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Make sure your gap year doesn’t leave a gap in your CV

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Graduation Ceremony season has just begun but the pursuit for graduate jobs for many of the class of 2013 will have felt longer than the wait for a British winner at Wimbledon. Unlike Britain, many graduates will still be waiting for that win in the form of a graduate job .

However, some students are opting out of the fight for a graduate job and choosing to take a gap year. This will see people taking time out to go travelling or volunteering. The amount of students taking this option has declined in recent years, with only twelve percent of graduates opting for a gap year in 2012 compared to twenty percent in 2001.

The reason for this is because students are not only graduating with a degree but also with a mountain debt that could cast a shadow over Mount Everest. This alongside the fact that the competition for graduate jobs is fiercer than a cat fight in Eastenders means that graduates believe that spending a year travelling will see them being put at a disadvantage when they do get around to applying for jobs.
If you are considering taking a gap year but want to pursue a graduate job when you return from your year out, it is important that you spend your time wisely and have things to put on your CV other than ''frolicking around Europe for six months''. Employers want to see that you have something to show. A survey in 2010 of 214 graduate companies showed that work whether paid or voluntary was seen as much more valuable than simply travelling.

Any employment you acquire abroad will beneficial on your CV as it shows that you are not only a hardworking individual but someone who wants to broaden their horizons through travel, as well as showing your adaptability to new environments. Voluntary work is even more valuable because whilst it demonstrates your desire to broaden your horizons, it will also show dedication if you have had to raise funds. Employers will see you have gained valuable teamwork skills and that you are a compassionate individual (and rightly so).
In this economic climate, it is impossible to deny that there is pressure for graduates to hop onto the 9-5 treadmill and sweat it out for the next forty to fifty years. However, many graduates could benefit from taking time out to travel, volunteer and simply figure out what career they want to pursue rather than panicking and applying for any office job going. Gap years can be seen as a risky move, but as long as your gap year does not leave a gap in your CV then there should not be anything to worry about.
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