What do Steve Jobs, J.K Rowling and Hugh Jackman have in common? Well, they took a gap year before pursuing careers which led to their success!
A ‘gap year’ can happen more than once – it is not limited to taking time off before joining college or university; it can also occur after graduation and before entering the workforce. Let’s face it, many of us (from average income families) can only dream of taking time off to pursue other interests or skills remotely related to our chosen field of study. In fact, if you told anyone that you intend to do something else other than getting a job after graduation, you would be at the receiving end of strange looks and comments not only from your parents but also friends.
The reality, however, appears that taking a gap year has its perks and actually helps graduates to be better equipped to secure a job.
Here’s why taking a ‘gap year’ may be worth giving a thought before you decide to pursue your ‘dream job’.
1. Time to spread your wings and gain new skills
After four years of studying hard for a degree, a gap year presents time to unwind and focus on upskilling yourself. Be it an internship or volunteering for a cause close to your heart which helps you acquire leadership skills, taking on a part-time job in a different field and signing up for courses such as coding, digital marketing, etc to be tech savy, all these constitute added skills valued by prospective employers.
2. Opportunity to reflect and determine your future career plans
There are many graduates out there who may be still figuring out their future career plans even after graduation. A gap year experience truly gives you time to learn more about yourself! The time off helps you determine your strengths and interests which would eventually help in charting your future career plans.
3. Raise your cultural awareness
Travelling or working abroad allows you to experience new cultures and sensitivities. Collaborating with people from different backgrounds allows you to be a team player and expand your network of friends.
4. Increase your language power
As the world today is becoming borderless, most companies nowadays look to employ individuals who are proficient in many different languages. By working abroad, you can pick up a new language which would be a great asset when applying for a job with leading MNCs or international organisations.
5. Increase your confidence and independence
Employers seek to employ individuals who are self-motivated and can work independently or under minimal supervision. Taking on a part-time job or an internship helps you build these soft skills which are crucial at the workplace.
Above all, there is no ‘right way’ of taking a gap year as each individual is different. It is advisable to do something that allows you to develop new skills and knowledge to remain relevant and gain a competitive edge.