Make the most of the past year

As exam season approaches and the end of the academic year draws ever nearer I’ve realised that for many of you reading this blog it’s been nearly a year since you graduated!  I thought it would be a good time to check in with you and show that whatever you might have done this year you’ll have developed skills employers will be looking for.

If you have…..

Traveled – traveling during your gap year was not only a great experience but will have helped you gain a set of skills some employers will find desirable.

  • Whilst traveling you will have experienced a rage of different cultures – Having an awareness of different cultures, traditions and practices will be particularly important when applying to large multinational organisations.
  • You may also have gained language skills something that a lot of jobs now require.
  • Employers will also be impressed with your ability to use your initiative, organise and plan you time abroad.Crossing out reactive and writing proactive on a blackboard.

Been Employed  – Whether it’s been full-time or part -time work if you’ve been employed this year you’ll have gained some great experience to put on your CV.

  • If it’s relevant to the role you are now applying for great! Really concentrate on highlighting your responsibilities, successes as well as the experiences you gained. Always remember to relate it back to the job description.
  • Even if it’s not directly relevant you will have developed a range of transferable skills such as teamwork, administrative skills, communication skills, IT skills and time management.
  • At the very least holding down a full time or part time job shows the employer that you are reliant and turn up when required!

Volunteered- This could have been anything such as volunteering in a charity shop, hospice or even on projects abroad.

  • Like employment voluntary experience can enable you to develop a range of transferable skills required/desired by employers.
  • Employers will be impressed by the commitment (without financial motivation) that you can show.
  • Although all employers will be impressed by your voluntary experience those working in social care, health care or charity sectors will particularly value this experience and your willingness to care for others or give something back to the community.
  • If you plan on working in a public facing environment experience of working with a variety of different people, communities and cultures will also be extremely valuable.

Further study – Either a conversion course, postgraduate qualification or learning a new skill.

  • Doing a conversion course will not only demonstrate you commitment to working in the area but that you are now ready to take the next steps in your career.
  • Doing a postgraduate degree will have helped you increase your knowledge of a certain area, improved your academic writing skills as well as your research and analytical skills.
  • You may also have taken a night or online course and learned a new skill. Having additional languages or IT skills may be desirable to many employers. Having a first aid qualification or an ability to sign may set you apart from other candidates.

None of the above– If your year has not been as productive as it could have been don’t panic there are ways you can still get experience.

  • Using sites such as and Volunteer England could help you find voluntary experience to build up your CV.
  • Check out night courses at your local educational institutions.
  • You may also want to approach employers and inquire about possible work shadowing opportunities. Doing this will give you an insight into how an organisation works and the day to day role of an employee. To inquire about work shadowing you’ll need to make a speculative application.

See our website for details of employability skills you may have gained during the year and for more information about how to make the most of what you’ve done this year check out our ‘Making the most of your Work Experience’ resource.

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