Careers and Employability Service
Services for alumni

Taking time out


Are you planning to take some time out after graduation, perhaps to travel, work abroad, volunteer or find temporary work in the UK?

Or have you already had time out and are now ready to start planning the next stage of your career path?

Here are some tips to help you get the most of your time out or reflect on what you've done.


Articulate your reasons for taking time out

Knowing what you want from your year out will help you to decide what you want to do and what you what you want to get out of it.

Taking some time out isn't an issue for most employers. However, you will need to identify and communicate the benefits you have gained that will be attractive and relevant to employers. 

Do you want to:

  • explore the world and learn about different countries and culture?
  • 'give something back' by dedicating yourself to an organisation or cause you are interested in?
  • develop confidence, new skills, knowledge and work experience in your field?
  • research opportunities and make contacts in a specific country or career area?

Presenting your skills

In applications and interviews it is important to highlight aspects of your experience which relate to the post, company and sector. Concentrate on those accomplishments that add value to your profile, for example, by evidencing initiative or showing commitment to relevant causes.

Be specific and pertinent

In order to maximise their effect, describe your duties and achievements in a concise and specific manner. Remember, it is not about making grand statements but articulating your capabilities in professional language.

Make work in other career areas relevant

Identifying the skills gained in jobs not directly related to the post or sector you are applying for might not always feel as easy. However, as long as you make your examples relevant to the job and company, they are still worthwhile.

Highlight the value of life experiences

Your year out preparations and any unplanned incidents during your time away might also provide evidence of resolution, resourcefulness and other sought-after qualities if presented in the right way.

For some excellent examples of how to present your skills professionally, visit our current students' webpage.

Your next step

  • If you're planning a time out, find organisations and key questions to ask when choosing who you go with.
  • If you have questions about your your career plans, talk to a member of our team.

Book an appointment



Careers and Employability Service

University of Nottingham
Portland Building, Level D
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 3680
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 3679