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How to explain a gap year on your resume as a recent college graduate

In the last few years, more and more recent graduates went to travel after they had finished their studies. It is often seen as a once in a lifetime opportunity. Once you start your career and get ‘stuck’ in the working life, it is a lot more difficult to take a gap year. So, traveling after your study makes sense. But what happens when you return and start searching for a job? How do you explain a gap year in your resume?

Before we head over to cover the best tips and tricks to help you in getting the most out of your gap year, it is important to highlight two things you certainly shouldn’t be doing.

  • Not talking/writing about your gap year

This is one of the worst mistakes you can make. If you do not add your gap year to your resume you are making things a lot more difficult for yourself. Recruiters and hiring managers will fill in the gap themselves. In most cases this won’t be to your advantage. As a job applicant, you want to take away all doubts around your resume. That’s why you will need to talk about your gap year.

  • Lying about your gap year

Lying is even worse than not talking about it all. It will get you off on the wrong foot and will eventually get you in trouble. If they start asking questions regarding your gap year and you fail to deliver trustable and logical answers, you are pretty much done for.

The best tips and tricks to explain a gap year on your resume

Well, if you avoid the above two common mistakes you are already off to a great start. Let’s say you have made a 1-year backpack trip around the world and came back to your home country to start working again. So, as stated earlier we are going to put the gap year on our resume. Because work experience is on top of most resumes, we will add our gap year here as well. This will immediately make it visible for the reader and takes away possible doubt when someone notices that you have already finished your study a year ago.

English teacher | February 2019 – September 2019 | Cambodia

• Taught English to more than 60 high school students in Cambodia

• Prepared 5 two-hour lessons a week

• Created a new English curriculum for high performing students

• Helped with organizing several educational events in collaboration with international charities.

When writing a description of your gap year experience, keep note of the type of jobs you are applying for. Tailor your points to emphasize skills and experiences that match with responsibilities and characteristics of those jobs. Besides that, it is important to highlight notable achievements and try to quantify your completed tasks and accomplishments as much as possible.

During your gap year, you have probably worked on a broad set of skills such as communication, planning and dealing with unforeseen circumstances. Often those are valuable skills, especially for recent graduates. That’s why you should put the skills you have gained during your gap year in your professional summary on your resume. If possible, you should connect it with your personality, ambitions and the tasks described in the job you are applying for. It will give your profile a lot more depth and allows you to gain the most out of your experiences.

About Author

Hirebel is focused on providing you with valuable insights on how to improve your career and how to get the most out of your working life. Occasionally there are sidesteps to topics related to new technologies that enable people to achieve their (life) goals.

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