to be open to seeing them that way.”
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Multinational organizations also can provide access to global educational and training tools, either for business trips, or for permanent relocation. For example, Thomson Reuters subscribes to Culture Wizard, which allows employees to set up profiles of the employee’s home country and the country they are traveling to, to learn about the difference in culture, and business in those countries. “This helps professionals assimilate faster and avoid quirks or issues that can come up,” says Jurkiewicz.
International companies invest in language courses for employees, ranging from Rosetta Stone to apps like DuoLingo. Others provide soft skills training and training on how to communicate in different settings and cultures. That type of training is invaluable, especially early in one’s career, because those additional skill sets can help them become more valuable to the organization, and in turn, help earn a promotion, or take on new responsibilities sooner in one’s career.
4. Traveling for work develops important soft skills not taught in the classroom.
But you don’t have to be an aspiring CEO or board member to benefit from a job that allows you to see the world for work. Studies of large companies report that one of the skills most often missing in new hires is resilience, says Jurkiewicz. Traveling – and being challenged daily in a new environment – builds resiliency, because it forces recent college grads how to survive and thrive outside their comfort zones.
Traveling for work develops these additional soft skills, says Jurkiewicz:
- The ability to develop new relationships: “Individuals who have developed strong networking and relationship building and management skills, and nurture new contacts through travels will likely be more successful – both right now, and in future jobs and opportunities,” says Jurkiewicz.
- How to handle the unexpected: When you travel, you always have to be ready for the unknown. What if your luggage gets lost and you have a business meeting? What if your flight is delayed or you get re-routed? What if no one speaks English in the Airbnb you have booked? These are real world skills that require you to think on your feet and problem solve, and really enhances your ability to flex when the moment arises.
- Self-Discipline: Travel for work requires you to be disciplined in managing a lot at once, including your personal life back home, your work life, and of course you as a person while always being in changing circumstances. It forces you to adapt to new routines and to be disciplined in how you use your time and ensure you don’t just get stuck in travel mode.
- Long distance relationship: This may seem silly, but if you are in a long distance relationship and don’t need to be in one location all the time – then a job that requires a lot of travel is perfect. You never know, it might even lead you toward the location of your significant other.
- Air Miles: Many companies let you keep your own air miles, so that means a perk for you as you can use them for personal reasons!
5. Overseas work and travel jobs allows one to plan vacations around work trips
In the U.S., vacation time is often limited, especially for recent college grads. By having a job that requires travel, you can often add on personal days to explore that location or adjacent cities/sites. It’s a built in vacation once the work is done.
“This is a great way to maximize your time off and always feel like you have mini vacations or extended breaks,” says Jurkiewicz.
It’s important to remember that not all work travel is glamorous, says Jurkiewicz.
“Your personal relationships can really suffer from a lack of face time and consistency,” she says. “Your health can also suffer. Being on the road means not being able to control what you eat, or how you exercise, and the days can be long. You can also really suffer from jet lag which seems okay when the adrenaline is pumping, but you can crash very hard. It takes a lot of work to ensure you are able to take care of yourself while always on the road.”
Traveling to other countries for work presents great opportunities for recent college grads. It can help develop professional skills that last a lifetime. And it can allow one to see parts of the world they may never have an opportunity to see if it wasn’t for that job. Recent college grads, now is the time to consider a job that allows you to travel for work. Use these tips to find success, and work and travel job that propels you to career success.
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