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I did my Master's degree in materials science in 2013. I eventually wanted to pursue a pursue a PhD, so I stayed at home and started applying for positions.

However, I managed to join a position in September 2014, a year from getting the masters degree. So, there's a gap of 1 year in my resume.

Now, I have completed my PhD and am searching for positions with both industry and academia. Though I have not got any interview scheduled yet, I was wondering what would I say incase an interviewer asks me the gap year.

I know that this is going to be a big problem for securing a job. How to tackle this effectively? What to say when the question arises?

Additional information: There's more to it. I had worked in an research and development company for 4 months (from July to October 2013) post graduation from my masters. But, I had to leave it as I did not find the work suitable. I did not finish the probation period, so did not get any experience letter. That's equivalent to not having a job.

I was supposed to join a lab in an university as a research fellow immediately after. But, that did not happen as I got sick for 3 months. Eventually, when I did get the PhD position, it was already January 2014 and the position was supposed to start in September 2014. So, I couldn't just join a company for such a short time and leave it. I spent the rest of the time spending time with my family and traveling.

  • Does this answer your question? Writing a CV: how to handle a gap in employment because of studies? – gnat Dec 12 '19 at 11:07
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    @gnat Thank you for your comment. No, the link you provided doesn't answer my question as I was not studying during the gap year. I was just applying for PhD positions. I did not do anything worth mentioning that year apart from preparing for GRE and TOEFL exams. – Jaggy Dec 12 '19 at 11:19
  • "I know that this is going to be a big problem for securing a job". What do you base that on? – YoupT Dec 12 '19 at 11:21
  • @YoupT From conversations with friends and acquaintances who have been employed since their undergrad or masters, they unanimously conceded that a year of gap is a red flag in hiring. I don't have any concrete evidence. – Jaggy Dec 12 '19 at 11:24
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    @Jaggy that's not how it works. You worked there for 4 months, it didn's dissapear because you resigned. – Tymoteusz Paul Dec 12 '19 at 12:20
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Why do you think it's a big problem? You're a PhD dude. How can they tell you "Well, you spent 6 years in the highest, most rigorous academic program afforded to you, but OH---here's this gap I know nothing about, you must not be motivated!"

Bull-oney. Don't explain. If they ask, tell them exactly what you said here. That's academia in a nutshell.

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"I know that this is going to be a big problem for securing a job."

"From conversations with friends and acquaintances who have been employed since their undergrad or masters, they unanimously conceded that a year of gap is a red flag in hiring. I don't have any concrete evidence."

Do not listen to them. I have had a good 4.5 yrs of career break and now I am employed in my desired field. There are many more related questions posted here. Search with career break or employment break. You'll get enough positive information.

You can always mention the entire 1.5+ yrs of gap labelled as career/educational break in your resume. If you are asked about it, mention personal or study related etc.

Employers would be bothered about the break only if you are. If you show them that it has nothing to do with your abilities or the way you have updated yourself with the latest technologies, they would be more than willing to recruit you.

Prepare for and attend interviews with a mindset that past is past and that simple one year break will not impact your future employment.

A good cover letter also helps. Stay away from negative advices. Good luck.

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The best way to answer the question about the gap (if asked): Be truthful.

There is nothing, which you described, is a deal-breaker. Just stick with the version you mentioned above.

A timeline like

  • Completed Masters in early 2013
  • Worked in the R&D company for 4 months.
  • Application for PhD accepted in Jan 2014, joined the program on Sept 2014.

Should be more than enough to answer any questions about the gap. (They may not even ask about the gap).

Even after this if anyone asks about the remaining gaps, you can mention the sickness (if you wish) and the travel time. You should be covered.

  • So, do I keep the short job experience in my CV/resume or just leave it out as a year gap between masters and PhD? – Jaggy Dec 12 '19 at 12:04
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    @Jaggy Why to leave it out? You tried something and that did not work - fine. Either way, you gained experience. Keep it on. – Sourav Ghosh Dec 12 '19 at 12:05

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