How To Explain A Gap Year On Your CV

How To Explain A Gap Year On Your CV

Uploaded on
Jan 6, 2023
Last updated on
Mar 13, 2023
Uploaded on
Jan 6, 2023
Last updated on
Mar 13, 2023
Gap year on your CV
Fill in the gap

It's difficult to have your life mapped out right after high school. You need time to discover your interests and, more importantly, to enjoy yourself! Instead of the pressure of making a job decision, your youth should be filled with wonderful moments you've shared with friends and family. Some students simply need a break before they dive headfirst into college. If you identify with this, you might consider taking a gap year.

What is a Gap year

A gap year is an off year you take from studying; usually, students take a gap year in the transition to Highschool and University. This has been a popular practice among students in the UK since the 1700s. During this break, students make use of this time to travel, learn new skills, or even work somewhere. 

How can it affect your CV?

Taking a gap year can affect your CV in many ways, for example. If not presented properly, it might give the impression that you have wasted your time. Hence, presenting your gap year CV is crucial as many factors depend upon it. 

How to justify your Gap year? 

Now that you have to justify your Gap year on your CV, here are some ways you can explain a gap year on your CV:

1. Own the gap year

When you mention your gap year on your resume, you need to own it and present it positively and proudly. Present an honest and realistic explanation of how you used your time fixating on transferable skills and experience that you have received. 

2. Present your achievements 

Upscale your gap year CV by adding your accomplishments and achievements to present a strong portfolio. We understand that achievements are difficult to pull when trying to give yourself a break but present the constructive results you have delivered. This will surely develop your gap year resume and upscale you. 

3. Emphasise your skills

Gap years are one of the best ways to work on your skills; your gap year CV is just waiting for that. When you begin your journey of a gap year, maintain a notebook where you mention every little skill you learn or even develop. If you maintain a record, you will not forget anything, and even the smallest skills can make a big impact, strengthening your gap year resume. 

4. Don't go into excessive details  

When you mention a gap year on your resume, the material you give must be concentrated and pertinent to the position you're vying for. Save the anecdotes and information for the interview when you have more time to expound and present them from a personal viewpoint instead of mentioning them in your gap year CV. 

5. Display your commitment to the long term.

Above all, your gap year resume and cover letter should highlight that despite taking a year off and travelling widely, you are eager to start a steady, long-term profession. You want to eliminate the worry that the candidate will go on other adventures as soon as they have received training.

Transferable Skills to add to your gap year resume 

Above all, you should emphasise in your resume and cover letter that you are anxious to begin a stable, long-term career despite taking a year off and exploring the world. Once the candidate has gotten training, you don't want to fear that they'll leave for other experiences.


You might demonstrate how working on your own business or interacting with local markets to buy goods improved your negotiating skills.

Budgeting and planning

Describe in your gap year CV how you maintained a strict budget while travelling during your gap year. Any time off of work without a consistent source of income is sure to improve your ability to plan and budget.


Emphasise that if you're volunteering abroad, you've probably collaborated with volunteers from other backgrounds. Adding this to your gap year resume will emphasise that you are good at teamwork. 


Things can go wrong, and plans might quickly change when travelling. Describe how you were forced to adjust to new circumstances and develop quick fixes for the initial issue.


Effective interpersonal communication is a crucial skill to develop throughout any career sabbatical and can increase your employability in customer-facing employment.


If you engaged in activities like teaching overseas, you probably developed important leadership abilities that you may apply in any workplace.

Critical thinking

An excellent talent that can be developed during a gap year and applied in any role is evaluating problems and coming up with quick solutions.


Creativity isn't just about having artistic talent; it's also about how you approach problems. Your creativity has likely improved if your gap year has helped you think creatively and develop original solutions to issues.

Gap year CV example

You don't take a gap year lightly, so make sure your motivation and enthusiasm shine through on your resume. This is the kind of attitude that a company can benefit from!
Your language proficiency, capacity for cross-cultural communication, and global outlook cannot be understated if you travelled during your gap year.
These are only a few illustrations of transferable skills. You can use various additional ideas on your CV provided by the job description and your personal experience. Below are some examples which will come in handy for you. 

Career Break

Experienced the culture and lifestyle of people living in Bali while travelling and exploring each part of the country. I gained knowledge of the local Bali language Bahasa Bali, which enabled me to do social work to educate unprivileged children.

Key Skills gained

1. Fluency in Bahasa Bali
2. A hang of budgeting 
3. Teamwork

We hope our guide on preparing a powerful and impactful gap year CV helped you present yourself in front of the interviewer so that your gap year looks positive and that you gained something from it. And in the end, don’t forget that taking a gap year isn’t bad as you can learn so much, build many skills and have fun mainly! 

Frequently Asked Questions