A gap year can be, as its name implies, a year long. You end your gap year and seek to return to the workforce. Also, you might find it challenging to figure out how to list this time on your resume. It won’t necessarily fit into the “experience” and “education” sections. And yet, you likely gained a lot of experience and knowledge during your time away from the workforce.
Here is some key advice on how to approach mentioning your gap year on your resume.
Tell the truth
The single most significant thing to remember when dealing with a gap in your resume is that honesty is the best policy. You don’t have to go into immense detail if your gap was for something sensitive like health issues. However, leaving it out completely or downright lying will make the gap stand out even more. And don’t be tempted to extend your previous working history as the hiring manager will find out. They will place a black mark next to your name.
Emphasize the positive
Be sure to emphasize any constructive activities you were part of during your gap year. This could be volunteer work, additional courses that you took to develop your skills, freelancing or working abroad. Draw on the positive experiences and how they have helped you grow as a person and learn more about different cultures. If your gap year was due to an illness you overcame or because you were caring for someone, draw on the skills you learned that made you stronger.
One thing that recruiters hate is ambiguity. Leaving chunks of time unaccounted for on your CV will only lead to problems. At best, you can expect questions; at worst, your CV will simply end up filed in the dustbin, no matter how much hard work went into it. It is critical to clearly show when your gap year was and what you did during this time. If you have an inconsistent employment history with several periods of unemployment, you want to choose a skill-based CV. It allows you to describe the activities you undertook during your gap year without stressing too much about the sequence of events.
Describe your achievements
Your main goal is to explain your achievements during your gap year on your CV. These should be in a bullet point form and written in the past tense. For example, ‘Completed a volunteer program where I was involved in teaching English to young students in Thailand’.
Explain your reasons
Regardless of whether you went on a backpacking trip with your friends for fun or to educate yourself, you should give a reason as to how it helped you professionally. Explain how it taught you to adapt to unfamiliar environments or how it increased your confidence when socializing with new people. Making a list of the skills you gained. How these will integrate with different aspects of the job specifications is good preparation for your interview.
Show your skills
What will turn your gap year experience from something that provoked indifference among recruiters to something that actively sells your CV is when you describe the transferable skills gained during the period. You have to show how the skills gained during your gap year have made you more employable. Here are several skills you can use:
You can specify how you developed strong negotiating skills, haggling with locals at markets for the cheapest price for products. Also, you have learned more about how business works and how to make sharp deals.
Budgeting and Planning:
You most likely had to save and plan for your career break; explain how this taught you to plan and keep within your budget, both before and during your travels.
When you travel, things go wrong and plans change rapidly. As a traveler, you are forced to adapt easily to new situations and think quickly to find a solution to a problem. In the ever-changing world of business, being flexible and having the skill to solve problems is essential.
Travelling and taking on new experiences comes with meeting new people of different cultures and backgrounds, forcing you to overcome any language barriers. The intercultural skills that you developed during this time play a vital role in the workplace and are a great asset to have.
If you are teaching abroad, volunteering or even caring for a sick family member, you can use your experience to show your leadership skills. You can achieve this by explaining that you are responsible for managing a children’s class, leading a project, or taking care of all medical arrangements.
Add Skills to Your Resume:
Some skills you may have gained are: speaking a foreign language, planning, communication, and coordinating, and budgeting. Depending on how you spent your gap year, you can have other skills to add from this list. You should include these skills in the write-up of your gap year experience as well as in the skills section of your resume.
Use the Summary Section:
Think of this section as telling a short story about you, who you are, what you have accomplished, and what you want to work on next. It makes logical sense that your gap year might be helpful to include. For instance, “World-traveler and experienced ESL teacher looking for a role teaching the Spanish language to middle school students.”
Go beyond thinking of your gap year as a fun break and consider what achievements and skills you have gained along with how they potentially apply to your next role. Then, you should include this insight on your resume.
Show your commitment
If your year gap is recent or you have lost quite a lot over the years, hiring managers will worry that you are not committed and will be on the next flight out there once you have enough money saved. This is where you explain how you carefully plan your five gaps and are now ready to commit to career growth. If your career has been interrupted recently, talk for a long time so an employer can hear you now committed to your job, buzzing with new motivation. You should take a break, learn how to talk about it as a helpful event. It gives you a renewed focus on solving work as much as you have gained from other experiences.
Make your year gap relevant to your employer
Make sure you change your CV according to the job you are applying for. You can choose a few keywords from job ads and add them to your year explanation. This will make it suitable for the position and skills desired for the job.
No matter what you did on your gap year, it all comes down to how you view your experiences. The same goes for how you present your experiences on your CV post-gap year.
Do you genuinely believe in what you did? If you take your skills and experience severely, then you write and speak about your gap year with conviction. If you see it as personally and professionally transformative, then your likely employer will too. You also can negotiate a job offer well if having these tips.
By following our tips, you will be sure to find the right fit and to give yourself the best chance of success.