Using travel content to boost your career

6 tips on how to market yourself and your personal/professional brand

Whether you’re a seasoned Choose a Challenge trekker or independent traveler in your own right, there are a lot of opportunities to use the photos, blogs, videos and experiences you collect into tangible tools to help build your own professional and even social media brand. Having something to represent who you are and/or what you do in 2019 carries more weight than ever, which is why we’ve looped in our social media team and previous trekkers to put together this short list of tips to help you turn the travel content that you already have into a marketable asset. Enjoy!

  1. Start a blog and incorporate LinkedIn 👩‍💻👨‍💻

    This might sound like the most cliche advice ever given to anyone who has just traveled, but here me out for a second…Sure we live in a day of instagram influencers, especially those in travel, but underneath the countless VSCO & FaceTune edits lies an actual tangible platform. Most of those people have blogs or another way they build their audience (i.e. a blog) showing off their travels and offering relevant advice. Now while I’m not recommending you do exactly what they do, I am recommending you use a blog highlighting your travels and tie that into your own professional goals. For example, let’s say you have a travel blog that shares both travel photos from your time taking on Choose a Challenge’s Machu Picchu trek and other posts you’ve written about that trip related to the importance of responsible tourism. You could immediately turn that blog around into the following professional tools for yourself:

    • Something to attach to your job/internship application to show employers your personal side (especially if they ask for it or give you a chance to show it off)

    • Proof of your writing skills and your ability to tell a story. If a job requires common skills like organization, writing, social media, etc you’ll be able to reference your blog or attach it to showcase your content and look worldlier as a result.

    • Proof of your photography and content creation skills. Stating the obvious, but if you take the time to capture quality photos that evoke human emotion or that just look simply beautiful, that’s a real skill and could be leveraged in certain types of job roles. Having a “good eye” for things is a real game-changer, especially in most creative fields.

    • If after trekking to Machu Picchu, you write a blog post about Peruvian culture and talk about their love and appreciation of nature and how that ties into ethical and responsible tourism, that’s something you can add to your Linkedin content section. Showing people that look through your LinkedIn that you’re involved in a variety of different causes with this content can certainly enhance your online professional image. Share those blog posts, comment on related discussions, and add these topics to the section on your profile where you can list what causes you advocate for.

  2. Start an Instagram account for travel + Find Your Niche 🔍

    Maybe you plan to travel more with Choose a Challenge? Maybe you plan to travel more in general? Either way we’ve seen some of our participants have their own separate instagram account specifically for their travel photos/videos. Is creating a new account necessary? No. Is it an option after considering your future travel plans and an outlet to post purely just your epic travels domestically and internationally? Sure!

    Similar to starting a blog, having an instagram these days that showcases a niche and a particular topic is a real asset, especially if you can garner a decent following. Before you can do that however, you need to keep producing quality content and plan interesting trips in the future. Planning out your content ahead of time before your next trip can go a long way. The other aspect in creating yet another travel account is asking yourself “what makes this one different?” This is where finding your niche comes in. Try to think of what you care about in addition to traveling. Think about what aspects during your time abroad with us really stood out to you and say how can you incorporate that message into travel photos, blogs and more? For example, after learning more about spirituality and the culture in Kathmandu on your Everest Base Camp trip maybe you want to make travel content that focuses on mental wellness.

