Posts Tagged ‘career resources’

How to Make Your Travels Part of Your Career Brand
Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

For many career breakers, it would be a dream to continue to travel. But most do return to work, whether it’s a new career or back to the briefcase. Mario Schulzke, Creator of CareerSparx, shares with us “How to Make Your Travels Part of Your Career Brand”.

Your career brand is much more than the sum of your past work experience.  It is the aggregate of both who you are as an individual and why someone would want to work with you.  It is about taking various life experiences and showing how they have—or will—contribute to your career.

If you are contemplating taking some time off to travel or if you are returning to work from extended travel, be confident that it likely did not or will not hinder your long-term career goals.

Wherever travel comes into your life, it is there for a purpose; it satisfies a need and brings clarity to our often-convoluted worlds.  You experience new things, learn about new cultures and often return with a wisdom that informs how you see the world.

When it comes time to return to the workplace, you can communicate the value of your travel experience as part of your career brand.  Here’s how:

Understand how your travels contribute to who you are.
This may take some careful retrospection unless you keep a blog or journal—which is a great idea that I go into more detail about below—but it is important to understand what you learned and experienced while traveling.  Reflect on your time abroad and the qualities you developed as a result of your experiences.  Take the time to write this down and contribute to the list as more things come to mind.

Here are some questions for thought:

  • What spurred my travel ambitions in the first place?
  • What was the most memorable experience and why?
  • What were my most important revelations?
  • Did I think back on my life before travel in any particular way?  Was there anything negative I hoped to change?

Translate these experiences and qualities to work-related skills.
Now that you understand the positive ways in which travel affected your life, you need to communicate how this will help you professionally.  Again, write this down, using concrete examples from your travel to tell a story and make a point.  You can weave this information into your resume or use it during interviews.  Here are some questions to get started:

  • Have my life-long goals changed? Have my career goals changed? How?
  • What qualities have I strengthened that would make me an effective team player?
  • What have I learned from my interactions with strangers around the world that will help me be a better leader?

Demonstrate a better understanding of who you are and what you want.
After traveling, you will be returning with a much better idea of the type of job and workplace that is right for you.  This brings confidence to future employers because if you truly know what you want, what you can provide and how you fit into their company, you will be a reliable and motivated part of their team.  Communicate this.

Document your travels and experiences.
Listen, the Web is here to stay and it’s going to affect your professional career in some sort of way.  An interesting blog, for example, is something that you can do to set you apart from other job applicants.  Usually the hardest challenge about creating a blog is having something worthy to write about.  Well, guess what?  Unless your travels consisted of being holed up in a hotel room in Cincinnati, I bet you have some interesting stories to tell.  So, tell them.

Check out, or for easy ways to set up your own blog.

Wherever your career brand manifests itself—through a blog, resume, cover letter or your persona—know that your travel experience can be as valuable to a potential employer as it is to you.

Mario Schulzke was born and raised in Germany, and lived in France, Spain and England before coming to the U.S. as a high school exchange student.  He has traveled across China and has backpacked many of America’s national parks.  He is the creator of, an online course that teaches recent graduates how to start their careers.  For more information, download their free 61-page guide on how to start your career or check out the CareerSparx blog.

In the News: Career Coaches
Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

We recently launched a new feature – “Ask A Coach” – where a select group of career/life coaches answer your career-related questions.

Now meet our team of coaches!

[singlepic=1762,100,,,left]Barbara Pagano – Founding Partner, YourSABBATICAL
Barbara has spent more than 20 years helping leaders excel and facilitating for Fortune 500 firms. She has shared her leadership insights with audiences totaling more than 300,000 executives from companies like Coca-Cola, NCR, Target, and Turner Broadcasting, and she has personally coached almost 3,000 executives from companies including American Express, AT&T, and BellSouth. Barbara’s research on credibility, the diagnostic tools she has developed with a leading company in the assessment industry, and her focus on skills and measurable improvement offer leaders proven methods for building trusting, high-performing relationships. She inspires, teaches and holds leaders accountable for results. She is co-author of THE TRANSPARENCY EDGE: How Credibility Can Make or Break You in Business, (McGraw-Hill), chosen by Fast Company magazine as a “Book of the Month.”

