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Our Guide to Using Your Office Skills on a Gap Year or Career Break.

Getting a temporary or summer job in an office environment makes sense if you have the skills the employer needs. 

What skills do I need to get a job in an office on my gap year?

  • You will need to be proficient in the main Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint programmes, as well as used to working on computers, using email and the Internet. Some agencies will request a minimum typing speed and will carry out tests.
  • To get a summer job or temp position with a business you will need to look professional. Dress smartly in a suit and smart shoes. Wear these to any agency interviews you have.
  • Have an up to date copy of your CV saved somewhere so you can print it or email it when required.
  • You will need proof of your work experience and references. Ideally these references can be produced with your CV or you can at least give the email address of your ex employer to the agency.

Pros and Cons of office jobs on your gap year:


  • The pay is good if you are looking for office work in Australia or New Zealand with a working holiday visa
  • You meet more "real" native people rather than backpackers
  • You can add the experience to your CV


  • If you time it wrong you can be waiting for work for ages - Christmas or New Year are slow in most countries, August is slow for finding temporary office jobs in Europe.
  • You are stuck indoors all day
  • Offices are pretty similar all over the world!

Some gap year or career break companies and organisations can set you up on an office-based placement. This could be in places as diverse as Sydney or Nairobi, but be aware that you will need to pay the company to set the placement up for you. These placements will not usually pay you a competitive hourly rate like you would get with agency work, but you can choose where you would prefer to work, and find temporary work in more competitive industries such as media or journalism.

Whichever option you choose, make sure that you have the correct visa in place, so that you can work legally in your destination country.