  3. Improve your own Instagram
    (Photo editing, precision hash-tagging and the professional way to slide into DM’s)

    If you only want to post your travel photos to your own account, that works too! You’ve already got a built-in following presumably, and people’s travels tend to be more of a personal topic as well, so it makes sense. Below in no particular order are some of the things the social media team uses when preparing our travel content for social media and/or our own personal accounts:

    • PHOTO EDITING: Snapseed. Google’s photo editing app is one of my preferred apps just because I think it’s features and options are great for enhancing the natural elements of travel photos without giving you oversaturated and unnecessary options like other photo editing apps. Features like auto-white balancing, a minimal HDR scape specifically for nature photos are all common things I do with my traveling photos.” - Mike

    • PHOTO EDITING: A Color Story. “This app is free, However, if you really want to use it to it’s full potential some of the options you have are buying pre-made filter packs which can sometimes give you your own aesthetic for a minimal payment of $1-$4. That being said, A Color Story is an app for filters and photo editing for the more advanced content creators and a favorite of our social media team here at Choose a Challenge”- Gabby

    • HASH TAGGING: Choosing the right hashtags to attach. Before each post we research which hashtags we think are most relatable to our post. Once we’ve run each one into Instagram to see how many other posts use the same hashtag (simply by using IG’s search feature) we’ll include it onto the list. Typically if it falls anywhere between 1,000 to 500,000 posts we’ll select it. Anything more than that and you risk having your photo get lost in a sea of similar content that nobody will see because of overpopulation. The only personal exception to this rule for us is for mainstream hashtags (i.e. #traveltuesday #throwbackthursday). In the grander scheme of things, we do this all to maximize Choose a Challenge’s likes, comments and engagement numbers, which is something you can certainly do as well for your account.

    • Direct Messaging: Building up your network and presence. Right from the start, i’ll say this tip will be the one with the least amount of success, but it could be one that could help if executed properly. For example, say you’re posting an epic photo from your Kilimanjaro trek and you’re really proud of the quality of that particular post, you should then search for some related accounts on instagram and share your photo with them. Often times, other companies are looking for the type of content you’re posting themselves (especially if they say so in their profile bio). Even if they aren’t openly stating they want your content, what’s the harm in DM’ing them your post with a simple personalized message. You might just get yourself a shout out, a re-post, and even some more followers that discover you from their account (which presumably has more followers).

  4. Update Your Professional Website

    Step 1: Don’t have a professional website or online portfolio dedicated to showcasing your career & goals? MAKE ONE Step 2: Continue reading…

    I’m a big believer in having something tangible to show employers or other people that can be used as an extension of yourself (at least professionally). While there is no defacto best way to organize a professional website or portfolio, a trend i’ve spotted on other websites is the addition of a section that shows your personal values, which often includes traveling. This in theory gives you another way to show off your personality, while showcasing some of the other suggestions discussed above. If you’ve traveled with Choose a Challenge before, this would be a great opportunity to talk about the fact that your team not only accomplished an amazing physical challenge, but fundraised for an even bigger cause. Which leads to my last point…

  5. Add your Choose a Challenge trip to you resume

    While everyone’s resumes and opinions are different, this is certainly something you can add if desired. In all honesty, even if it is on your resume theres still a decent chance an employer will brush over it while scanning through your resume. However, I will say there have been times in the past where former Choose a Challenge participants have referenced their experience in some way during a job interview and it has been a major topic and source of conversation during those discussions. A big part of what we preach to our student trekkers is what will set you apart? Going into a conversation with a potential employer, or someone at a networking event, etc and being able to say “I summited Mt. Kilimanjaro with 19 other like-minded students and fundraised over $100,000 for charity in the process” is pretty unique and a memorable achievement that is sure to stick out in their mind. It shows dedication, persistence, prior experience facing adversity, generosity, and being a team player, which are all desirable traits for almost any company looking to hire.

  6. BONUS: Enter you recent photos/blogs/videos into our competition

    Speaking of content, our deadline to submit the type of photos discussed above is Sunday June 30th at 11:59pm EST. This year we’re giving out an REI gift card to the winner of each category! You can still submit up to three entries so find some time to pick your best stuff and upload it to the official contest form below.

2019 Content Competition.png

Last Chance!

Enter your best photo, video or blog from your trip with us for a chance to win one of three REI gift cards

If you have any questions or suggestions to some of the tips and tricks above, don’t be a stranger! Contact myself by clicking here.