[singlepic=1764,100,,,left]Elizabeth Pagano – Founding Partner, YourSABBATICAL
Elizabeth consults with organizations on leadership/talent development. She is co-author of THE TRANSPARENCY EDGE: How Credibility Can Make or Break You in Business (McGraw-Hill), which has been translated into four languages and is now in paperback. A former business journalist, articles by and about her have appeared in a wide array of business publications, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, CNN International, Outside Magazine,, Journal of Accountancy, CBS News, Web CPA, Business to Business, Talent Management, Employee Benefit News, Manage Smarter, and Canada’s Globe and Mail.

[singlepic=1662,100,,,left]Tara Russell – Three Month Visa Coaching and Consulting
Tara is a “Life Sabbatical & Long-term Travel Coach” – a Certified Life and Career Coach with a passion for working with clients who dream of taking time off to travel, live, work, study or volunteer abroad. As the Founder and President of Three Month Visa Coaching and Consulting, her mission is to empower her clients to change their lives (and ultimately the world at large), through meaningful international travel experiences. In addition to her work with one-on-one Coaching clients, Tara is a popular speaker and workshop presenter in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond and has brought her unique perspective and expertise to audiences at venues including Apple, Borders, McKesson, Coldwell Banker and the Korea Leadership Center in Seoul, South Korea. She is also the Founder of the San Francisco Travel Book Club and Lectures Series.

An avid traveler and believer in the rejuvenating effects of “taking time off”, Tara’s journeys have taken her from the ancient ruins of Peru and rainforests of the Brazilian Amazon to the temples of Japan and the Himalayan Mountain ranges of Nepal.

Breaking Into a New Field or Industry
Monday, April 19th, 2010

Ask A CoachWhether you are returning from a career break and trying to figure out your next steps or are contemplating a sabbatical but don’t know where to start, our career coaches are here to help.

Barbara Pagano of YourSABBATICAL answers the question:

I’ve realized I no longer want to go back to my old career. In a market with high unemployment, how can I make myself noticed or create opportunities in a new field or industry?

[singlepic=1762,125,,,left]Congratulations on being a risk-taker! Staying in a career that no longer fits your needs can be one of the most debilitating moves away from future happiness. Plus it robs your potential. Here are three ideas to break into a new field or industry during a sabbatical, even in these trying times:


Benefits of Using a Career or Sabbatical Coach
Monday, March 1st, 2010

[singlepic=1662,150,,,right]Deciding to change your career or take time off from your current job can be very challenging on the mind and soul. Add travel plans on top of that and you may get discouraged enough to abandon your career break dreams. Tara Russell, a certified life & career coach through her company Three Month Visa, shares with us the benefits of using a coach to help guide you through this life-changing experience.

What are the benefits of a travel sabbatical and what types of activities do you recommend to your clients?
I think the greatest benefit of travel sabbaticals can be summed up by one of my favorite quotes from travel writer Pico Iyer: “Travel is like love: It cracks you open, and so pushes you over all the walls and low horizons that habits and defensiveness set up.” When we are home, we can begin to define ourselves by our routines and labels (i.e. our careers, our consumer habits, etc.) For example, I’ve had clients come to me and say “I’m a top-level executive consultant with 15 years delivering Six Sigma expertise to tech firms in Silicon Valley” or “I’m an eco-conscious soy-latte-drinking, Prius-driving reusable-grocery-bag-toting Yoga nut!” All good stuff, to be sure…but not who these people really are at their core.

