The Best Way to Describe a Gap Year on a Resume

A gap year between jobs can involve many activities. Perhaps you cared for an aging parent, volunteered with a nonprofit organization, or traveled the globe.

Listing your gap year on your resume can be challenging. There is no section that specifically addresses your time away from the workforce.

However, you likely gained knowledge and experience that can benefit your next employer. This is why your gap year must be included on your resume.

Implement these tips to include a gap year on your resume.

Create a Functional Resume

You might not want to mention your gap year if it was focused on recreation. Or, you might not want to detail the personal family circumstances you dealt with.

If so, you can use a functional resume rather than a chronological resume. This reduces the visibility of your gap year.

A functional resume focuses on your skills and experience but not on when you gained them. This means you can include the qualifications you gained during your gap year without detailing how you spent your time.

Include Your Gap Year Under Experience

If you worked internationally or volunteered during your gap year, include the details in the Experience section of your resume. This shows you gained leadership skills, independence, and other desirable qualities while away from the workforce.

Use the job posting to tailor the education, skills, and experience you gained from your gap year. Include on your resume action-oriented verbs and quantifiable accomplishments.

Detail Your Gap Year in a Breakout Section

Your gap year might not blend with the rest of your resume. For instance, you may have been building a finance career for several years, then took off a year to build access to clean water in a third-world country. In this case, you could mention your gap year in a separate section.

Consider titling this section “International Experience” or “Volunteer Experience.” Then, highlight the knowledge, skills, and experience you gained related to the job duties and responsibilities listed in the posting. Examples include planning, budgeting, coordination, communication, and speaking a foreign language.

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