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The Leap - A Gap year is the icing on the cake for your CV and interview

Date added: Tuesday 3rd May 2016

A Gap year is the icing on the cake for your CV and interview …

There is no getting around the fact that a CV is a pretty boring document to both write (agonising) and to read (between the lines).  As we know the CV or interview has 3 roles – to showcase qualifications, skills and character traits.  Qualifications and skills – easy peasy, character traits – more tricky.  Seemingly the CV is here to stay, so we have to make do even though I often wonder if a 5 mins insight into some one’s car, house, fridge or bedroom would be more insightful!

So, let’s focus on showing you how a gap year is the icing on the cake when it comes to your CV or interview, lets take a look...

Qualifications, Skills and Traits

I am sorry to say, when I know how hard you are all working, but academics is a small part of what any employer or university are looking for. Yes, doing your best and getting high grades are important but ultimately when it gets to the interview stage everyone should have the same grades, roughly.

Just as important are your skills and traits.

Skills comprise of what you are able to do. But remember skills can be taught.

Traits are the big one.  They are about who you are, your personality, work ethic and how you approach life. These things are vital to an employer as they are almost impossible to teach and vital to get right.  You need to fit in with the existing team. This is where your best gap year stories come in handy.  Firstly, they will be more interesting than the average – school prefect story and secondly they will make you memorable to the interviewer.  I for one know that if there were 2 CV’s on my desk – same qualifications etc. – I would choose the one who sounds more interesting…a story of teaching a class of over excited African children in the Bush…you have my attention. Interview please.

Match Traits to Stories

The biggest mistake ‘gappers’ often make is to underestimate the value of their gap year. They shy away from mentioning it, or will broadly say they ‘travelled’.

Instead your gap year should be seen as a valuable, hard hitting resource. You need to show them that teamwork, communication, resilience and dedication are all part of your natural repertoire and demonstrate accordingly.

For example:

Teamwork – how about heading off to the other side of the world with a bunch of volunteers you have never met before.  That is a fairly scary proposition and I for one applaud all those who do it.  We think the first day in the play ground is tough!  Or how a team of you tracked down an injured rhino for days on end so it could receive veterinary help.  Or how a team of you protected turtle eggs from poachers.

Communication – from teaching a foreign language to getting a tuk tuk to take you to the right destination. From managing yourself when ill in a foreign hospital.

Resilience – trekking in adverse jungle conditions or sleeping night after night in uncomfortable lodgings with the mosquito’s and resident crawlies…

This is all a good start.  For more information on how to make your gap year enhance your CV or interview take a look here:  at a