Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Gap year - good for you, good for your CV?

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After 3, 4 or even 5 years of hard work, study and more, it's not surprising that some students don't feel ready to plunge headlong into the long working life that lies ahead of them. It can seem awfully tempting to take a gap year. Is this a good idea?

Well, chances are that if you really don't feel ready to start work (as opposed to not knowing what you want to do - in which case come in and talk to us!) - that you may really not be ready to. And chances equally are that that will come through to an employer.

So the question is then, how long a gap would you like? Some of the jobs we advertise wouldn't start until September - and you might find that 3 months of downtime is actually quite enough, no matter how good home cooking is. But you may have a really bad case of itchy feet - the travel bug - call it what you will. A real yearning to see somewhere different. In which case, now is an excellent time to plan that, before you get into the world of booking your two weeks vacation in the summer and wishing it was longer......

To help you decide, and plan, we have a great guide to Taking a Gap Year. It talks about the practicalities - such as timing applying for jobs and availability for interviews - unsurprisingly, companies are not keen on flying you back from darkest Peru for an interview and may decline your application. But with the proper planning, you can get some meaningful short-term work experience to save up money, while applying for 2018 entry graduate jobs in the UK, and then explore the charms of your chosen corner of the planet in the knowledge you have a fantastic job to come back to.

If you want to 'do something' on your travels - rest assured that employers look very kindly on that kind of experience - a willingness to 'give back' is increasingly important. And we have a comprehensive Charity, Volunteering and Gap Year database with listings of organisations offering opportunities.

So - how to fund your travels? It's definitely best if you can get some experience that is going to be relevant to the career you want to go into. So if you get a short-term job in a cafe, that would be really good customer service experience, for example. And working in an office on a temporary contract could develop commercial awareness as well as administrative skills. So look in your local area - and also on sites like Graduate Talent Pool, full of short-term, paid internships for graduates. One of them might be perfect for you! But when all is said and done - an employer is going to see that you have decided to take a gap year, planned it, worked and organised your time to enable it to happen, and absorbed other cultures and broadened your horizons. Definitely that makes you the sort of well-rounded individual they say they are after - so what are you waiting for?

 

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