Upon leaving school you can be confronted with some very difficult decisions that could fundamentally shape the rest of your life. You are presented with two options between going into full time employment or going to university. Unlike with many choices there is no ‘wrong’ decision here, it’s totally dependent on what path you want to take. However one thing that is generally overlooked by the majority of school leavers is the option to participate in a gap year. In this post I want to try and highlight some of the pro’s and con’s of taking a year out to go traveling.
Whilst only a fraction of school or university leavers decide to take a gap year it is becoming an option that should be considered more by young people. The truth is the longer you wait the more difficult it becomes. As responsibilities being to fall on you there will be less and less time for you to be able to go and explore the world.
There is a growing consensus between employers that gap years are a valuable asset on your CV. Some examples of what employers see from a gap year are :
- Decision making
- Relationship building
- Problem solving
Whilst this list is not comprehensive it gives you an idea of the beneficial traits that employers take away from your CV, these can separate you out from the plethora of applicants and help you get an interview.
It is important to remember that whilst a gap year is an invaluable asset to your CV it is also a time to be enjoyed. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to explore the world and will probably be the first time you are independent and truly self-sufficient.
I have been talking mainly about the benefits of taking a gap year but there are also perfectly valid reasons why not to participate in a gap year. Firstly gap years are expensive regardless of how cheap you try to make it, to be able to support yourself for a year abroad will require significant amounts of money. If you are willing to get into debt or work hard to get there then go for it, however if you are going with no real desire to travel or you’re just following your friends it may not be worth the costs.
Other things you need to consider whilst your away is things will change Your friends will go onto university, get a job and move on with their lives. It is important to realise this and realise what you have gained in the same time period, it will be very difficult to play catch up with them.
Taking a gap year is a once in a lifetime opportunity, whilst it can be an invaluable life altering experience you have to be fully invested in the experience to get the most out of it. All things considered if you have the drive and motivation to go on a gap year definitely do it. It will aid your CV and make you grow as a person leaving you above your competition whilst looking for that job. But don’t just take my word for it, Harriet Fraser atExecutive Careers told me, “Seeing a gap year on a CV can often be the deciding factor in giving someone an interview. It is what helps make their CV stand out”
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