The Gap Year: How To Explain It, Job-Wise

In this post, we’ll discuss strategies to use when discussing your gap year during a job interview.

7358784038_a3032a8a6b_nTaking time off from work or school is not the craziest thing ever, and it’s not ridiculous to think that time not at the job can help you when you’re at the job; just ask the weekend. Still, some potential employers might see a whole year off as a little weird. It’s on you to explain why it’s not.

Not sure how? No worries! Rachael Taft at can help! If you’ve done a gap year you should definitely read her whole post, but here’s a little overview of what she says to get across in a job interview:

  1. How your gap year helped you mature as a person in ways that’ll come in handy upon entering or re-entering the workforce.
  2. Your reasons for doing it. This is for relate-ability. Your big bad scary job interviewer was a human being like you once upon a time and might empathize with your reasons for needing a change of scenery.
  3. That it wasn’t a vacation. It look a lot of planning and commitment and was maybe a little scary to start.
  4. That you did it and now it’s over. Period. End of story. Your new boss doesn’t need to worry about coming in one morning and finding an email from you that reads, “Hey, decided to go to India for a while to figure things out. Thanks for the opportunity to work here for a bit!”

The one thing I’ll add is that you might end up covering all of this in two minutes. You definitely need to mention that you did a gap year, but if your interviewer is giving you clear indicators that he or she doesn’t care all that much, then give the Cliffs Notes version and leave it at that (unless your gap year involved work that relates directly to the job you’re applying for). As with everything related to the job search, it all depends on the job.

Did you do a gap year? How have you discussed it in job interviews? Let us know in the comments!

(photo by Flickr user The LEAF Project used under a Creative Commons License.)

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