What good is a gap year?

Traditionally, a gap year is a break that students take between school or college and university, although many are now taking a gap year between university and work.A gap year can be a great opportunity to gain experience and develop your independence, which will make you more employable but also more confident.What can you do on a gap year?TravelAlthough it’s great if you are able to use your year off to establish some level of employability skills and do something worthwhile, there really is nothing wrong with just letting off some steam after nearly two decades in education.Volunteer at home or abroadVolunteering can be done at home or abroad and there are loads of great reasons to volunteer.There are many organisations around the world that desperately need the help of young people to help with community infrastructure projects, medical aid programmes or work with endangered animals and many young people come back saying what a great experience they have had.Work on a summer campThese holiday activity camps for children are particularly popular in the US, where they are often located in beautiful countryside and themed around a particular subject (religion, arts, sports and of course, weight loss). Most of the jobs involve working as a counsellor, being responsible for teaching and looking after groups of campers.Earn some cash in your gap yearPlenty of young people take a year out before university for rest or relaxation. For others who decide to work it may be that they want to earn some money and get some experience before heading off to university; it could be that they want to make sure they’re choosing the right course - whatever it is, a period of working is the perfect experience and will ultimately make you more employable.Learn new skillsYou could use your gap year to build skills. You could learn a language which can help boost your employability skills or get to grips with specialist software that will be helpful at university or for employment.Useyour gap year experience to sell yourself to employersFollowing your gap year, it’s important not to simply enter this on your CV as ‘on a gap year’ – really consider what you have learned and the skills that you have developed which employers will like and sell these on your CV. So, make sure you mention that you’ve learned to communicate confidently in another language, that you’ve worked well with others on a project, that you have developed your cultural awareness through travel, that you’ve developed specific skills through volunteering or working or you’ve blogged your way through your gap year developing your written communication and social media skills.

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