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How to Explain Your Travel Gap Year During a Job Interview

How to Explain Your Travel Gap Year During a Job Interview

Today, it is becoming more common to see new college grads feel the pull of adventure immediately after graduation.  Perhaps you are one of the many college grads who decided to take a year off after graduation to travel and experience new cultures.  If so, you could be wondering how to best explain this gap in your resume when interviewing.  Explaining this travel gap year can be extremely simple as long as you focus on the right things during the job interview.

Be honest and stay positive

First, it is important to remember that it is always best to remain honest during an interview.  Do not try to hide the fact that you have a gap in employment.  When a hiring manager asks what you were doing for a whole year, be straight forward and explain what you did of value with that gap year.  Many hiring managers will admire the fact that you had the courage to take a chance rather than do the norm.

Focus on what you learned

Before you ever go into a job interview, it is important for you to know how to explain the skills and knowledge you gained from your year of travel.  Think about where you traveled and the history and culture that you came in contact with.  More than likely, you had the opportunity to communicate with many different types of people and communication skills are important in any job.  This is a valuable skill in any business, especially if you are applying for a sales job, customer service position, or any other role that requires communication with customers.

Also, think about any situations you were faced with during your travels that allowed you to exercise your problem solving skills.  Were you in an area that had limited supplies of water or food?  Did you have easy access to transportation or were you strategically planning out your travel itinerary each day just to make sure that you didn’t miss a bus or train?  Perhaps you had a budget to stick to and had to hunt for the best lodging, food, or transportation deals each day.

Hiring managers want people who can think for themselves and this is an excellent way to demonstrate your ability to think and make decisions.

Depending on the job you are interviewing for, you can sell your new skills in many different ways.  Maybe you took photographs or video, maintained a blog or social media sites of your adventure.  If you are searching for an opportunity in writing, photography, videography, or marketing, these skills can be very relatable to the job requirements.  Be sure to create a portfolio of any skills or experiences that you believe to be applicable to jobs that you are applying to.  Taking this portfolio into an interview can help you to stand out from the crowd and make you more memorable to a hiring manager.

What are some other ways you could explain your gap year of travel during an interview?  Please share your tips and ideas in the comments below.

Image: VadimGuzhva/

Julia Weeks

Julia is a skilled Recruiter with over 8 years of experience in sourcing, interviewing, and hiring within many industries globally. She works closely with hiring managers and job seekers to understand needs and desires, while offering guidance and ensuring the right fit. When not recruiting or writing, Julia enjoys spending time outside cycling, taking her dog for walks, or honing her sailing skills.

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