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My question concerns the perception of CV gaps due to returning to full-time education.

The question Will a two-year gap in employment (or working part-time for 2 years in something such as a store or admin) due to returning to university full-time to pursue a Higher Diploma in Economics followed by a Masters in Economics over 2 years in total hurt my employment prospects upon completion of the Masters and into the future?

I'm currently based in Europe but would really like to know the US point of view also. Ultimately though I would love to hear any and all perspectives.

The context: I'm 26 and graduated from my undergrad almost 4 years ago. I have worked in two full-time roles since then, with no gaps in between. I have gained great experience, but all round it is that of generalist and while complementary to the field I wish to enter, it is no substitute for experience in the field.

This year, I want to specialize as I have long wanted to pursue Economics and would like to complete a Masters which would take 1 year full-time. I order to do so, I need to first complete a Higher Diploma in Economics, as my undergrad did not have sufficient quantitative or economics components to grant me direct entry to a Masters in this field. The Higher Diploma will also take one year to complete full-time, meaning 2-years in total for the Diploma and Masters.

I have explored options of studying part-time and continuing to work full-time for my current employer, but based on the in-class demands during the working week of the Higher Diploma and Masters I do not think this will be feasible. Therefore, I would aim to quit my job to pursue the Higher Diploma followed by the Masters and would aim to get a part-time role in something like working in a store or an administrative role.

I'm concerned that hiring managers and HR consider may consider this a resume gap when glancing over my resume and seeing the dates. I'm worried I'll be written off for the more junior roles in the field after my Masters as I know hiring managers get many applications and may just see a gap in employment.

I'd appreciate any experience that anyone has, particularly if you are working in HR.

Thank you so much.

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    Let me say this in "grumpy old guy" terms - "Kid, no one in HR cares. You haven't been in the workforce long enough for anyone to gaf." Resume gaps are for people who've been in the workforce for a considerable amount of time with nothing to show for the gap. Going for a masters degree isn't a gap in your resume. Mar 22 at 14:52
  • Yeah, if I was interviewing you and you were explaining all this to me I’d be bored already. “You went back to get your masters I get it.”
    – mxyzplk
    Mar 24 at 0:58

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If you were a full time student, put when you were back in school in your resume as if it was a conventional job.

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The problem with resume gaps happens when those gaps are unexplained, or occur with frequency. You can always list your schooling as you would a conventional job, or you can list your degree (even before you earn it) with dates so that anyone reviewing your resume would see the gap lines up with returning to school for a Masters.

I listed my bachelors with a start date and an expected graduation date while applying to jobs during my undergrad years. So long as you note that the degree is being pursued, and not complete, you can always list it under education. I did so to cover the gap between my high school jobs and my date of application. I have since removed the finer details and just list the degree with the graduation year.

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Will a two-year gap in employment due to returning to university full-time ... hurt my employment prospects upon completion of the Masters ...?

No. This is fairly common. In fact, some hiring managers will view this as the "preferred" part: Having some real world work experience gives you a much better view point to absorb the Master's education. You can quickly assess what of the material is relevant and useful in the real world and what isn't.

This being said: I would not wait any longer. 4 years is just about the right time. The longer your work experience is, the less relevant your academic credentials become. In other works B.Sc. + 4 years + M.Sc. is equivalent or better then B.Sc. + M.Sc. + 4 years. However B.Sc. + 10 years + M.Sc would start to feel a little odd.

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    It’s never too late to get an additional degree.
    – Donald
    Mar 22 at 12:36
  • For fun: yes. For career advancement: not so much.
    – Hilmar
    Mar 22 at 13:57
  • For advancement a mid-career degree is more likely to be beneficial for a move to a semi-related role instead of for progression in your existing one. ex getting an MBA to support transitioning from a hands on to a managerial role. Mar 22 at 20:20

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