From red to green flags: How to explain that education gap to your future employer
Do you have education gaps in your academic portfolio? Source: Eliabe Costa/Unsplash

You may be nervous about highlighting that obvious gap in your CV to your desired employer, but don’t be!

For personal reasons, you could have taken a break midway through your degree, or you might be planning to now.

This may be intentional or unforeseen and the length of the gap could be one year or five. Circumstances will differ from student to student.

The most important thing is how to explain this gap to your future employer without provoking the red flag and being labelled as ‘easily distracted’ or a ‘career hopper’.

We live in a world of instant gratification and instant media – it’s no surprise that attention spans are lowering. Source: Shutterstock

Tell your employer the truth!

It might seem easier to create an elaborate fable as to why you took that education gap, but it’s always better to tell the truth.

Your future employer will be seeking transparency from you as they search for trustworthy individuals to join their team. Be open and honest when it is time to explain.

If you were unsure about your degree choice and chose to alter it at the start of university, or needed some space to deliberate your next steps, this will demonstrate your caution and determination to your potential employer.

They will value your carefulness and reconsideration of your degree subject, reassuring them that the field is one you definitely want to work in.

Talk about the benefits of the gap

What did you learn after taking time out?

Did you pick up any new skills your employer would be keen to hear about?

CV gaps shouldn’t be negatively labelled; in fact, they may have given you a valuable insight into a new industry or enabled you to develop a new talent.

Maybe you travelled to a few new countries and experienced a fresh perspective that would benefit the company long-term.

For instance, if you’re applying for a start-up that wants to open an office in a new location, you could shine light on your backpacking trip across Asia and suggest some affordable or thriving destinations to try.

Or if you’re hoping to secure a job in a large corporation, talk about how you’ve seen that corporation succeed in places you visited around the world or how it impacts global society. Linking the gap to real-world experiences that relate back to the company will be a win in your interview.

Turn your travel into an advantage. Source: KaLisa Veer/Unsplash

Be proud of your education gap!

It’s not something to shy away from.

So what if you have a big gap in your academic records?! Fact is, you’ve turned up to that interview and you’re ready to give it your best shot!

The right company will turn those red flags into green and give you a chance.

If they witness your strong work ethic and commitment to achieving your best, there’s no doubt that the education gap will be overlooked, or maybe even praised!

Just keep going regardless of what people say, and embrace the gap!

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