How to Explain a Gap Year on Your CV?

Many people take a break either from their studies or from their jobs. And this break is often called a “gap year.” There are various reasons why people take a gap year. It could be because they want to volunteer, change jobs or careers, or even go on vacation. No matter the reason, you must not leave the year blank on your CV. In this article, we will talk about how to explain a gap year on your resume. 

Tips on how to explain a gap year on your CV

Here are some tips to help you explain a gap year on your CV:

Consider your CV format.

One alternative you can go for is to remove your gap year from your CV. However, this is not recommended as it may serve as a red flag to the employer. There are different types of resumes out there. chronological, functional, and so on. If you plan to add your gap year to your resume, you should go for a functional resume. The reason is that with a functional CV, you only need to emphasize your skills and expertise instead of the period you acquired them. 

So, if your gap year is for a personal reason that you don’t want to talk about, go for a functional resume.  However, you can go for a chronological CV if you would like to discuss why you took a gap year. This will show the recruiter that you have nothing to hide. 

Ensure that the gap year explanation is relevant to the role.

Tailoring your job application to each job you are applying for is essential. It improves your chance of getting the job. For this reason, you have to make sure your explanation for your gap year is relevant to the role or position you are applying for.  Ensure you use relevant keywords to explain the gap year on your resume.

Be honest.

Have it at the back of your mind that honesty is the best policy when you are writing your CV.  Many job seekers make the mistake of lying on their resume or cover letter. And they lose the chance of landing a job when they are found out. Therefore, make sure you do not lie when talking about your gap year. If the reason why you took a gap year is sensitive, you can either opt for a functional CV or not go into details about it. However, do not try to hide it or shy away from it, as this might come off as a red flag to the recruiter or employer. If the recruiting manager discovers that you are lying, it will end whatever chance you had of getting the job.

Enumerate your gaps under work experience.

Another tip on how to explain a gap year on your CV is to enumerate the gap year experience under work experience. Did you volunteer during your gap year, or did you do some minor work? These are excellent experiences, and you do not have any reason to hide them. Therefore, you can list your role in the “experience” column of your CV just like any other work experience. Your gap year could also demonstrate that you’re a leader, self-sufficient, or have other attributes valued by many employers. Pay attention to the job posting while you put out a summary of your gap year period. Modify your points to highlight the skills required for the position you are applying for.

Emphasize the positives.

As previously said, there are numerous advantages to taking a gap year. In fact, taking a break to focus on yourself or help others demonstrates significant character strength. So, when talking about your gap year, focus on the good part. Emphasize how it has shaped your growth as a professional. Even if you were sick or raising children, you can highlight how this has helped you acquire other valuable abilities, so don’t be shy about mentioning it.

Avoid going into too much detail.

There’s no need to waste valuable space on your CV by cramming it with irrelevant information. So, while listing your gap year is vital, there’s no point in mentioning unnecessary details. Ensure that all the information you put on your CV is targeted for the job or position you are applying for. If you are interested in sharing stories about your gap year, then wait till you are invited to an interview.

Highlight your achievements.

Your major objective is to discuss your achievements throughout your time off from work. You should list measurable outcomes depending on the purpose of your gap year. You could highlight any courses, certifications, or training you received during your gap year. For instance, if you took a gap year to finish a short course, you can say something about the course and the skills you learned. This sets your CV apart from those of your competition. While it may be difficult to draw achievements from a gap year, think about the challenges you’ve conquered and the great outcomes you’ve achieved.

Point out the skills you have learned.

Another tip on how to explain a gap year on your CV is to point out the skills you have learned during that period. As previously stated, the most valuable lesson from a gap year is the skills you’ve gained and improved, as they will make you more desirable to employers. Speaking a new language, communicating, planning and implementing, and accounting are some of the talents you may have acquired. More skills to add to these skills depend on how you spend your gap year. These talents can be included in the experience or skills section of your CV.

Express your commitment to stability.

A gap year could indicate instability, and this might be a source of concern to employers.  You must show that you are eager to return to work and become a productive member of any company. If you recently had a gap year, you must show that you are eager to get a full-time role with the company. Above all, your resume and cover letter must demonstrate that, despite taking a year off and traveling widely, you’re now looking for a secure, long-term job. You want to eliminate any concerns about an applicant who is likely to go for another gap year as soon as they’ve been trained.

Make use of your cover letter.

A perfect cover letter might help you explain why you took a break from work by stressing what you accomplished and what you learned during that period.

Final Thoughts

These are the tips on how to explain a gap year on your CV. With these tips, you should be able to highlight the skills you learned and your achievements during the gap year. 


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