Is a gap year necessary

Which profession do I choose? What if the choice was the wrong one? These are questions that concern young people around the world. It is the fear of making the wrong decision that leads to the fact that every step is questioned umpteen times before you take it. This prudence and caution also ensures that more and more high school graduates, students and young professionals decide on a so-called gap year. What has been commonplace in Anglo-Saxon countries for decades is only just gradually gaining acceptance here in Germany. So it's high time to take a closer look at the "gap year".

1. A break that is not a break at all
2. What is the gap year?
3. What are the goals of a gap year?
4. When is the right time for a gap year?
5. The conscious break in the curriculum vitae
6. More and more companies are welcoming the gap year
7. How do I indicate a gap year on my CV?
8. The gap year as entry into self-employment

A break that is not a break at all

Translated into German, gap year means gap year. The term gives the impression that this is a meaningless time that is used to take a relaxing break. However, this interpretation is not entirely correct.

Yes, the gap year can be described as a break (from the conventional career path). However, this is what it is Under no circumstances is it about a phase of life in which the person concerned is lazing around and starting the day with no drive. A gap year is used to gain new experience, to expand (linguistic) knowledge and - very importantly - to orientate oneself professionally. There can be no question of a gap here.

What is the gap year?

The gap year is a specific one Period between two important sections in the lives of young people. This period does not necessarily have to be exactly one year. Some gap years last less than 12 months, others go beyond the one-year limit. It is important that the time is used to develop personally, professionally and emotionally.

There are many different ways to put your gap year into practice. The classic ways include:

  • Internships: “Getting a taste” of the world of work and trying out various jobs with the aim of finding a direction that fits your personal ideas about work.
  • Studium Generale: "Light version" of a real course of study, participants attend lectures and seminars and talk to students who talk about their everyday university life. It is not necessary to enroll at a university.
  • Voluntary social / ecological year: Opportunity to get a taste of a certain professional area and to gain initial experience in it, both at home and abroad.
  • Language trips: Stays abroad with the aim of learning a certain language or expanding existing knowledge.
  • Work and Travel: Travel in combination with various occasional jobs that finance the stay abroad.
  • AU Pair: Stay in a (foreign) host family, care for the children, support in the household, free accommodation and meals, getting to know foreign cultures, deepening language skills.
  • Combinations: Can't decide on one of the suggested routes? Then combine several with each other. There are no rules when designing a gap year. This means that you alone decide what content it will be filled with.

Various findings emerge from this list. For one thing, it becomes clear that the gap year no uniform appearance has, but comes in many different variants. On the other hand, it is possible to use the gap year either at home or abroad to spend. Both options have both advantages and disadvantages. A stay abroad is of course perfect for developing your language skills and gaining important skills in the field of intercultural competence. However, if you decide to spend a gap year abroad, you have to reckon with increased organizational effort and a greater financial burden. In contrast, the gap year in Germany is usually easier to organize, but less instructive.

Info: More and more providers and programs have specialized in helping young people plan their gap years. The offer on the Internet is very large and varied.

What are the goals of a gap year?

Almost everyone who chooses a gap year does so for a different motivation. As already described at the beginning, this is by no means a time of idleness. Rather, it is about developing further on different levels, changing your perspective, getting to know new people, getting a taste of different professional fields and ultimately orienting yourself for the future path of life. Concrete goals of the gap year are:

To put it loosely, it can also be said that the gap year is the last chance for young people to get around to repel the hornsbefore the seriousness of life begins.

When is the right time for a gap year?

There are a handful of classic times for a gap year. The following overview will tell you what these are and what advantages and disadvantages they have.

after graduation and before studies / before trainingIt's a good time for one first orientation. In addition, during this time young adults can “to disconnect“.Many still have at that time no ideawhere the professional journey should go.
after dropping out of studies / trainingAffected don't waste any more time with the wrongly chosen path. Instead, you can test which other is better.There is the danger, subsequently to break off again and again and start over.
between the bachelor's and master's degreeThe students place a breather one and can decide which Consolidation in the Master's the right one is.It is one Interruption of the "flow"which is perceived as annoying by some.
after graduationFor many, this is the time last opportunity of a gap year. This can represent the final "fine-tuning" of professional preparation.Maybe the gap year ensures that you have a good Missing job opportunity.


especially the Phase between Bachelor and Master studies is always called ideal time for a gap year designated. In this phase of life, young adults have already gained initial experience and a rough idea of ​​their future career path. The gap year can help to consolidate the plans and goals and to check them again. If a master’s degree is directly connected to the Bachelor’s degree, this orientation phase is not applicable. Possible consequences are choosing the wrong course or the wrong job.

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The conscious break in the curriculum vitae

Since the introduction of the Bologna process young people study in record time. After three years of basic studies (Bachelor), there is an optional two years of specialization (Master). What was primarily intended to standardize the European higher education system and to simplify stays abroad for students has been criticized again and again after 15 years of "practice". Probably the biggest accusation: The students will chased through studies, hardly have the time or opportunities to gain initial professional experience and are far too young for most companies when it comes to getting one of the coveted entry-level jobs. True, they are Young professionals, most of whom belong to Generation Y., well and internationally trained, but they lack one very crucial thing: the Experience.

Since the bachelor's and master's system has shaped the German university landscape, the gap year has also become more and more important here. Instead of rushing through studies without a break and considering losses, more and more young people are deciding to make a conscious gap year - around the To change perspective, around to find oneself, around To get to know new things and around experience (both professional and personal in nature) to collect.

More and more companies are welcoming the gap year

This rethinking is not only a source of joy among the representatives of Generation Y. More and more companies are also realizing that there is a gap year no wasted time and certainly no gap in the résumé is. On the contrary: More and more companies are recognizing the added value of such a break and are specifically looking for applicants who have completed a gap year.

For them it is also clear: Gap Year Graduates not only bring experience, but also know exactly what they want and where the (professional) trip should go. For companies this means that they can rely on potential employees and do not have to fear that they will quit after a short time.

How do I indicate a gap year on my resume?

Those who use their gap year effectively (for example through internships, stays abroad, etc.) do not have to worry about their résumé. This is by no means a classic gap, but a huge one enrichment. Feel free to state in your résumé exactly what you did during the gap year and what you learned from it.

Remember: This deliberate break is being noticed with interest by more and more HR professionals and automatically distinguishes them from the numerous other applicants. Don't be afraid that this time out will be your undoing when it comes to starting your career. This can even be used under certain circumstances Entry ticket for your dream job become.

The gap year as entry into self-employment

Every now and then it happens that gap year graduates pursue a goal that has not yet been addressed in this post. You use the time and the conscious career break to work on your own independence to work. The so-called Founding gap year is becoming more and more popular, especially in the young startup scene. Basically, it is only really interesting for those who have been pursuing the professional goal of self-employment for a long time and are working towards it.

The gap year offers countless opportunities for professional and personal self-fulfillment. It is particularly popular with Generation Y and is becoming more and more important here in Germany. The main reason for this is the often tight career path of academics, which is caused by the Bologna Process. Those who opt for a conscious break can score points with more and more companies. They appreciate the experience and clear orientation of the gap year graduates.

Do you have any questions or comments on this topic? Then please leave a comment.


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