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Want to take a working gap year before going into education?

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Raising money to take to uni with you can be difficult, especially if you’re looking for a job that will also boost your CV and not destroy your soul in the meantime. I did just that after graduating from my undergraduate degree and saving money for a Masters.

With long graduate schemes and unpaid internships a no-no, this is what I learned.

If at first you don’t succeed, try again

I started the year by working in a bar. The hours were long and tiring, and my terrible sense of balance meant more than a few pints ended up on the floor. I kept applying for jobs though, and after a couple of months found my second – as a bra-fitter. Still not very glamorous. But while doing both these jobs part-time, I kept applying for different things, started photocopying for a local secondary school, and was soon promoted to full-time UCAS adviser! As well as my determination (or as my mum puts it, annoying stubbornness) paying off in the end, I also got a lot of interview practice

Get as much out of the job as you can, not just money

Saving up cash might be your first priority, but why not add to your CV at the same time? Measuring people for bras = excellent handling of awkward situations. Organising 200 sixth formers = infinite and miraculous patience. Working in a school, I got a lot more skills from my job just by helping with other things, including making costumes for the school play and filling in for colleagues. Woop – a bigger bank of skills and way less boredom. I’m pretty sure it helped me get my current job, which I do whilst studying, so I can testify to how a bit of skills-gaining pays off!

Look on the bright side

Something that I wasn’t expecting was the feeling of being left behind as my friends zoomed ahead of me, getting fancy internships or moving straight into further study, while I moved back in with my parents and started scrimping. The number one trick? Always remember what you’re doing it for. When your time is over, you’ll be in a much better position than before, maybe even than some of your peers. Nothing is forever. And even though you’re saving, it doesn’t do any harm to occasionally get that new game or pair of shoes. You are a working person, after all.

Do you have any other tips for those considering taking a working gap year? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo: 401(K) 2012 / Flickr

Charlotte SalterWant to take a working gap year before going into education?

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