Student guide to a gap year
These are difficult times for graduates, and if you are one, you don’t need an article to tell you that.
The odds stacked against graduate applicants aren’t promising, and are often as bad as 80 to one. This, coupled with the record-breaking rate of youth unemployment, means that the job market is increasingly competitive. Therefore, once your CV is filled with qualifications, internships and volunteering, one way to set yourself further apart from other applicants is by embarking on a gap year.
If you want to appear irresistible in the eyes of employers there are many schemes, internships and work opportunities abroad. However, irrespective of where you go or what you do, more important is how to articulate this to potential employers and mould your experiences around the job specifications
A productive gap year can present itself in an array of forms, so utilise your imagination to come up with ideas of how you can dedicate a year to making your CV incomparably impressive. Maybe you set up a gap year blog or photography website? Anything that demonstrates initiative and productivity will look good on your CV, showing that you had your career aspirations in mind at all times.
If, on completion of your degree, you’re unsure of specifically what career path is for you and therefore unsure of a specific gap year route, fear not. Simply envision yourself returning from your travels in a year’s time. In the perfect scenario, what have you learnt, achieved and experienced?
Embarking on a gap year provides employers with indisputable proof that you are independent, self-sufficient, and motivated. Whatever your gap year entails, you will most likely gain empathy and an international perspective that will set you apart from competing candidates.
As long as you’re clear of what skills you wish to use your gap year to improve on, you have sorted out travel insurance and foreign currency have collected some information of where you are visiting, you’ll return from your gap year much more attractive to employers. If you’re stuck for ideas of where to start, here are some suggestions:
TEFL (Teaching English as a first language)
TEFL offers courses in order to become fully qualified to teach English abroad. Once you have finished your training, you’re ready to find your first teaching post. Not only will this earn you some money, but will provide great experience for your CV.
If you’re looking for something a little more physical, there are several companies that offer free accommodation and transport in exchange for your expertise on the slopes. Many firms also offer the opportunity to work in catering roles, as team leaders or in entertainment roles. This is a great opportunity to boost your CV whilst enjoying beautiful scenery and meeting a multitude of people.
Working as an Au pair means living with a family and looking after their children, with some light housework possibly thrown in. In return for your labours, you will receive your accommodation and a little extra money.
Not knowing a foreign language will not be a massive setback, as many families will see this as an opportunity for you to teach their children English. Fitting into a family life that exists in a completely different culture will be impressive to employers.