[singlepic=1659,275,,,left]Travel removes us from our habits and routines and lets us rediscover ourselves anew. It expands our horizons, gives us fresh and new perspectives, strengthens our sense of adventure, pushes us to challenge ourselves and feeds an appreciation of our own courage and abilities. By the time those same clients came home, they were able to say “I am someone who survived and thrived during 15 months of solo travel…who watched the sun rise over Machu Picchu and set over the steppes of Mongolia, who learned new languages and opened up to new cultures…who made life-long friendships out of chance acquaintances, etc.” Those are gifts that come home with you and last a lifetime.


In the News: Networking for Briefcase to Backpack
Thursday, January 14th, 2010

[singlepic=1646,250,,,right]Since we launched the site last year, we have made many great connections through the power of social media (facebook, twitter, blogging). In fact, networking online has been our main source to finding great material and inspirational stories to share with you. After all, we do focus on the wonders of travel!

And even though we feel we have great ties with these virtual relationships, it is always wonderful to still network in person and to meet some of our virtual friends face-to-face. And that’s what we have been doing this week in San Francisco!

As Sherry Ott makes her way around the country visiting with friends and family since her return from Vietnam in November 2009, we decided to take advantage of her return to San Francisco (where she once lived) to network with many of our contacts. And the pay off will be passed on to you.

[singlepic=1647,200,,,left]Part of our goal for this year is to connect more with career experts to bring you the best advice on transitioning careers during your break. We’ve already introduced you to The Sabbatical Coach, Clive Prout, and we will also be working with Tara Russell, who offers life/career coaching and long-term travel planning through her company Three Month Visa. What was supposed to be an introductory coffee meeting turned into a four-hour brainstorming session where we developed many great ideas for collaborating together. We are very excited about some of the ideas that were born and can’t wait to share them with you.


Sabbaticals and the Pursuit of Happiness
Monday, January 4th, 2010

[singlepic=1633,200,,,right]Career breaks and sabbaticals are a great opportunity to quiet your mind and help you connect with what it is that will make you truly happy. Clive Prout uses the insights he gained from his own sabbatical to help others find their path to happiness. He shares with us what led him on the path to becoming The Sabbatical Coach and how you could benefit from using one.

One of the things that drew me to immigrate to the USA is a phrase in the Declaration of Independence.

I grew up in England, which holds its citizens as “subjects” of the monarch, with no written constitution to guarantee their rights. The idea that the purpose of government was to secure for its citizens “certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” was revolutionary. It seemed a wonderful basis on which to create a country and a new life for myself.

I moved to Menlo Park in the heart of Silicon Valley in the mid 1990s. The computer industry was in full bloom and the Internet was starting to explode. Netscape’s offices opened a couple of blocks from where I worked in Mountain View. Central to my choice to be here was the unquestioned assumption that the pursuit of happiness lay through the pursuit of wealth. I would become rich and happy – or so I thought.


Next Steps: Career Choices & Resources
Monday, October 26th, 2009

[singlepic=1568,300,,,right]Even before you’ve returned from your career break travels, you probably put some thought into what you want (or don’t want) from your next job.

If you are anything like us (Michael, Michaela, and Sherry), you probably fall into one of these categories:

  • You want to return to the Briefcase, but on a different career track
  • You want to utilize your skills and talents to pursue freelance work
  • You want to pick up the Backpack again, never to return to corporate

You had an incredible around-the-world experience but are ready to re-enter the corporate world. Michael always knew he’d return to corporate, and used his career break to refocus on what his career goals were. These were some of the resources he utilized to get a job upon his return:

Job Boards:

Executive Search Firms:


And don’t underestimate the power of your network. Keep in touch with your former colleagues and mentors during your travels and they can be extremely useful for opening up doors for you upon your return. LinkedIn makes this easier to do than ever.

And if you wish to seek employment from a firm that embraces the sabbatical mindset, YourSabbatical offers a comprehensive list of companies that do so.


Career Break Guide Table of Contents

Meet Plan Go