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Gap Year vs Career? Have Your Cake and Eat It!

by Jessica Whyte

Dreaming of faraway gap year destinations but fear that far-flung fun will freeze your future prospects?  Worried that taking a gap year break might put you behind in your career?  With the economy on the downturn and nothing but doom and gloom on the nightly news you’d be forgiven for thinking there were no jobs left in the UK anyway!  This is clearly not the case, but it is true that it’s a harder climate out there these days and if you’ve just left school or university you might be up against some stiff competition in the job market or for university places.

So on the face of it, you might think that the sooner you get your foot in the door the better and that a gap year is just going to put off your career progress.  Well, think again!  Universities and employers are always looking for that little bit of extra special sparkle on your CV, something that will make you stand out from the crowd and put you firmly on their radar.  Gap years can be so much more than just fun in the sun (although it’s a big bonus of course!).  The modern-day gap year can be anything you want to make it, but most of all it can be the ideal way to gain life skills and experience that are priceless for your future prospects.

There are opportunities galore across the world that will bump up your career credentials in no time.  You could think about getting a paid job in your gap year, working in a cosmopolitan city like Sydney, getting paid for your skills in New Zealand, or trying out an internship in America.   A glowing job reference from around the globe is gap year gold!  Thinking about another summer supermarket job?  Already picturing yourself trudging to temporary work in the rain just to make ends meet?  If you get a paid job abroad you could live like a local, soak up the culture and see the sights while putting money in the bank – beats Britain’s rat race, doesn’t it?

Thinking about a future teaching career?  Universities and teacher training courses will be more than impressed if you have actual hands-on experience; in fact, it might make all the difference.  Every continent can offer you the chance to get paid or unpaid teaching placements, or even a coveted TEFL qualification.  Pass on your passion to pupils everywhere and send your employability appeal through the roof!  There are vast volunteering opportunities on offer too – help out with children or community projects across the globe and a whole range of career possibilities will lie ahead of you.  Want to join the medical profession?  There are gap year medical internships that will give you the chance to put your skills to the test.  Want to work with animals?  Conservation volunteer projects can be your calling card to a brilliant career working with cute and cuddly creatures.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking a gap year is the soft option, or is just a way to opt out and escape the daily grind.  It can be your meal ticket to a marvellous future.  Not only will travelling to amazing places broaden your mind but it will also open so many doors that you’ll soon be firmly on track for a bright career.  Imagine the typical employer, sitting at their desk with a stack of CV’s, scanning down the same old info, yawning at the predictable blurb… ‘I like going to the cinema and helping old ladies across the road… yadda yadda yadda’, then imagine them sitting up and slopping their coffee down their shirt as they see that you’ve mastered Mandarin in Asia or saved charming cheetahs in Africa!  Make your CV sizzle and your résumé will quickly rise to the top of the pile.  There’s some serious career kudos to be had from taking a gap year; far from leaving you lagging behind, take a hop, skip and a jump up the career ladder with the ultimate in worldwide work experience.  Why wait?

From → Gap Year Advice

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