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Maximizing a Gap Year

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

 

Things to do on a Finance Career Path

Gap years can be bankable in diverse ways. Some are quantifiable, including earnings, but many others are indirect and hard to quantify, including purpose, maturity and confidence.

If you are on a financial, academic or any career growth path, consider the points below as ‘gap year activities’ to get ahead of the pack.

 

Complete a virtual internship

The concept of a gap year is often veneered with global travel and cultural exploration. But not everyone has the money and time for this.

For young professionals looking for the biggest value for their time in gap years, a virtual internship is an idea worth pursuing.

In the face of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, remote working is thriving thanks to the technological flourish of the present word.

This may just be the perfect opportunity to gain an immersive virtual experience that can be beneficial to your career.

Now may be the easiest time to intern for such reasons:

  • Organizations are working with lean teams and so landing a volunteer opportunity might be easier
  • Old and existing systems are backed against the wall in ways like never before; this a great time to learn about financial risk and ways to navigate the unknown
  • There is nowhere else to go, and not much else to do

 

Enroll for an online course

At the start of the year, many learning institutions moved to strengthen their online course offerings.

For programs where learning and examination are fully online, you don’t have much to lose when you take a gap year course.

The ideal course here will be a short certification program that sharpens your skills and exam preparedness without cannibalizing your pre-existing career advancement plans.

There are many such courses online; some of them on free platforms like Coursera.

Consider what your answer would be in an interview when you are asked: ‘what did you do in your gap year’

At the end of it, you should have a respected and relevant certificate to show for your gap year course.

 

Volunteer for a political candidate

Politics and careers in finance might sound like strange bedfellows, but the experience is legitimate nonetheless.

One way to get your leg up in the world of finance during your gap year is by using your skills to support your favorite candidate in their campaign.

There are many roles that you could take on in the accounting department, compliance and auditing, research, grants management and others.

Whether you are handed the keys to all responsibilities or are taken on as a junior assistant, the experience and the recognition could earn you significant professional benefits.

 

Volunteer with a charity organization

Charities are on the deep end of things; fewer volunteers and dried up donation streams from the government and sponsors. Your skills, time and passion, could be highly appreciated by these organizations.

This could be your chance to take on the challenging but rewarding roles of online fundraising, management and marketing.

This could be the chance to learn the ropes of financial risk management and help every single dollar from the donation kitty go to impactful use.

Increased risk in the current environment for charities includes failure to meet governance obligations, staff shortages, inability to raise sufficient funds, and failure to comply with health obligations.

Handling and mitigating these risks from a financial perspective is one way to invest your gap year for a flourishing career in risk management.

 

Learn a soft skill

Soft skills are the best ingredients for career advancement. Leaders must be well-spoken and strategic. They must inspire teams and see the bigger picture.

Investing time in learning communication or people management can give you an advantage when the system picks up again.

This is especially recommendable for fresh graduates that were heading straight for the job market before the pandemic hit.

Other skills that could be worthwhile in the long run include coding and project management. The future world will require a tech-savvy workforce.

Being able to manipulate data and design solutions that can help you do your work optimally will be most beneficial.

These skills will turn you into a valuable asset for any workplace. Skills in budgeting and project management will also help you save your firm and clients tons of money.

Armed with these abilities, you may find yourself rising through the ranks faster than your colleagues.

 

Research, write, network

From Forbes to Huffington Post and other sites, knowledgeable contributors are highly needed. This can be a chance for you to put pen to paper and let your light shine.

And even if you don’t get featured on these top sites, you can still start your professional blog and get to the top through deep research and networking.

A business blog can put you in touch with the big names of the industry. These could be interview guests for your content or guest writers.

The interactions will plunge you deeper into subject knowledge and could easily be a path to your dream job.

 

Invent, work at a startup, start a business

Many businesses are crashing under the burden of the pandemic. But, in that hopeless environment, many businesses are also starting and thriving.

If you have an enterprising mind and see a need that is not being met sufficiently, now may be the time for you to start a small business and grow it into a flourishing venture.

You can also take the time to partner with brilliant inventors and work or volunteer for them.

With the right research, networking and mentorship support your small business or startup could grow into a household name someday in the future.

But remember, many startups fail. Success here is a test of resilience, good financial planning, marketing and customer research.

 

The last word

2020 will certainly go down in history as a memorable one. But time is money, and that is not about to change any time soon.

Put your time to good use by doing something relevant and impactful to your future academic or professional direction.

 

Thank you!

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Time is precious, use it wisely

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