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8 Career Benefits Of Taking A Gap Year

Taking a gap year is a whole lot of fun, no doubt about that, but it can also be pretty rewarding for you in the long run too.

It’s no secret that getting a job after uni can be pretty tough at the moment, so anything you can do to make yourself stand out from the crowd is a massive bonus and I whole heartedly believe that, if done right, a gap year can provide you with some serious kudos with potential employers.

Unfortunately, learning to drink 10 bottles of Chang without developing an instant headache isn’t the kind of ‘skills’ I’m talking about here; no future honcho is going to be too impressed with that (although if you have mastered that particular art please share your secret with me – those ‘Changovers’ are a b*tch)

I’m thinking about ways in which taking a break and travelling can really benefit your career, not jeopardise it. To prove it, I’m running down a list of 8 career benefits of taking a gap year.

How can a gap year make you more employable?

Make your CV stand out from the crowd

Volunteering at an orphanage in Kenya, helping with the conservation of Sea Turtles in Costa Rica, working as a councillor at a summer camp on the outskirts of New York.

All equally great ways to make your CV ‘pop’, and at a time when standing out from the crowd is so important, being able to tell employers about the time you spent teaching English to a class full of underprivileged Cambodian children certainly make you special.

Conservation projects look great on any CV

You’ll never know who you might meet…

Travelling is an awesome way to network. You never know who you will meet and what opportunities will come your way.

You will constantly be meeting new people, introducing yourself, sharing information about your life and making new friends, and keeping your ear to the ground for new opportunities while on your travels could see you swapping your daily grind for a new life in Sydney (or somewhere equally as good) so network, network, network!

Step outside of your comfort zone

There is no better way to gain confidence and ‘come out of yourself’, so to speak, than to step out of your comfort zone – and as a traveller that’s something you’ll do almost every day.

Whether, for you, stepping out of your comfort zone simply means meeting new people or whether it’s throwing yourself off a bridge attached to a bungy chord it’s all helps to create the confident ‘go getting’ personna that goes a long way when going for that dream job.

Push yourself to do things that will ultimately grow your confidence

Re-focus

A gap trip is also great for your career as it can give you time to refocus and reassess what you actually want to do. Many people take a sabbatical from one career and delve straight into another off the back of some serious reflection time taken during a gap trip.

Maybe you took part in one particular experience during your trip that you don’t want to leave behind or maybe the time away simply offers thinking space to rethink what you really want to do in life, either way, you can end up in a much happier place off the back of it.

Gain experience in your new career

Teaching, medicine, conservation, PR, construction, marketing, infact just about any career you can think of can be honed to perfection abroad. A working holiday in Australia or New Zealand is the perfect way to start your career in a sunnier setting.

Teaching underprivileged kids will develop skills for the future and get you noticed

Learn new skills you didn’t have before

Studying for a TEFL course, learning to dive and achieving your PADI diving certificate, learning yoga at the top of a remote Nepalese retreat are all skills you can gain, and put to the test, on the road.

They’re also skills that will look great on your CV on your return. As much as spending your time flitting from party to party sounds amazing (and don’t get me wrong it definitely has it’s place on any awesome gap trip), it’s skills and learnings like this that you can bring home, that will really impress potential employers.

Learn a new skill while you're travelling

Make the most of your experience

Now, I’m not necessarily talking about specific career skills like those mentioned in the point above here, I was actually thinking more along the lines of those (queue teacher voice) transferrable skills, and boy does travelling during a gap year give you those; You may just need to know how to dress it up to create a rocking CV.

Punctuality You have a lot of flight, busses, trains to catch during a gap trip you know
Negotiation skills Haggled over the cost of a bucket at a full moon party
Budgeting and planning Uuummmmm well you kinda did that when you put this whole trip together and you will/did continue to do it throughout
Independence Travelling alone through remote Indian villages while locals wanted to ‘practice their English’ with you

Haggling over Red Bananas

 Who would have thought that haggling while travelling could actually end benefiting your career?! Image courtesy of ActiveSteve

Recharge your academic batteries

For most of us who have been in education since 4 or 5 years old, by the time of reaching your late teens and early 20s, the time comes for a well deserved break. Although, granted, the fact that you need some time out doesn’t necessarily mean that you are done with studying altogether.

A gap trip can give you the break you need to your regenerate your enthusiasm for learning and maybe even improve your grades on your return, and better grades mean – can you see where I’m going with this? – a better chance of the career you want.

Check out the gap pages of our website and start putting together your perfect, career enhancing trip
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Showing 5 Comments

  1. Kat

    I would also add, dealing with the unexpected / tricky situations.

    All best laid plans come unstuck. Prospective employers want to see how you are faced with a challenge and deal with it.
    I could list numerous examples on my well ironed out trips e.g. a detour to El Salvador due to adverse weather conditions, stuck outside Uluru due to bush fires, delays to our books on an educational project in Tanzania…

    Great interview points, and you get to talk about travelling, which makes you come across interesting.

    1865 days ago
  2. This is so true! I know if I were in charge of hiring for a company and someone came in with extensive travel and volunteer work on their CV, I would most definitely give them a second look. World travel provides experiences you just can’t get anywhere else!

    1865 days ago
  3. Volunteering really weighs heavily on a CV, and although some companies do not care, because only seek work efficiency, it is good to have a person with high moral values ​​and commitment is what ultimately proves volunteerism.

    1852 days ago
  4. A gap year is a really tricky thing to put into a CV. Some will look highly upon your time away, and others won´t. I think that it depends on which country you are trying to work in and the nature of the business. I enjoyed the article, unique perspective.

    1744 days ago
  5. Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the pictures on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to find out if its a problem on my end or if it’s
    the blog. Any feed-back would be greatly appreciated.

    308 days ago