So, you’ve returned from a year filled with incredible moments of self-discovery. Now, it’s time to tackle the unique challenge of translating those life-changing experiences into language that enhances your resume. How can you effectively communicate how experiential opportunities gave you valuable transferrable skills? 

In my personal experience as a gap year alum and my professional experience helping students transition from gap years to real life, I can tell you that being a gap year alum offers a huge advantage in the job market. Your gap year adventures set you apart from other candidates! Additionally, gap year students are often more confident as a result of their time out, and this trait is clear during the interview process. The first step to getting that interview, however, is making sure to thoughtfully communicate your gap year on your resume and cover letter.

Luckily, transforming your gap year adventures into professional wording is more achievable than you might imagine. Here are some tips to help you showcase your journey on paper in a way that resonates with potential employers:

Start with Your Exisiting Resume: No need to reinvent the wheel if you have a solid resume from before your gap time. Now you get to enhance it with your gap year activities! Your resume should include standard sections like a header with contact information, a summary, education, and work experience. If your gap year doesn’t fit neatly into these sections, simply create a separate entry detailing the dates and locations of your journey or add relevant sections like “Volunteering” or “Courses”.

Add a Skills Section: Whether it’s picking up new skills or honing existing ones, your gap year likely provided ample opportunities for personal and professional growth. Here are some examples of skills you could talk about:

Soft Skills:

Communication: Through interactions with people from diverse backgrounds, gap year students often develop strong communication skills, both verbal and non-verbal.

Adaptability: Navigating unfamiliar environments, languages, and cultures teaches adaptability and resilience, valuable traits in any professional setting.

Problem-Solving: Whether it’s finding your way in a foreign city or resolving unexpected challenges on the road, gap year experiences nurture quick thinking and problem-solving abilities.

Interpersonal Skills: Building connections with locals, fellow travelers, and volunteers hones interpersonal skills, including empathy, active listening, and conflict resolution.

Leadership: Taking initiative, organizing group activities, and leading volunteer projects showcase leadership potential developed during gap year experiences.

Hard Skills:

Language Proficiency: Immersion in foreign countries often leads to proficiency or fluency in one or more languages, a valuable asset in today’s globalized workforce.

Technical Skills: From photography and videography to website design and social media management, gap year students frequently acquire technical skills through blogging, documenting their travels, or volunteering in specific roles.

Cultural Competence: Understanding and navigating different cultures equips gap year students with cultural competence, essential for working in diverse teams and international settings.

First Aid and Safety: Many gap year programs include training in first aid and safety procedures, providing practical skills applicable in emergency situations.

Project Management: Planning and executing travel itineraries, volunteer projects, or teaching initiatives develop project management skills, including organization, time management, and budgeting.

Tailor Your Materials: Resist the urge to use a one-size-fits-all approach. Customize your resume for each job application, emphasizing experiences and skills relevant to the position you’re seeking.

For example, if you are applying to work at a summer camp and you spent part of your gap year teaching English in Cambodia, spend more time writing about that relevant experience in your cover letter and on your resume.  

Prepare for Your Interviews: While your resume provides an overview of your experiences, interviews offer the opportunity to delve deeper. Be ready to share compelling anecdotes that showcase your skills and character. Think of stories form your gap year that are relevant to the skills your potential employer is looking for.

About to begin your gap year?

 

This spring and summer, we invite you to consider EnRoute Consulting as your partner in planning your or your child’s gap year adventure. With Julia’s expertise, personalized approach, and unwavering commitment to your family’s needs, you can walk confidently in the direction of the gap year option.

Whether you’re looking for tailored program recommendations, expert guidance, or just a supportive ally to navigate the complexities of gap year planning, Julia is here to help.

All consults begin with a free introductory call. Get started by having your gapper fill our our online questionnaire and we will loop back to schedule your conversation. Get ready to help your young adult embark on a journey of exploration, growth, and unforgettable experiences with confidence and peace of mind!