What to do after a gap year

Have you taken a break between school and taking on full-time study or work? Find out how you can apply your gap year experience to your studies and shape your career.

Nick Hare wouldn’t have a successful business today if it weren’t for the fact he took a gap year. At 17, Hare left Australia to head to the UK to spend a year working at a boarding school. After twelve months spent overseas, he returned home and embarked on a Bachelor of Business degree.

As part of a uni assignment he put together a hypothetical business plan to start a company that looks after organising gap years. Today, Hare is the director of Letz Live – a business that does just that. He credits the learnings he took from his gap year towards not only moulding his studies, but also his career.

What to do after a gap year

How your gap year experience can help you study

After taking a gap year, it’s likely that the time off has helped you discover something you’re passionate about and consider your career goals. The change of scenery and having worked away from home would have allowed you to reevaluate and identify your strengths and discover an aptitude for a certain line of work. This can ultimately help you get much more out of your studies, as you now know what you want to achieve.

Hare says his gap year gave him the motivation to return home and throw himself into his studies.

“I found when I came back I just wanted to knuckle down,” says Hare. “I wanted to be the young guy that was ticking all the boxes. I was much more motivated to come back and do what I needed to do.”

How to use your gap year to benefit your career

Taking a year off – whether it be heading overseas to volunteer at an orphanage, working in the ski fields or leaving your hometown to live in another state – not only helps you grow as a person but also opens you up to different career paths that you mightn’t have considered. Time spent volunteering overseas at a school may help you realise that you really enjoy working with young people and would like to pursue a career in education.

For Hare it was discovering that his passion lay in travel. This realisation ultimately led to the career he has today. “Being away really opens your eyes,” Hare says. “Not knowing much about the world and going to the opposite side of the world is phenomenal and broadens your horizons. It opens your eyes to different people, different cultures. And through those connections you can make friends around the world.”

Looking to land a job now that your gap year is over? Be sure to include your travel and working experience on your CV. Highlight the skills you developed on your gap year such as problem solving, communicating effectively with others and also having the confidence to take on new challenges. In addition to the study you’re completing (or completed) this can give you a point of difference from other applicants who have just listed similar tertiary qualifications.