Posted by: Michelle | April 16, 2013

Mind the Gap


A couple of days ago a friend asked me if I could have a look at his CV. He was preparing an application for an internship and he wanted an additional opinion. As always, sitting in front of just one PC to focus on doing some work is not so much successful. We quickly started not to read through his CV but to talk in general about everything related with applications, CVs and cover letters (well, at least it had slightly to do with the original reason).

One topic which came up was the gap in the CV. Is it really that bad if you take some time out and then have a gap of 6 month or even a year in your CV? And by a gap I don’t mean a year abroad as an au-pair or a voluntary work project. I mean just doing nothing, hang out, relax, follow only your hobbies… – a year which is just missing in your CV.

In school they taught us to avoid exactly that but isn’t there always a way to justify such a gap? By saying “I used the time to find my way for the future, to spend some time with my family or to travel to become more confident”?!

Finishing school I directly started with my undergraduate studies, continued with my traineeship, followed by my Master’s without losing even a month. There were times where it was really stressful as everything has to be done simultaneously. It feels like you can’t really enjoy the moment as you always have to think one step ahead.

And currently…so many of my classmates have already started to apply for jobs but this time I decided to do nothing. I will just focus on my life here in Newcastle, on my studies and then I will see what happens. The plan is to first start looking into my options when I finished my dissertation (and when I actually have time for it).

If it then happens that I have two-three months off, well…that’s the way the cookie crumbles (isn’t that a saying here?). I think it makes sense to try not to lose too much time with doing nothing but I guess no one would criticise the decision to take just some time out. At least I hope so.


  1. It’s an interesting one, Michelle and possibly a way in which the CV is changing over time. Gaps were thought to arise employer suspicion, and probably still will do if too long and unexplained. On the other hand, the trend to highly-focussed, job relevant CVs can mean that people will be able to leave bits of employment history out or contract jobs together without undue penalty.

    Probably what you should do is be prepared to explain is what you gain from your propsed two or three months’ sabbatical. If you reflect profoundly on your future career, maybe undertake some useful investigations, and come to some worthwhile conclusions, then this effectively amounts to a productive period of continuing professional development.

    Good luck!

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