How a Gap Year Can Help You Professionally

Commonly called a “gap year,” a break between school and the workplace, or even between jobs, can be a good professional decision when you don’t know what your next step is. This time can help you recover from academic burnout, give you time to explore your passions, or simply give you the space you need to decide what to do next.

Whether you’ve just graduated from high school and aren’t sure if you want to go to college, or you’ve recently obtained your college degree but don’t know what your next steps should be, or if you’re considering changing careers, a gap year is something to consider.

What is a gap year?

Often, a gap year involves volunteering, travelling and/or obtaining internships. This time can be as long or as short as you like – from a few weeks to an entire year. Gap years are typically taken between high school and college or college and the workplace, but those looking to switch jobs also take this time to explore other passions or earn a new degree or credential.

Why take a gap year?

Whether it’s your choice or not, a gap year can be useful to discerning next steps personally and professionally. This time can help cultivate several important life skills: cultural awareness, independence, communication, self-confidence, and decision making, just to name a few.

For instance, if you choose to travel internationally during this time, you simultaneously experience different cultures, people and languages. This gives you a more rounded view of the world and your place in it. Plus, learning a new language can make you an attractive job candidate in the future.

How can a gap year help my career?

A break between school and the workplace can better prepare you for your future career simply by taking one. The experiences you have, and the lessons you learned, during your gap year are the perfect things to put on your resume and talk about in an interview. The unique experiences and skills you collect along the way are a surefire way to stand out from a crowd of applicants.

If you can’t physically travel for your gap year, there are still plenty of chances to take a break virtually, whether through social media or an online learning platform. This experience allows you to meet different people in different stages of life, giving you the chance to learn how to work with many personalities, which is a very attractive trait to any future employer. In addition, a gap year filled with service projects or internships provides you the opportunity to grow your communication and leadership skills – both of which look fantastic on a resume.

Trying to figure out your next steps can be difficult. It helps to have someone like the recruiting experts at The Reserves Network in your corner to guide you through your job search or career change when you’re ready. Give your local office a call today to learn more.