Taking time out

By time out we mean the period immediately after graduation - anything from three months to a year or more.

Why take time out?

Well for various reasons - here are just a few of them.

  • Travel - some people travel to gain wider cultural experience, others travel to gain work experience in countries that have work/travel schemes.
  • Work experience - it is extremely valuable to gain relevant work experience in a number of careers, for example; social work, journalism and physiotherapy, before pursuing professional training.
  • Voluntary work - you may need to work voluntarily in order to gain relevant work experience or, you may simply wish to participate in something that helps others.
  • Teaching English as a foreign language - demand for teachers is significant and is fulfilled by recent graduates teaching English as part of their time out. Destinations may be as far away as the Far East or closer to home in Europe.

Make use of the Careers Service now

You can still make use of the Careers Service up to three years after you graduate and there is an informal agreement with other Careers Services which will allow you some access. However, the level of assistance will not be the same as you can expect as an undergraduate so you should make use of us now when you have the chance.

Plan for your time out by using the Time out section in Information Resources. This includes a list of material in the Careers Service and links to useful websites.

What to do when you return

Having time out is not particularly unusual, however, an employer will want you to be able to talk about your skills and experiences and do so in a positive and analytical manner. Be ready to answer questions such as:

  • what were your reasons for taking time out?
  • how did you plan the time available?
  • what did you get out of the experience?
  • would you say you have a stronger application for having taken time away?

Be aware that if you graduated in a technical or scientific subject, employers may have a concern that your degree has got a little out of date during your period of time out.


If you do take time out make sure it is well planned, your finance is secure, you are clear about what you hope to get out of it and you have thought about what you will do afterwards.

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Taking time out

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Student jobs, work experience and volunteering