With the global economy still struggling to emerge from the Great Recession and the financial markets lurching from one crisis to another today’s world is not a very stable place.
Jobs are harder to come by as competition grows ever fiercer between all corners of society. Being a graduate no longer means you’re guaranteed a job, instead you have to prove and fight to show you’re the best person for a job.
It may sound counterproductive but one of the ways to appeal to a potential employer is to pack your bags and travel the world. Experience is often more desirable than a long list of qualifications and what can offer you more life experience than travelling the world?
We take a look at the pros and cons of a post grad gap year.
As mentioned previously, experience is often the most desired employers seek. On most job advertisements it says they want someone with a few years of experience. You may not have on-the- job experience, but after travelling you’ll certainly have plenty of real world life experience, and that is something that is often appealing to potential employers. It also looks amazing on a CV. The extra experience you will gather on your travels will highlight you as a well rounded candidate and will give you the edge against the competition.
If you have a career goal in mind, aim your travels at it. If you want to become a marine biologist, embark on an eco-tour to somewhere like the Great Barrier Reef. There are plenty of specialised trips aimed at all sorts of possible careers.
Another great option is to volunteer for overseas charities. Teaching abroad is also an excellent way for you to stand out as it shows a willingness to adapt and that you have confidence and character.
Travelling is expensive and unfortunately unless you have the financial backing for flights, visas and food then you’re not going to get very far. The best way around excessive costs is to volunteer for either charity led or government funded expeditions.
Another downer to travelling the world is that you tend to lose contact with home. With the job market being so tight and with so many grads searching for work you could miss out on some good job opportunities whilst away. Being abroad without an Internet connection in a developing nation or not being able to commit to a casual meet-and-greet can set some students back in the job-hunting process.
In the end taking a gap year is a gamble but it is one that often pays off, and if it doesn’t land you a job as soon as you return you’ll have those experiences to cherish forever.