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Gap year advice for graduates

A well-organised gap year largely spent overseas is a powerful way of developing many of the personal characteristics that my company seeks in graduate recruits: initiative in planning the year, the commercial and influencing skills often deployed in raising money at the start, the teamwork involved in many projects, the drive that is needed to succeed in a very different environment and the international perspective developed from immersion in another culture. Above all the experience as a whole builds confidence -the confidence that comes from tackling a major challenge and succeeding.

Retired recruiter of a major international company

Why take a gap year after uni?

Those that take a gap year on leaving school are said to arrive at university refreshed and focused. What is more they are far more likely to complete their chosen course and get good degrees. If those students needed a gap year before university how much more do graduates need to recharge their batteries before starting a job? This is just one of many reasons why graduates may wish to take a gap year but as each gap year program is unique to the individual participant, the full list of reasons is too long to cover here.

There is however one major difference when taking a gap year on graduation compared with earlier namely the imminent task of securing that all important first job. Employers will be searching CVs and covering letters to spot those that stand out from the crowd. A well structured gap year program can help you achieve just this. At the same time it can offer you an exciting, challenging and valuable opportunity that can and probably will enrich your life forever.

What are the benefits of a gap year?

While a gap year will give you an opportunity to recharge your batteries and really begin to think about your future, it should be used to achieve much more. If you have given some early thought in the planning stages to consider your strengths, weaknesses, values, experience and career aims, you can develop your gap year program to help you build on strengths, overcome your weaknesses and gain valuable experience.

Employers are looking for people that can hit the ground running and be effective almost immediately. This means that in your CV, the covering letter and interview you will need to demonstrate that you have the necessary skills and experience to do the job in question. Time and time again those that have enjoyed a well structured gap year program have been able to draw on their gap year experiences to show that they have what it takes.