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July 7, 2022, by Leah Sharpe

I Want to Take a Year Out After Graduation. What Will Employers Think?

By Katie Ray, Employability Education Projects Officer

Employers are looking for more than just a degree when recruiting graduates. So, when done right, taking time out after graduation can be an amazing way to boost your CV and make you stand out amongst the crowd. Not only that, but it gives you space and time to consider what you really want, which will boost your confidence when entering the job market.

What you do with your gap year is individual to you. Gap years traditionally have been attributed to spending time abroad, travelling and working. But there is so much more you can do. You could volunteer, start a personal project, learn a new craft or language, complete some online courses. Options are endless!

What is important is that you can explain what you have gained from your time out and how it will add value to whatever role you apply for next. Having a year off sitting about watching Netflix might be hard to justify to any prospective employers…

Have a plan!

In the grand scheme of things, a year is not a very long time and has a habit of passing us by very quickly. You can easily fall into a trap where you lose momentum and focus. Be clear on what you want to achieve, learn and experience and by when. You must be organised with your approach.

If travelling is on your agenda, check out Omio, a great tool to help you plan and organise your gap year.

If you know anyone that’s taken a gap year, have a chat with them. They may be able to give you some hints and tips on what worked well for them and what they might have done differently.

Think ahead

If you’re planning on applying to graduate schemes the following year, don’t forget to factor this into your plan. Keep an eye on when recruitment processes start, so you don’t miss out. Especially if you’re travelling abroad, it may slip your mind!

Keep a diary

Remember, whatever you decide to do, keep a reflective diary of what you’ve done. This will come in super handy when you’re updating your CV and making applications. It’s easy to forget about all those transferable skills you’ve built up along the way. For example, if you’ve been travelling, you’re bound to have enhanced your communication and relationship building skills through meeting lots of new people from different backgrounds, cultures and languages. Or if you’ve been working on a personal project, you’ve most likely had to use your planning and research skills to get it off the ground and maybe had to be adaptable to any hurdles along the way.

Take a look at our Taking time out webpage for detailed support and advice.

Posted in Careers AdviceGraduating in 2022Work experience