Have you ever taken a career break due to family or personal reasons or taking out time to figure out things?
Ever decided to step out from the corporate world and explore something outside your field like being a travel vlogger?
Or just taking a gap year to relax and know your strengths? Ever wondered if it is ok to have a gap year on your CV?
By the end of this blog, you will have an idea about what is a gap year and what things you need to do before restarting your career after a gap year.
What is a Gap Year?
A gap year is also known as a sabbatical year and is usually a long year gap in your career before or after university or college during which students engage themselves in various activities and try to explore different fields to stand out from the crowd. It is usually a 12-month break or can even be more depending on your reason for taking a gap year.
An opportunity to get a break for self-reflection is necessary but it is always advised to do something productive during those times as a productive gap year can be valuable on your resume. If you have a gap year on your resume don’t be afraid, try to show the skills you attained during your time off. In your CV you can show what you’ve learned with exposure during that year that cannot be learned in a classroom.
The term “gap year” is mostly applied to students who usually take a break from regular studies between high school and sometimes after graduation to prepare themselves for entering the workforce.
The other common names for gap year include pathway, pre-year, leap year, drop year, overseas experience, or foundation year.
Why Take a Gap Year?
Taking a gap year to find your best fit or trying to shift to another career or enhancing your skills is normal. Back in 2005 Harvard Business Review conducted a survey and found out that 37 percent of highly qualified women and 24 percent of men, left their careers at some point in time intending to return to work.
Also, a career gap year or adult gap year is now normalized in the employment sector, especially, after the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are many reasons why people take a gap year. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, around 73% of women take a gap year due to family reasons and 47% of males take a break for personal reasons. But whatever could be the reason for the gap year there will come a time when you will want to jump back to the career ladder.
When you are planning to take up a gap year you should consider how various activities will help you grow in the long run, contribute to a good cause, gain a deeper understanding of your field of interest, etc.
So if you are taking a gap year remember to brush up on your skills to increase your market value.
5 Things To Do Before Restarting Your Career After a Gap Year
If you are someone who is in this situation or is planning to take a gap year then you must surely consider these things which will increase your chances of taking off your flight successfully.
1. Update Your Resume With Gap Year
It’s common for a candidate that a gap year in their resume will ruin their career or have a bad impression.
However, instead of seeing it negatively and being underconfident, use this as your strength. Showcase all the skills and experience you gained during your gap year. Explain how the skills you acquired with help you grow shortly and how you will be an asset to the company.
If you haven’t worked for a certain period, don’t hide it. Just keep in mind that don’t ever lie in your resume.
When you start searching for your first job after a gap year, don’t forget your existing connections. They can be of great help, especially to your professional careers on LinkedIn.
Spend some time reaching out to your previous colleagues, connections and friends, and family, and let them know that you’re searching for a new position. They may have a perfect job for you or will help you point the right direction.
Don’t wait for others to approach you to take your first step i.e approach and then see how everything will start working out.
3. Get Ready For your Interview
Before attending your interview make sure that you have prepared well regarding your gap year. You may be asked why you took it and how will the skills you acquired during that period help you.
Remember honesty is the first step. Make it clear what you did during that period and why you decided that it was the right decision for you during that time. You can tailor your answer to show how you can be the best fit for the role you are applying for.
Believe in yourself and never stop climbing the ladder of success.
4. Show You’re Serious with Your Certification
If you previously worked in a rapidly changing field that is constantly growing with the economy such as IT or Digital Marketing you can learn about the changes in these fields and re-gain the skills before steeping into the industry again.
Earning a certification can help you speed up again. Also, your market value will increase too as you will have your past learning and experience along with new learnings. A certificate will give you an advantage over a competing job candidate who doesn’t have a career gap but also lacks credibility and expertise.
Add certification to the skills you acquired during the gap year for differentiation.
5. Be Confident
Whether you have been away from work for 12 months or 2 years getting back on track can be difficult. But with confidence and determination, you can surely tackle it.
If you are unable to cope then ask for help. If you are uncertain ask your friends and family for feedback to know where your strengths lie. If you think your skills are not up-to-date then take a refresher course.
Look at the competitors, read the latest articles of your industry, and research industry trends. Acknowledge yourself with the newest market trends. If you know about these it will help you to be much more confident, especially during the interviews.
Do anything but never quit.
Taking a gap year is more common than you might think, but the stigma is that how you will fill that void.
Everyone is different, all our career ladder is different. Sometimes we tend to climb a different ladder which takes us to a different road. So at that time, it’s fine to take a break to find your ladder. If you want to explore something out of your field then go for it and again if you feel like return back to your workplace then too you are welcome. Do anything but never give up!
If you want to know more about a gap year or think you need counseling then feel free to avail the of Mindler’s Online Career Counseling.