Make your CV stand out!
So you've decided to take a gap year - great! This should mean that you’re taking some time out to disengage from curricular education and/or work to spend some time doing something worthwhile and to enjoy life!
A gap year can be what you want it to be. It can involve work, volunteering, travel, experiences, courses, relaxation and so much more. But what are you going to get out of it? You should use the time carefully and perhaps consider doing something which benefits your personal development, CV, university studies and ultimately your employment opportunities.
Here at Gap Year Diver we provide you with the opportunity to join a ‘structured’ overseas gap year placement. There’s certainly a lot of enjoyment to be experienced with the diving, but there’s also quite a few skills you can learn on each of our expeditions that could look pretty good on your CV when read by a University Admissions person and/or a potential employer. Imagine being able to put down things like:
- Fully qualified in first aid for emergency response situations
- Fully qualified PADI dive instructor with work experience in a busy dive centre
- Teaching and customer service experience
- Fluent in Spanish
- Qualified Red Sea Research Assistant’ etc
These are just a few things that you might be able to state on your CV, but there are also a lot of other inter-personal and transferable skills that you will develop on our expeditions. Skills like organisation, initiative, research, teaching, communication, motivation, self-discipline, responsibility, leadership, team work, languages, independent learning and project work are just a few keywords you could use. These skills will not only develop you as an individual, but when used in your CV you'll be able to relate to real life situations and demonstrate how they're applied and perhaps how you’ve been able to benefit.
Below you will see a list of skills that you might use on your CV after completing one of our programmes. This is not an exhaustive list of skills but it should give you an idea about how you might relate to the skill(s):
Research and Planning
Well you're planning a gap year - that's a good start. You should be able to demonstrate your research techniques and how you planned your gap year. What did you look for and how did you do the research? When you decided to join us, what further research and planning did you do? What financial planning was necessary in order to make your gap year experience a reality? Things like this may seem a little dull, but they do demonstrate that you can research and plan things independently – skills which you’ll need at university and in employment.
Are you joining us for a long time? What did you have to do before your trip to make the trip happen? Did you have to schedule part-time work around studies? How did you go about organising your social life, finances, job etc? What did you have to arrange aside from the programme with us to make it all happen? The organisation and planning demonstrates your ability to organise things properly in order to meet deadlines (or your departure date).
On some of our projects you will be teaching. This involves discipline, confidence, commitment and a degree of authority / responsibility. You might find yourself teaching to your peers on an instructor course in the Red Sea or speaking to large school groups on conservation projects in places like Fiji, The Bahamas and Indonesia.
In many places in which we operate there are no large classrooms where you can drift off at the back! Computer access is limited and in some places mobile phones may not work at all – so there’s no hiding behind screens! You'll enjoy speaking to people in person and meeting new people. When you're learning there's a huge amount of discussions as well. This allows more interaction and makes the learning more rewarding and enjoyable. If you do a professional level training course then you can also expect to brief people, present in classrooms and talk to people about what you have learnt on the programme.
Motivation and Self-Discipline
We provide plenty of support and guidance but we are not necessarily there to hand-hold. A gap year is about personal development and we want you to be motivated with a degree of self-discipline to get the courses and work completed. You’ll have experience in time management and there will be many days that you’ll need to dig deep to motivate yourself to get your work done. This requires a lot of self-discipline and you’ll learn quickly to adapt.
You'll be travelling overseas to a foreign country. You will have to take responsibility for your own actions and safety as well as the safety and well-being of other customers. You'll learn to think less about 'me' and more about 'us' when you study and work as a team.
On many of our professional Divemaster and Instructor trips you will receive leadership training. This is because the professional role requires you to be a leader and to take responsibility for others. You will guide customers on dives, assist instructor, supervise classes and even conduct your own classes on instructor training programmes.
Team and Project Work
Nearly everything you do will be as a team. Whether it be with a dive buddy or as a larger group. You’ll find yourself supporting each other through an IDC in Egypt, working as a team to build a Biorock in Indonesia, encouraging each other in remote places in Venezuela or conducting line-transect surveys on conservation projects. Working as a team demonstrates your ability to listen to one another, express ideas and motivate one another to get a task completed.
In places like Venezuela and Costa Rica we include Spanish as part of the programmes. The learning is essential for the areas but the ability to speak a foreign language at conversational level, or even fluently, adds another string to your bow! You may find that an additional language is required for a job that you really want to do.
PADI training involves two levels of study. The first element is tutor / instructor led. You will be taught about a course in a classroom and then taught the associated skills in the water. The second level of learning revolves around you doing homework and finding time to complete the skills. Independent learning is particularly common on Divemaster and Instructor level training programmes and you’ll find the skill particularly useful when you’re at university researching for exams and your thesis.
On many of our professional level training projects we offer a CV workshop. This provides an ideal opportunity for our customers to start thinking about personal statements and how best to layout their CV. Doing this overseas ensures that the correct credentials are added to your CV and that you can talk to people about how best to sell yourself and your new skills! We’re also here in the UK office upon your return and will gladly provide guidance and input towards your CV and write any reference letters you may require.