Some interviews can be awkward, especially when the interview questions bother on your gap year as an international student. Students use the gap year for different purposes including travel, work, capacity building as well as for personal reasons. This could get an interview panel concerned as they look through your CV but not to worry.
The following are tips for answering awkward interview questions about your gap year.
1. Create a non-chronological CV
Go against the norm of having your Curriculum Vitae (CV) in chronological order. The focus should be on your skills and experiences. You don’t necessarily have to state where you acquired them from. So, by outlining your experiences in order of relevance to the job being applied for, you protect yourself from disclosing you had a year-long gap for recreational or personal reasons.
2. Place the gap year under Experience
In a situation where you spent the gap year volunteering, do well to indicate it in your CV under experience. By so doing, you would make a positive impression on your interviewers as a leader with relevant skills. However, ensure your experience is in tandem with your career as this will be relevant to the job you’re applying for.
3. Invoke a “Breakout Section”
There are times when your gap year involvements and career paths don’t cross. Simply develop a ‘breakout section’ on your CV. In this section, highlight every valuable task you were involved in. It doesn’t necessarily need to be directly linked with the day job where you worked. This section can be tagged ‘Volunteer Experience’ or ‘International Experience’. This way, you won’t be ridiculed with questions about your gap year.
4. Highlight Accomplishments
Before you can do this, there have to be accomplishments. So, while working or volunteering, ensure you strive to accomplish something. But just in case you are worried that your accomplishment isn’t related to your field, relax. What is most important is your learning experience and the possibility of it being relevant to your CV in the future.