"I'll never forget this moment."
May 18, 2015
A large number of college grads are choosing to put their careers on hold to see the world and give back. Teach for America, the Peace Corps, teaching abroad, and many other opportunities are enticing Millennials to give of themselves before they make for themselves. How can these people who choose to see the world before they start their career get on track when the time is right?
Are you behind everyone else?
While it’s true that you’re behind the game in comparison to some of your classmates, having an experience like the Peace Corps or teaching abroad will give you something they won’t have.
As Nell from Pitney Bowes put it, “That experience will benefit you’re for the rest of your life! I do not think that this is hurting your chances. I believe this experience will greatly help you.”
It will be necessary as you craft your resume to highlight why you chose to take the path that you did, which means you’ll also need to be able to talk about it at length during your interview. As Nell said though, this experience is valued at most companies and will be seen as a plus, not a negative.
What’s the best way to get a job after coming home?
Whether you’ve just been in a different part of the country or across the globe, chances are your professional network has suffered a little in your time away. Go ahead and make a concerted effort to reestablish connections, and ask for introductions to other individuals through your well developed network. It’s also worth noting that you should be ready to apply to a lot of jobs openings each day.
Sara from Textron said this, “Depending on how competitive the market is where you are looking, 15-20 applications [a day] may not be enough to get you seen. You need to apply regularly as roles that you are interested in become available and customize each cover letter [and resume] to the unique company and position.”
The unfortunate reality is, it may take more time than you want it to. Those internships you had were a few years ago, and the job landscape has changed. You’re going to have to hustle every day for a long time, but it will be worth it in the end.
How do I show my experiences to be a strength?
Taking a position in an organization like Teach For America, or the Peace Corps will certainly stretch you personally and professionally. There is no classroom in the country that can prepare you for living abroad or working with people who are in a great deal of need. On your resume it will be important for you to highlight how the experience stretched you, how you learned from it, and most importantly how your experience will translate to some expertise in your desired career path.
Seeing the world while giving back can be exciting and personally fulfilling. It’s wise to keep your network growing while you’re away, and if you don’t grow your network while you’re away make it a top priority when you return. Be ready to apply for a vast number of jobs when you get home, and make sure you highlight the valuable skills you’ve gathered through your experience.