Should I take a gap year – will it expand my career options?
A gap year separates life-changing experiences: It can come between senior school and university or after university and before starting your career. It can be a life-changing experience itself but it’s not guaranteed to be a force for good. Usually, it develops your skills and experience, thus expanding what options you have for your career.
A gap year isn’t just a vacation, it is actually a part of your education. It is not supposed to be a protracted holiday – really, it is a time to think about what career path you will aim for in the future and draw up plans for this along with the next stage of your education if relevant.
Historically, gap years between university and full-time employment were concealed and the resultant hole in your CV was doctored. These days, many businesses look on a gap year as a positive factor when hiring graduates; it is regarded as a chance to enrich your life experiences and as a positive for your career.
Nowadays, a gap year is not only the privilege of the wealthy; studies show that in recent years many more of us have taken advantage of the possibility. Considering the costs of education these days, it makes a lot of sense for each of us to fully understand what career would be the most suitable for us and what education choices would be best for us to move in that direction. Taking a gap year can be much less expensive than changing your university degree course.
If your gap year is planned well it can be a great deal more stimulating than your initial university year. For example, if you use your gap year to travel abroad you will gain really useful experience of another nations culture, and a basic knowledge of a different language. It will help you to develop your understanding of the world. It can ignite a passion in you that will eventually lead to a much more fulfilling career path.
What you do with your gap year makes a huge difference to your long-term career prospects.
What makes a good gap year?
- Expanding your life skills
- Clarifying what options you have for your career
- Learning a language
- Gaining work experience for a possible future career
- Teaching English as a foreign language while living abroad
- Becoming a volunteer
Advantages of a gap year
- Your gap year can be a time to reflect; when the purpose of your education is put in the perspective of your career choice
- It creates a more profound self-awareness that can be used in your future career path
- Your career goals are clarified
- New surroundings offer new challenges and dealing with them develops character
- You become braver due to being challenged; obstacles appear less intimidating