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Career Advice

How to Handle a Gap Year

outstretchedWhether you haven’t achieved the exam results that you’d hoped for or you simply want a bit of a break before undertaking the next step on your career journey, taking a Gap Year can be the most logical thing to do. Of course, it’s always best if you can plan ahead so that you can fully maximise what you can do during those 12 free months. Here are some suggestions on how to handle a gap year that we hope will help.

Go travelling

For many people travelling abroad is the most common and traditional way of spending a gap year. It’s admittedly the most expensive too so advance planning is an absolute must. Travelling can have a really positive impact in so many ways – from strengthening your knowledge of other cultures and improving your language skills through to developing your people skills. From an employer’s perspective, a candidate who has spent time travelling will most likely have honed their ability to be adaptable, self sufficient and organised  – all skills which would they would ideally like in all potential employees. Spending time abroad – provided you do it wisely can make you a more all rounded character and that can only be a good thing.

Become a Volunteer

Volunteering can be a particularly worthy way of spending your gap year. Since many volunteering opportunities exist in the community or charity sector, the roles you undertake can be both rewarding and satisfying. Of course on a more personal level, it can also significantly improve your employability as a whole. You can both strengthen your CV and also develop skills which can be utilized at other times during your career.

Learn new skills

Using a gap year to develop new skills or to improve existing skills can be one of the most beneficial ways to spend your time. You may never get the opportunity to have that much free time again so it’s best to make the most of it! Improving skills in certain areas such as IT can go a long way towards improving your overall employability in the long run, so use that free time wisely and to your long term advantage!

Get work experience

If your work experience to date has been somewhat limited because you have been focusing on education, a gap year can be a great time to address that. You may aim to simply get one job during your year out or opt for a series of temp jobs. Whichever you decide will still benefit you regardless. You will gain practical experience, strengthen your CV, develop transferable and specific skills and of course enhance your employability no end.

Teach English abroad

In a sense this option lets you benefit from both travelling and experiencing other cultures whilst also earning some money! Undertaking a TEFL course in advance is a must – otherwise you could not even contemplate applying for a teaching job. The key thing to remember also is that teaching English abroad will help you to develop additional transferable skills which can be utilized upon your return whether in employment or in further education.

We hope that by highlighting how to handle a gap year, we have helped any of you who may be contemplating taking that time out. If you are, our final piece of advice, is to simply enjoy!


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