A gap year can be an important part of your life, especially if you’re not quite sure what you want to do after you finish high school. However, it can also look bad on your resume. If you took a gap year, whether it was recently or it was a few years ago, you may be wondering how to avoid issues when you finally start building your resume. Here’s what you need to know about adding a gap year to your resume more effectively.

What Is a Gap Year?

A gap year is simply any year you took off. It’s very frequently used to refer to a year between graduating high school and going into college, where a new high school graduate may travel, see the world, and enjoy themselves before they have to go back to school. However, you may also see people refer to a gap year as being any year you took off work, typically for personal reasons, like burnout or trying to switch to a new career path.

Does a Gap Year Look Bad on My Resume?

The main problem with a gap year is that it’s a knee-jerk reaction to assume it looks bad on your resume. When you use a resume builder to update your resume, that builder is going to ask you for the years that you were at each job you list on the resume. When you see multiple jobs, one after the other, it’s easy to see the years most prominently and assume this is going to be the area that a hiring manager looks at immediately.

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The good news, however, is that depending on the hiring manager, your gap year may not even stand out that significantly. If you took a gap year between high school and college, the hiring manager may not even notice, and if they do, the concept of a gap year is so widespread that they may not think anything of it. Gap years aren’t usually as negative as you might automatically fear.

However, some hiring managers will notice your gap year. Because you don’t know which recruiters will notice and which recruiters won’t, it’s best to cover your bases as much as possible. That way, even if a hiring manager does happen to see your gap year, they won’t worry about it too much.

How Can I Explain My Resume Gap Year?

Firstly, think about what the gap year did for you. Did you get a chance to explore new cultures? Were you able to work on your well-being? Did you take care of a family member? Were you able to do more volunteer work? All of these situations are potential benefits that could have come from your resume gap year, and they’re all points a hiring manager wants to hear.

The next step is to actively include the gap year in your work experience. Note the gap year just like you would a job title, then add a short explanation of what you did and how the skills you learned will apply to your work experience.

Carrying Your Explanation Through to the Interview

You can be sure that a hiring manager will ask about a gap year if you include it on your resume. Talk about skills that you learned during your gap year and mention how excited you are to get back into the workforce, especially if the gap year was your most recent year.

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A gap year doesn’t have to be a stain on your resume. It can be a significant boon, especially if you did a lot of work on yourself during that time. When you’re writing your resume, don’t be afraid to include a gap year if you took one in the last few years. The experience that you gained through that gap year can last you a lifetime.