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What is a Gap Year

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Standing Out From The Crowd

When you dedicate the vast majority of the first quarter of your life to schooling (plus the costs involved in getting an education) it is imperative to ensure that you make the most of your education and begin to set yourself up for the “real world”. In order to take advantage of the skills that you have learned, there are a various extra-curricular activities you can do to ensure that you get the most out of what you have paid for. Internships, part-time jobs and volunteer work are the best ways to not only benefit yourself long term but you cannot go wrong with having a little extra “coin” in the pocket right now.


Professional internships are often one of the best ways to further educate yourself about your specific field and to gather an abundance of reputable networks for potential future jobs. It goes without saying that having internship will look good on your resume and instantly impress potential employers. Internships are also a great way to get a shoe in the door into a particular company. Going forward, as you have already gained first-hand experience of the business and its culture, you will have a huge advantage over your competitor’s when the time comes to hire new graduates. Which would you prefer – blindly applying for the role with potentially hundreds of other candidates or being able to reach out to one of your contacts within the business?

Part-Time/ Casual Jobs:

Generally speaking most university students will aim to work part-time during their studies. Not only will you learn real life experiences and grow your networking contacts, it is also possible to make a reasonable income which will help in creating a more balanced approach to your university life. It goes without saying that if you can get a job in your chosen field, this can certainly benefit you going forward. However, any type of job will still be considered as work experience to future prospective employers.

Volunteer Work

Volunteer work is extremely popular amongst graduates. It can be a way of making a difference in the world whilst accumulating experience. It also looks impressive on a resume. Performing volunteer work can teach you an abundance of life skills and provide you with the opportunity to help those in need or to raise funds for a cause that you feel strongly about. In the cut throat world of job seeking, having volunteer work on your resume is always a positive and portrays a positive image and good first impression to the hiring manager.

Does Your Resume Stand Out?

When applying for graduate positions the more value added experience you can include on the resume the greater your chance of finding success. By performing extra-curricular activities, working part time or volunteering your time, will give you an edge over other job candidates who only share similar educational backgrounds to yourself. Remember that as a graduate you need to distinguish yourself from the crowd and brand yourself as a well-rounded job candidate.

Top 10 Winter Jobs for College Students

With winter slowly drawing upon us and the weather starting to get colder, it is time for the resume writing team to provide our college student readers with the best winter jobs. Each new season brings about different seasonal jobs and although you may only be looking for a part-time role to get through the winter, there are plenty of fantastic opportunities to utilize this time to further your career. Who knows, a career change could be right around the corner!

Always ensure that your professional resume is updated and ready to be forwarded to a hiring manager. When applying for seasonal jobs you need to highlight your skills and focus these skills toward the jobs you apply for. Don’t be turned off if you don’t have experience or if you lack a certain type of skill. The art of writing a good resume includes highlighting the skills you have and how these skills can be an asset.

One last thing to remember – don’t forget to network. No matter what type of work you perform, you should always network. Having an up-to-date LinkedIn account that matches your professional resume will further aid you in the job search.

Start your own businesses – An online business can be a cheap and effective way to make money over the winter. Do you have a unique skill that you can offer? That people would pay money for your service?

Barista – Learn to make coffees and stay warm at the same time!

IT Support – If you have the IT skills, then you can provide IT support. This also looks great on your resume!

Social Media: Do you have skills associated with social media? Setting up Facebook fan pages or optimizing LinkedIn profiles is a skill. You may take it for granted, but there are many people and companies who will pay good money for help with their social media

Writer: If you have strong English skills there are literally hundreds of freelancing jobs that could be right for you. With websites such as, you can set up a profile in seconds and begin applying for jobs.

Copywriter: Again, do you have strong English skills? Use these skills as a copywriter

Translator: Do you speak more than one language? If so there are opportunities waiting for you as a translator. Utilize your language skills and start earning money.

Work in Retail – With Christmas fast approaching many retailers will look to hire many part-time or casual staff to help with the extra demand. It may not be the most stimulating job, but it’s still a good way to make some extra cash on the side.

