Taking a gap year can be an incredibly rewarding yet nerve-wrecking experience. To help you get started, here are some ways you can make the most of your year-long break – plus they look great on your resume!

#1 See The World

This is the one time in your life that you’re not tied down to a job or school commitments, so get out of your comfort zone and broaden your horizons. Take the time to immerse yourself in the various cultures, interact with the locals and become part of their community. While indulging your wanderlust, you may also want to secure yourself an internship or a side gig in the country. Not only does it help to fund your travel expenses, it’s also a great way to gain global exposure and beef up your portfolio. Even better, it may even open up doors to potential work placements should you decide to stay on!

#2 Get An Internship

Scoring yourself an internship will not just look good on your resume for university and job applications, but also allows you to try out careers you may be hesitant in pursuing. Unlike full-time employees, interns get to start from scratch and work in a more forgiving environment. As an intern, you’ll get to learn the ropes, acquire new skills and gain a broader perspective of your desired field. On top of that, you’ll be introduced firsthand to its culture and etiquette. Internships are also a good opportunity for you to build connections and expand your network in the industry, so remember to present yourself well.

#3 Do The Side Hustle

If you are certain of what you want to pursue as a career, find jobs that are relevant to your ambitions. Getting a full-time job or part-time gig at a well-established company will be incredibly beneficial for your resume as it indicates your interest and experience in the field. Similar to internships, you will gain the vital skills to get your foot in the door of your desired industry while getting to know more about the working environment. However, you should possess basic knowledge of what the job scope entails and be prepared to commit to a longer time frame as a full-time or part-time employee. For starters, here are some side gig ideas you can consider.

#4 Go Freelance

Do you consider yourself innovative and have a spectacular idea up your sleeve? Take the year to bring it to fruition! Whether it’s a self- initiated business startup, a screenplay or a social movement for a meaningful cause, this will serve as a great stepping stone for your future endeavours while highlighting your creativity and drive. Before jumping straight into it, do note that not every venture will be successful on your first try, so be prepared to commit if you want your personal project to gain traction.

#5 Shadow A Professional

Take the initiative to reach out to a working professional in the field of your choice. Shadowing a professional, especially in professions that require a lot of real-world experience, will allow you to learn some tried-and-tested tips from seasoned veterans. A recommendation from a person in their position will go a long way in boosting your chances in university and job applications as well. Moreover, it’s a fantastic way to establish a good relationship with your mentor while making your mark in the industry. However, do note that they’re doing you a favour at the end of the day, so be polite when approaching them and don’t expect a salary.

#6 Kickstart Your Own Project

Do you consider yourself innovative and have a spectacular idea up your sleeve? Take the year to bring it to fruition! Whether it’s a self- initiated business startup, a screenplay or a social movement for a meaningful cause, this will serve as a great stepping stone for your future endeavours while highlighting your creativity and drive. Before jumping straight into it, do note that not every venture will be successful on your first try, so be prepared to commit if you want your personal project to gain traction.

#7 Volunteer For A Cause

If there’s a cause you feel strongly for, dedicate some time to extend your services to organisations that help promote or support it. This could be done overseas or locally, and is usually defined by short-term projects. In this case, the intangible benefits clearly outweigh the pragmatic benefits of a well-rounded CV. If you’ve already taken on a full-time position yet still wish to get involved, you can still choose to o er your help over the weekends – be it helping out at the old folks home, or rolling up your sleeves at a local soup kitchen. Here’s a list of volunteer organisations to check out.

#8 Never Stop Learning

If you’re considering applying to overseas universities, you may want to take certain tests that are widely recognised such as the SATs to boost your application. Likewise, you can pick up a new skill related to your desired field of study to give you a headstart. Skills like coding, data analysis and web development will give you a competitive edge in this day and age, especially with the growing influence of social media – and you can easily sign up for free online courses to help brush up your skillset. As the saying goes, the more you learn the more places you’ll go!

This article was adapted from Teenage Vol.30 Issue 2.

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