Why a gap year makes your cv standout
June has seen the media berate “gap yah’s” in favor of getting a job. Even going as far as to claim gap year takers are less likely to finish university. This is not a view shared by UCAS which states on their website a gap year can be great for your CV. The same can be said for career breaks … which can refresh you and your career. But not all gap years and career breaks are created equal … and really it is up to you to sell why your time out has made you a more attractive candidate for university or in your chosen career.
Here’s a quick guide to how a Peak Leaders course enhances your skills, CV and job prospects …
1. “I’m willing to listen and learn.”
When you decide on a Peak Leaders course it is more than just idle time out traveling. Committing to the hard work and effort of qualifying as a ski, snowboard or mountain bike instructor shows you aren’t afraid to challenge yourself. Even the best skiers, riders and bikers all have to take a certain step back and relearn new techniques and skills. Often this can be a difficult transition. Employers and universities value people who can accept and respond to feedback – positive or negative.
Selling point: You actively seek out information to improve your personal performance in all aspects of your life/career.
2. “I’m a team player.”
Spending 10-weeks in close quarters with a bunch of folk you don’t know might not always be easy. Especially when feedback (see above) is telling people not what they want to hear. But it is always amazing to see the level of camaraderie and support Peak Leader’s trainees show for each other. Sure, it might be “your” qualification at the end of the course, but to get there you certainly need to work well within the “team”. In fact, it is something you are assessed on during the instructor exams. Because to be a great instructor you need to demonstrate empathy and a willingness to help others.
Selling point: You empathize well with others and strive to help them reach their goals as it promotes team harmony.
3. “I’m trusted to keep people safe.”
When some people hear “ski instructor” (or snowboard / mtb) what immediately springs to mind is … well … drinking and parties. Which, let’s be honest, does happen a fair bit! However, if you explain “what you do” in terms of being trusted to keep people safe in, arguably, one of the harshest environments (at times) on earth – then it sounds a lot more positive. The fact parents hand over responsibly for their little ones to you, or adults follow your lead on slopes they’d never venture to ride on their own, should never be taken lightly … or undersold on your CV. Getting your group off the hill, all in one piece, when a white out rolls in is no easy task. And don’t forget to mention the first-aid qualification, another vital part of the responsibility puzzle that employers look favorably on.
Selling point: You assess risk and ability levels to ensure safe limits are always followed by those persons under your charge.
4. “I’m calm under pressure.”
Having the ability to remain calm when the proverbial “sh*t hits the fan” is not something everyone can do. However, as a ski/snb/mtb instructor it is essential. Employers and universities know that with a career or degree studies there is often a high level of stress. And those people who can not only deal with the day-to-day pressure but thrive in that environment are the ones that excel. On the slopes or trails as an instructor you have to deal with emergencies in a calm, controlled manner. The composure you need to stay calm, reassure those around you, avoid group panic, and be able to carry on with the job at hand is a much sought-after skill.
Selling point: You remain calm, confident and composed at all times even in emergency situations when others might panic.
5. “I’m a valued employee already.”
Sometimes getting back to the “real world” makes you forget what you’ve achieved – becoming a ski / snb / mtb instructor and working during, or for the remainder of, the season. Peak Leaders knows how important it is for our trainees to land jobs, and we proactively seek out work opportunities each season with European Snowsport, Whistler Mountain Bike Park, Les Elfes, Ski Astons and many others. Be sure to ask for a recommendation and use this to demonstrate what you’ve achieved post-course. Explain how competitive it is to secure an instructing job in the mountains. Not everyone that wants one gets one. So if you’ve proved successful, take this as affirmation of your skills, dedication and employability in the future.