Ski Resort Jobs: If you like the snow, there is no better job than working on the slopes. From a ski instructor to a coffee server, working in the resorts is a great way to combine skiing/snowboarding while still being able to afford to go out and enjoy yourself. For such case you need to know how to find out what is a combination resume.

Snow Shoveler: A fantastic winter job for the college student. Make good money and get fit at the same time – It’s not easy work, but a job that needs to be done.

Top 20 Best Summer Jobs

Ideally the best thing you can do is try to find an internship which is related to your degree or passion. One of my favorite rockers, Ozzy Osbourne worked in a slaughterhouse before rising to fame with Black Sabbath! This is the best way to gain real life experience as well as having something terrific to put on your resume. For example, if you’re studying business then an Intern in a big financial bank would be fantastic and also good pay (but long hours!) In reality however you have left finding an internship to the last moment and now you find yourself searching for a summer job that pays well without consuming your entire summer.

No matter what job you’re doing over the summer never forget to network. Speak to people, ask questions, learn new skills and most importantly have fun.

And if you think you’re too good for a summer job think again. Some of the biggest stars in the world spent their summer mopping floors at a local Dairy Queen (Gwen Stefani) or saved up some extra cash as a paper boy (Tom Cruise). Matthew McConaughey found himself short of cash when travelling around Australia (before he was famous) and took a job on a farm moving chicken manure.

Top 20 Summer Jobs:

  • Sales: The skills you learn in a sales job will help you for the rest of your life.
  • Post office worker (great pay!)
  • National Park services
  • Camp counsellors (not great pay but accommodation and food is free)
  • Resort or country club (Get paid to live by the pool)
  • Tour guide
  • Restaurant staff
  • Web design
  • Tutoring (Be your own boss – great pay!)
  • Telemarketing – Can you sell? Are you a talented speaker? Telemarketers may annoy you but the good ones can make a lot of money
  • Campus Jobs – Working in the labs – Check out jobs area in your university
  • Construction worker
  • Valet
  • Pet and House Sitting
  • Writing articles for sites that will pay you
  • Convention Worker – Is the boat show in town?
  • Landscaping
  • Lifeguards
  • Dog walker
  • Barista

The alternative to going straight into a job or post-graduate education after college is a gap year where you can partake in many different types of activities in endless locations. Below are some of the main ways individuals might choose for spending their year between graduation and their next step.

Remember that even a gap year isn’t free from your overall career development. Be sure to articulate the skills you’ve learned through your experiences and translate them into accomplishments to future employers. Even if it’s not directly related to your industry, you should be able to identify transferable skills you’ve gained.

gap year


If you have the resources to do it, traveling locally or internationally is a great option. Before you get settled into a job and particular lifestyle, you may want to take the opportunity to expose yourself to different places and cultures in the world. It’s definitely possible to travel while you’re older but it does get trickier with a job, family and bills to pay.

Teach English Abroad

There are more and more opportunities to teach English abroad with a college degree. Some require special Teaching English as Foreign Language (TEFL) certifications, while others only require mastery of the English language. Some programs will also pay well to teach English for the academic year. Make sure to research programs thoroughly as some provide housing and orientation, while others pay you a salary, and still there are some programs requiring fees to participate in their programs. I’ve seen plenty of programs that will pay YOU for teaching so there’s no need to go for a program with high fees.

Service Programs

There are both national and international programs that allow you to live in a particular location while giving back to the community. In the U.S. there are many different service programs, including a national AmeriCorps program through the government. You won’t make a lot of money this way (actually you’ll learn to live simply and scrape by) but you’ll get a unique experience and gain valuable working skills. Many national programs, including faith-based ones, allow you to earn hours and receive an educational grant towards student loans or future education with the completion of required hours. There are international programs both religiously affiliated and secular, some will provide housing and a living stipend especially if your time commitment is 1-2 years, but beware—there are a lot of organizations out there with steep program fees for participation. Make sure to do your research before choosing a program and feel free to utilize your network to see if you have any connections in the area you want to be in.

Forge Your Own Path

I once had a classmate who spent his summer on an Alaskan fishing vessel. And no, he wasn’t from Alaska or studying anything to do with fishing. The point is there are lots of ways to find unique opportunities to do something that interests you.

You only live once, why not go for it?


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