|In light of the figures released by the AGR last week, going straight into employment will not be an option all of us may have. So our attentions turn to other opportunities that may be out there, one of the increasingly popular decisions that graduates are taking to is that of the gap year.
With gap years becoming more common you need to ensure you get the full value and take the opportunity to differentiate yourself from the rest of the crowd. Most employers are looking for evidence of well-spent time out and they may be unwilling to take a chance on you if they can’t see that you have used your gap year wisely. If you do take a gap year then invariably you will be asked about it when you reach the interview stage, taking steps to plan and research your gap year now will save you from answering those awkward questions later on.
Working abroad demonstrates that you independent, enjoy new challenges and can operate outside of your comfort zone. A major point of differentiation on any CV, having prior experience of working overseas will make you an attractive candidate to most employers, particularly when you consider the global nature of most modern business enviroments. .
Overseas work placements
A year in industry is particularly important if you don’t have much work experience, doing this abroad is another way of differientiating yourself from the usual crowd. It can help you sharpen your direction and can also benefit your studies if you return and go into further education, building up first hand experience. It also widens your network, the people you meet, skills you acquire and contacts you develop will all prove valuable for the future. This is a big step so ensure that the company you are going into has a good reputation and offers you worthwhile work.
Education, Education, Education
Students often overlook the opportunity that a gap year offers in respect to further study. There are hundreds of opportunities for students to add further 'value bricks' to their CV's whilst taking a gap year and if you locate yourself in one place for long enough you may be able to enrol on a course that will certainly stand out and give you something to talk about come interview time. If you are lacking certain career skills, short courses or vocational programmes can help you when you come return and start to apply for graduate positions. Just make sure you havent run out of money when you come to apply!
If you want a truely rewarding experience then volunteering may be for you. This is no holiday but the memories and the intra personal skills which you will develop during your time volunteering will stay with you for the rest of your working life. Our partners Coray Cay and La Esperanza Granada offer some fantastic volunteering programmes and would be a great place to start looking!