I left a job in December of last year and I haven't had a serious job since then. I just used the time off to travel and see the country. It was fun, but certainly not productive.

As Mark has so plainly put it..."Lying is not an option." How do I explain my 7 month absence from the job market? I am 27 years old, so the logical conclusion is that I am a bit flaky. Any suggestions?

matto's picture

A 7 month absence. Some of my friends have been in a similar situation. They have graduated from university, taken a year off, travelled and worked casually, if that. Best way to address this is to be [b]honest[/b]. I don't think there is a real need to make mention of it on your resume. The cover letter may be a perfectly acceptable place.

If the question comes up at the telephone interview, if not face-to-face interview stage, which it invariably will, tackle it head on - with honesty. While you were travelling, did you do any volunteer work? I think as long as you can smile when you answer this question, and say something along the lines of "my travelling experience taught me how to adapt to new situations, deal with people from different cultures..." and so forth, you'll be fine.


wendii's picture
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I agree with Matt - be honest. Many people these days have gap years later in life, and if you were working solidly beforehand, your interviewer will probably be jealous you could take 7 months off rather than think you were flaky!


jhack's picture

I have a few gaps in my resume for different reasons. I have never had a problem explaining those gaps because I was in fact doing something.

Be honest. But explain the things you learned about yourself, about our country, history, geography. Show that you grew (but keep it brief).

Mark Twain said "Never let your schooling interfere with your education." He may or may not have been flaky, but he was a top performer!


josm's picture


Pretty much everyone I interview has a gap in their work experience due to travel. It seems that a gap year for travel is pretty much de rigeur in your age group.

What I want to see in a candidate is that they are ready to settle down to working life after the freedom that travelling can bring.

Be honest.

Good luck with the job hunt.


Mark's picture
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How can I advise you what to say and how to say it when you don't tell us why you've not been employed?

I'm not worried about the gap, really...but can't advise the right approach for you without knowing the situation.


evangilf's picture

BLUF: I left because the ownership was unwilling to make necessary changes to protect the future of the company.

I worked for an independent home appliance retailer, which has been in business for about 45 years and employs about 100 people. The company was started by the father of the current president. I managed one of five retail locations and was a member of the executive management team.

Like many small family businesses, the founder WAS the company for many years. He did everything himself and didn't allow anyone else to take responsibility for anything of consequence. He semi-retired about 6 years ago and moved to Florida, but kept his eyes on the sales figures.

After working there for about a year, it became obvious that the company was ignoring some really serious threats and fundamental weaknesses, so I presented a plan to the president to address them. He thought the plan was a good one and acknowledged that we should probably do it, but we couldn't because "his dad wouldn't let him make any changes". He figured we could probably do it in 5-10 years, after his dad died. Until then, he said, we would just have to do our best.

I told him that we might not be around in 10 years if we didn't fix these problems. He nodded his head sadly and told me I might be right. I resigned shortly thereafter.

evangilf's picture

Hmmmmm....after rereading Mark's post, I think he was looking for why I didn't GET another job, not why I LEFT my last one.

Well, I bought a van and drove across the country to see as many national parks, places of interest, and culturally diverse areas that I could. I'm not married, I have no kids, and I figured if I was ever going to do something like that it would have to be now....especially since I had a tidy sum saved from the previous couple of years of work.

I did get a couple of silly little jobs at places I wanted to stay for a couple of weeks (bouncer at a casino in Vegas, hourly employee in San Diego), but that was really just to give me something to do for a couple of hours a week, not something I'm going to put on my resume.

I read a lot of books, saw some beautiful places, visited friends I had lost touch with, and did a bit of writing. It was great, but I am going to go crazy if I don't get back to work soon!

Thanks for the help guys. MT is such a fantastic community!

- Evan

akinsgre's picture

If I could give you a job I would, with that answer.

Sounds exactly like what I did when I quit my job in 1996. While unemployed, I met my wife and some life-long friends.

I wasn't completely honest when I interviewed after that; I said that I had been doing some free-lance work in the gap.

In retrospect, the gap wasn't as big a deal as I thought.

Mark's picture
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So, you left because of a difference in strategic direction of the firm, and you hd the ability and the werewithal to spend several months seeing the country on your own and reconnecting with friends.

Sounds good to me.


arcarius76's picture

I am a staffing manager for a very large company. Whenever I run across someone who have gaps in their employment, I also take it case by case.

If you are honest and have a good reason for the gap, you will find that many companies will not make a big deal about the gaps.

I would suggest that during your interview, focus on what you can do for the company as the point of the meeting. Steer the interviewer away from spending too much time on the gaps. This tactic can help you avoid making your gaps the focus of the interview. :)