The benefits of taking a gap year
There are many educational and employment advantages to taking a year out. It’s good to be aware of the benefits as they could influence how you chose to spend your time. Here are some of the important ones:
Improve your CV/resume – Enhance your CV by gaining work experience and professional skills, which can help build your CV and give you valuable material to talk about at interviews.
Consider potential career paths/further study – You may already have your short-term goals in mind before taking a gap year. Use this time to consider potential career paths/or study and carry out activities that relate to the course to explore and ‘test’ your career path ideas.
Self-growth – You can use this time to have new experiences and adventures, which can in turn develop self-confidence and self-awareness. Self-awareness is key to future life/career decisions and is always worth investing in.
Learn new skills – You can use your gap year as an opportunity to learn valuable new skills for future career success.
Health and Well-being – Use this time as an opportunity to reflect and enjoy yourself, to reset after intensive studies and the pandemic. A gap year is a great way to rest and rejuvenate your mind and body.
Now for the fun bit – coming up with ideas for your gap year. Here’s a few to get you started…
Gap year ideas
Spend time volunteering – whether its locally or internationally, volunteering is a great way to develop practical and communication skills and this type of experience can significantly add value to your CV. This shows how you are dedicated to helping others, gain new perspectives and increase your confidence in people skills. Think about causes you care about and review their websites for volunteering opportunities. For example, https://reachvolunteering.org.uk/i-want-volunteer https://www.ncvo.org.uk/ is a great place to find out about volunteering opportunities.
Gain work experience – Gain some internships or contract-based employment and target specific companies that you would like to work in. Larger corporations run summer internship programmes but there are also many companies that have interns all year around. https://www.prospects.ac.uk/jobs-and-work-experience/work-experience-and-internships/internships https://www.internwise.co.uk/
Go travelling – spending time travelling is a great way to develop your independence, confidence, and time management skills. Visiting different countries and exploring cultures around the world can really help give you perspective. Any travel to developing countries develops humility but should be undertaken with thorough research in advance. Part-time jobs while you are away can be a great way to help fund your trip and simultaneously develop professional/life skills that you can add to your CV.
Time for personal development – enrol on a course that you’ve been wanting to do, learn a language. There’s a variety of free online courses to consider: coursera.org, www.FutureLearn.com www.edX.org. Or finish the DofE you’ve been meaning to complete, or set yourself a goal such as, training and running the marathon, which requires lots of time for training.
Earn money to fund travel/study – Consider different ways to earn an income to help fund further travel or study.
- Start your own business – a simple e-commerce idea (great for building digital skills), dog walking, landscaping, cleaning services or home tutoring.
- Work in retail/hospitality – great to develop customer service skills, working with people, problem solving, developing confidence dealing with people.
- Labourer – assist your local building company or work for a local farm
Whatever you decide to do, remember this an opportunity that may not come around again in the near future; so enjoy yourself and really embrace that old saying “the world is your oyster.”