Cover Letter for the Purpose of Explaining Travel

When you're trying to get a job, it usually doesn't look good to have huge gaps in employment. That can signal to an employer that you're not serious about your career, that you're a job hopper, or that you've failed miserably at every company with which you've worked – among other horror scenarios. If you have some gaps in your resume due to travel, one way to handle it is to mention it in your cover letter.

Job Listing and Cover Letter

According to Zety, honesty is the best policy when it comes to a gap in your resume. You can't change the fact that you're going to have a big hole in your working timeline, but you can use the travel experience to your full advantage. A strong cover letter for traveling abroad starts off by doing a little research by reading over the job listing for the job you currently want. Look over the skills and traits the employer is looking for in the ideal candidate. Get creative and imagine whether any of those skills and traits can be thought to be "transferable" to the traveling world, or in other words, can be things you may have learned on the road.

Cover Letter: Transferable Skills

Some jobs are going to have more skills that may be honed from your travels. For example, a media company may be looking for someone who is able to work independently and be a self-starter; a retail business may be looking for someone who is good with foreign languages. A counselor may need to be adaptable. A banker may need to be a people person and able to handle prolonged stress. Every one of those skills or traits are things that can be learned through travel. If you're having trouble, have a friend or adviser look through the skills and traits with you and look for ways to make them translate to travel.

Travel Cover Letter: The Mention

Now that you've identified some of those transferable skills, it's time to make mention of them in your cover letter. The second paragraph is typically the place in the cover letter where you'll mention where you picked up certain skills, or why you're good at certain things. This is the perfect segue into mentioning your travels. Write something like "You are looking for a self-starter – a skill I honed while traveling alone during the summer of 2021." You could also say something like "During my post-college exploration in 2021, I got the chance to learn many applicable skills." You'll notice that both of these sentences make mention of the travel dates – thereby creating an excuse for the employment gaps, while at the same time showing that something was gained. No need to make this a big deal – a line or two will suffice.

Travel and Skills Resume

If there's no way to make the leap into making your travels apply to your new job, you do have a few other options. One is to create a skills-based resume that details all the things you're good at doing, instead of focusing on your work timeline. Oxford Brookes University reports that this type of resume or CV does list your work experience, but usually only after all of your skill information is detailed front and center. Some skills-based resumes or CVs list this information in bullet-point format on a single-page document, while others list it on a second page. If your travels lasted longer than a year, there's likely something you did during that period that can be considered a "life experience." If you were volunteering with monkeys in Africa or did any type of service or volunteer work, you may just want to include that in the "Work Experience" section so that there are fewer gaps in the resume.