Bosses will think you’re boring if you go on a gap year, warns jobs guru

‘You’re better off working in JD Sports’

Run-of-the-mill job-seekers should’ve worked in a supermarket instead of going travelling if they want a top job.

Volunteering in orphanages and petting sedated tigers are becoming more commonplace and no longer make you stand out from the crowd.

Instead, when applicants all have similar qualifications, graduates should show they have worked in more humble jobs as a vast proportion now have travelling experiences on their already boring CVs.

A top lawyer and mentor said it was better for students, especially those from a privileged background, to show they can work hard, fund themselves and deal with the public.

They should be looking for work in JD Sports rather than trekking round China.

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Sandie Okoro, global lead lawyer for HSBC Global Asset Management, said: “It is very difficult to get into the workplace because it isn’t just about academics anymore. And in some professions everyone’s got the same academics, and they can speak five languages as well.

“What are you going to bring to me that isn’t in front of me on somebody else’s CV?”

Okoro, who was speaking a the Girls’ Day School Trust conference, bemoaned the amount of applicants who had gone travelling as it was likely their rich dad had paid for them to go.

She added: “I see all these wonderful places, they’ve gone off to China and built an orphanage, they’ve done this and done that. OK so your daddy is rich. That’s great. But when you worked at JD Sports at the weekend to earn some money? When have you dealt with the public? They don’t care where you went to school.

““Forget about the going to China and changing the world or whatever. What are you actually doing that’s different? I want people who can come to me and have had real experiences.

“It has become almost formulaic. I’d like to see the mundance and ordinary come back in.”

The top boss, who worked a Saturday job at Marks & Spencers, said gap years have become the norm.


Sandie Okoro. Credit: YouTube, BLD

Gap years are usually the choice of more privileged kids — who find themselves under fire. Yesterday, a government report said top firms used a posh test to give plummy schoolkids good jobs over graduates from state school backgrounds.

Despite Okoro’s condemnation, bosses are favouring candidates who have been travelling.

They also like students with a posh accent who went to a Russel Group uni.