Taking a “gap year” either for self-fulfilment or career development can reap rewards. In a survey last year, 37% of employers believe it increases people skills, and 35% agreed a year out helps people adapt quickly to new situations.
To make the most of it, make your time out count:
Why take a year out?
Going abroad provides a chance to broaden your horizons, discover new cultures, and is a great way to network and make new friends. Picking up a language and teaching English are also motivators for some. Remember, taking a year out is not just about travelling – you may want to stay in the UK to pursue your passion for music for example, or volunteer for a while.
What about my career?
Activities undertaken on a year out can boost skills sought by employers, and can give you space to work out what you would like to do in the longer term.
If you’re undecided on what you want to do next, make sure you do some thinking before you go (or come and speak to one of our Careers Consultants!). A gap year is a great opportunity to pick up some work experience in an area that interests you.
You’ll find it beneficial in the long run if you make a good plan for what you want to achieve in your year out – from writing a blog to becoming a yoga instructor – doing something productive on your year out is likely to be more impressive to a future employer than simply travelling from A to B and absorbing the experience. Finally, be conscious of application deadlines and interview periods – and arrange your year out around this.
For further information on taking a year out – including gap year opportunities, taking a gap year abroad, having a gap year in the UK, funding advice and more, see the excellent Prospects gap year webpages.