Don’t be afraid to mention it on your CV
Gaps shown in CV don’t look that great sometimes, so be sure to fill it up. It can be really beneficial if you briefly mention a gap year in a resume. If you volunteered, travelled or did an internship abroad make sure you bullet-list your experience. It will stand out from other applications! During your job interview, you’ll have the time to talk about what you did in more depth: why you chose to take a gap year, what you did and also what you got out of it.
If you did something interesting, don’t be shy to state it. When you think about it, most CV’s look the same: 3.5 GPA, excellent time management, professional communication skills with clients, etc. All of these are good to list, but you want to stand out and show that on top of it, you’ve gained valuable experiences and skills by volunteering or travelling abroad.
Examples of how you can list them in the CV
- List it under the experience section
- List down and focus on 4-6 skills/task under each internship, volunteering
- Make sure you don’t forget to mention the year you did that
- Adjust the points with the skills that are mentioned in the job application.
Volunteer at Red Cross Germany March 2018 – September 2018
- Distributed and managed tasks to volunteers (it’s good to also mention how many volunteers)
- Teaching lifesaving skills (First Aid and CPR)
- Providing information to the public about the cause Red Cross is working
Internship in Marketing and Business in London February 2019 – January 2020
- Researching marketing trends and preparing proposals to clients
- Assist with daily administrative tasks
- Contribute to making email campaign and social media content
What were you doing exactly
Companies will see someone who has done internships or volunteer programs as a valuable addition to the team, someone who isn’t afraid to step out of their comfort zone and gain new skills.
Did you teach English to kids? Did you take some classes to improve your skills? Did you work in some area related to the job you’re applying for?
Explain it in more detail: what did you do, which challenges did you face, and how did you find solutions. When you talk about getting to the bottom of an issue and solving it, you show that you are not afraid to adapt and come up with new ideas in order to defeat obstacles and get things done.
This experience has given you some of the skills employers look for in a candidate. Be confident in your words and honest about your gap year.
The reason why you took a gap year
Many people are considering taking a gap year after high school or college, but not all have the guts to do it, worrying about how it can affect their career path after they finish.
It’s important to mention the reasoning behind your choice. You may have felt that you needed this before settling down, or you wanted to develop new skills, challenge yourself and become more independent. It might happen that you had a job before but felt it wasn’t fulfilling enough and wanted to get a taste of travelling abroad and finding yourself in the process.
What did you take out of it and how can the skills apply in your next job?
Even though taking a gap year can help your personal growth, during an interview, keep it professional, mention the skills you gained and how those can be useful for that particular job. Explain those in detail. For instance, if you’re now a confident Spanish speaker, tell the ‘why’: you were volunteering in Peru in a community development area and you got to learn it in order to communicate. Or, now you’re ready to become a product manager due to that internship that allowed you to improve your skills in this field. Make sure you backup your statements with clear examples to give a better understanding of the value of your experience on a professional level.
Be honest, confident and keep in mind the experiences and skills you gained from your gap year, put them in good use, make the most out of them! Trust yourself, believe that you’re ready for your next challenge.