Olivia Ross Rsz 2

Olivia's Gap Year Diary – Getting a Job


Achievement unlocked: Got a job!

So this month I finally became employed; something I never thought I would describe myself as. I'm working at Sainsbury's. It's great, it makes me feel like I have a purpose while allowing me to meet lovely new people and increase my gap year savings...Hello Thailand 2016.

My top tips

Firstly, if, like me, you are currently searching for what could be your first ever “proper” job, sit back and calm down. Don’t stress out about it, you’ll get one eventually and rejection happens to everyone – especially in job applications. I started applying for jobs in June, just after exams finished, applied to countless and got rejected by them all but one. 

In terms of actual applications, all companies are different, some just want your CV and availability but some want you to fill out tests, answer questions or pick between multiple choice. All are things which can for some people, like me, make stress levels increase incredibly. If you want my advice the best thing you can do is be truthful, there is no point trying to be something you're not and besides any potential employer wants to employ you for you- even more so you don’t want to turn up for an interview being completely different from the person you made yourself out to be online! That would be embarrassing and you definitely wouldn’t get the job.

Overall, just remember, everything comes in time – you just need to be patient enough to wait and fight for it.

With the obligatory pep talk done, lets get into the pros and cons of having a job in a gap year.

The pros and cons of having a job on your gap year


  • Early starts/ late ending shifts. I don't know what I dislike more, walking to work at 6.30am or walking home from work at 11pm.
  • Telling your employer you're not doing much means overtime; and lots of it.


  • Having a job fills up many of the 365 days you have until you go off to uni.
  • Overtime means more hours, which means a higher sum in your bank account on pay day, so really, work more, play more. 
  • The people. You meet loads of new friends at work. What better way to bond than over a long-tiring shift.
  • The experience. A the end of your gap year you will be going to university having gained more experience of the working world than the majority of your peers.
  • The feeling of purpose. If you, like me, started a gap year because you didn't really know what you wanted to do, having something as solid as a full-time or part-time job is extremely satisfying.

As you can see far more pros than cons. I love having a job, it makes me feel more confident in myself, and like I've said, I have a purpose.

If you're unsure about whether you want to do a gap year because of the difficulty of getting/ having a job, don’t worry! I have a hazardous mix of anxiety and shyness and I can honestly say that I am completely comfortable and happy with working. Yes it can be tiring and hard work but it is incredibly fulfilling. So get yourself out there and don’t worry about possible cons, focus on the many pros.