If your child has a certain career in mind or perhaps isn’t entirely sure what their next step in life should be, taking the time off to try something new and improve their skills can help them make the right decisions and be more prepared for their future career. A gap year can be whatever your child needs; it can include traveling, working, volunteering, or simply taking the time off to unwind and think things through.

However, considering that impressing employers and landing a dream job is never an easy task, it’s important for your child to use the time they have wisely. With that in mind, here are a few ways in which making the most of their gap year can improve your child’s chances of choosing the right career and being qualified for it.

They can gain useful skills

Your child can use the gap year to develop some useful skills that will set them apart from their peers when competing for a job. These skills can be anything from painting and drawing to improving their IT knowledge and learning a new language. Speaking a foreign language, for example, is an extremely valuable skill in almost every field of work, so it will definitely boost your child’s qualifications. And who knows, by learning new skills, they might even discover a talent they never knew they had, or they could fall in love with their new hobby and choose to make a career out of it.

They can figure out what they really want

Not everybody knows exactly what career path they want to pursue, and sometimes kids just need to take a break from all the studying and recharge their batteries. So, using the gap year to relax, travel and just think about what they want to do in life will help your child not make a mistake and waste time doing something they don’t really enjoy. If you live in Australia, fun and safe trips like Fiji schoolies might be just the thing your child needs; there are plenty of activities to do and people to meet, which will surely help your child regain their motivation and figure out what they want to do next

They can get a job

The gap year can be a perfect time for your child to get some work experience. Having a job will help them become more responsible, organise better, learn how to work as a team and communicate with their coworkers, and earn some extra money. Also, if your child finds a job that is related to the career they wish to pursue, it can show the future potential employees that your kid is committed, motivated, and ambitious, which will certainly go in your child’s favor. Not to mention that having some experience in their desired field of work will surely place your child ahead of their peers; it will show the potential employers that your child is already familiar with everything that might be expected of them, which will definitely improve your child’s chances of getting their dream job sooner or later.

They can use the time to volunteer

Just like getting a job, volunteering can help your child build useful skills such as teamwork, planning, leadership and problem-solving. Volunteering also shows that they are compassionate and committed to making a difference in the world, and it can earn your kid some great references later. Your child can even volunteer abroad, which can help them get out of their comfort zone, become more independent, and learn more about not only other cultures but themselves as well. More importantly, putting themselves into uncomfortable situations and being able to assimilate into a foreign environment shows the potential employers that your child is brave, adventurous and able to adapt to whatever comes their way. Also, volunteering abroad is an experience that will surely give your child a lot to talk about.

They can find useful connections

Volunteering, getting a job, or learning a new language can help your child connect with different people both locally and internationally – and you never know where they can find the most valuable relationships. Some of the people they meet can help your child pursue their career choice by recommending them to the right people or simply offering a piece of advice when needed. Everyone they meet can teach them something new, so gaining new contacts, socializing and being open to different perspectives can help your child decide who they want to be.

Life isn’t all about school and work, so taking the time off to freshen up and figure things out can help your child become more confident about who they are as a person. By gaining new skills, experiences, and friends, your child is more likely to make the right decisions when the time comes to choose their career path – and more likely to enjoy it.

About Author

Isabel F. William

Body & Mind Balance Consultant. Lover of literature and philosophy, runner, and Tai Chi master. She believes that sometimes it is just enough to enjoy a really good book, smooth jazz and a cup of coffee to travel somewhere else.

28 Comments

  1. Great tips! So many people don’t know what they would like to do when they finish studying and opt for a gap year. It’s important for them to make the most of that time well.

  2. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!!! I honestly believe most children need to take a gap year before starting their college/university degrees! I just don’t think that a (depending on the country you’re in) 16/17/18 year old knows enough about what they want at that age so a gap year or two is perfect to learn more about themselves so they can make a better decision.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Zahra

  3. Great post! I never took a gap year because I knew what I wanted to do and decided to keep going. I know others who perhaps could have used that time. My fear was always getting too used to being out of school and have a hard time adjusting back to it again.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Shubhada Bhide on

    These are really great and informative post. I agree that Gap year can influence child’s career. With this, they can decide properly for what is the best career for them.

  5. Such an informative and useful post. Yes mom should know in what time they have to influence their child for career.

  6. I was afraid of taking a gap myself. But these options are amazing. The child can be benefitted from the gap year. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I actually took a gap year myself after highschool, unintentionally lol but it worked out perfectly. However, gap year after uni is a tricky one. I feel if you don’t use the time wisely it can reflect badly on you when you do go forward to apply for jobs. Lovely post 🙂 (www.spicyfusionkitchen.com and http://www.beautywithzainy.com)

  8. I recently read about gap year in a book….we don’t have that gap year concept in our education system. After reading your post on gap year and how to use it to enhance the career option….I know more about gap year….thank you for sharing the pointers….

  9. I’m so on board with this philosophy! I went to university right after high school, and I was ill-prepared emotionally. It was a difficult transition, and I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Instead of spending my time in school exploring and finding myself, I was simply in a rush to graduate and get a job. I think I would have gotten a lot more out of my education had I taken a gap year to travel and grow. 🙂

  10. It’s true though gap years can do wonders. I wanted to become a makeup artist but I took a gap year tried out different courses and now I’ve chosen something completely different and I think I’m happier.

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