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When I eventually move on from my current job I plan to take a few weeks off to travel before starting the next job. This won’t be a problem for my next employer—I will have secured a job and negotiated a start date before leaving my current position, and it’s not their concern what I do until then.1 But employers after that might be turned off by the gap in my résumé. So my questions are:

  • Do most employers in the U.S. even care about a short (3–6 week) break between jobs? (In my industry, a qualified candidate can generally find a new job in much less time than this.)

  • Are there any other significant downsides to taking a break like this? (Let’s assume that I have already planned to cover the gap in health-insurance coverage.)

1 The fact that I won’t leave my current job until I have another one lined up will, of course, limit the amount of time I can take off, since companies don’t want to hire people too far in advance of their start date.

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    Did you look at workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/2609/… – Brandin Mar 2 '15 at 15:20
  • @Brandin That’s helpful, thanks! I was wondering whether there would be any other problems associated with intentionally taking time off. – bdesham Mar 2 '15 at 15:59
  • I can only think, if you decide to vacation right before a new role starts, I wonder if you'll be able to relax as much, as compared to taking holiday during a role which you've already "settled into"? If you save up your 2 week vacation during your current or next employment, maybe it's a better overall strategy? But this is up to you. – Brandin Mar 2 '15 at 16:02
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You're unlikely to have any problems due to this, it's not likely to be noticed in any CV/resume, and the few employers who ask (generally for gaps over 6-8 weeks) usually just want a reasonable explanation for the gap (I had a new role signed off, but took a few weeks vacation so I was fresh for my new role is perfectly valid).

So don't worry, just make sure you get a good break lined up for the gap, no staycations!

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    +1: No one will even notice or care. Breaks between jobs are quite common. It would only be an issue if the break was sufficiently long as to potentially degrade skills. – Joel Etherton Mar 2 '15 at 15:28
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I have only ever had one interviewer make a fuss about my breaks between jobs. I told her the truth, which I thought were valid enough reasons. I had a 3 month gap between my last job in the pharmaceutical industry and my next job in an administrative role. Although the culture of the industry I'd left was not for me, it did pay very very well. I worked odd shifts and a lot of overtime while employed, I'd never taken a "gap year" or even a summer off as I did a co-op program in college, so I decided to take a summer off to travel around the US now that I finally had some time. I then worked at an administrative job at a market research firm for almost a year, until my position was downsized. At that time, my mother was starting to fall ill, I'd barely seen much of my family since high school, so I, now 32, decided to move into the apartment above my parent's garage. I had several motivations, but reconnecting with my parents who were aging was the foremost reason. I also needed a change of scenery, job prospects where I'd been living were sparse, and I wanted to take some time to think about what I'd like to study in graduate school. So I did all that, while working part-time at a menial job. Now that I've been out of grad school for two years and have started a new career that I actually enjoy, it has become easy to gloss over that gap and not raise eyebrows, but it was very difficult to explain at first. I never wanted to say too much too personal in interviews, but leaving any of it out made it sound suspicious or like I was lazy. Looking back, that one interviewer who focused more on my gap time that employed time was kind of a jerk. I interview and hire people now and I look at their most recent few positions, the duration spent there, their education, and maybe certifications or achievements. I judge personality, how they will fit within the team. If they can pass our background check, they passed. I do not play detective and cut people who's online profile shows that they drank on spring break in 2002. Any recruiter who does that needs to get a life. I do not analyze gap time, after all time off for a family matter before they worked for me is none of my business. All life experience is "work" whether one is earning a check or not.

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