Explaining Work Experience Gaps?


Working through my MBA admissions essays right now, and I'm trying to explain some periods of unemployment on my resume - I took some personal time off to travel for a few months between jobs once, and another time I was laid off and took about six months to find a new job.

I'm worried that these periods will harm my chances. Does any body have any strategies for explaining gaps like this? What are admissions people looking for?
Working through my MBA admissions essays right now, and I'm trying to explain some periods of unemployment on my resume - I took some personal time off to travel for a few months between jobs once, and another time I was laid off and took about six months to find a new job.

I'm worried that these periods will harm my chances. Does any body have any strategies for explaining gaps like this? What are admissions people looking for?
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Duncan
I just tried google, and there's a pile of good, generic advice which is worth following: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=how+to+explain+gaps+on+your+resume&oq=how+to+explain+gaps+on+your+resume&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l4.5680j0j4&sourceid=chrome&espv=210&es_sm=91&ie=UTF-8

Admissions managers are looking for people that their key customers, the recruiters, will want to hire. That's why the generic guidance, which is really designed for influencing recruiters, is so useful.
I just tried google, and there's a pile of good, generic advice which is worth following: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=how+to+explain+gaps+on+your+resume&oq=how+to+explain+gaps+on+your+resume&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l4.5680j0j4&sourceid=chrome&espv=210&es_sm=91&ie=UTF-8

Admissions managers are looking for people that their key customers, the recruiters, will want to hire. That's why the generic guidance, which is really designed for influencing recruiters, is so useful.
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ezra
Personally, I wouldn't focus on the reasons for the unemployment, which can come off sounding negative "I was laid off," etc., but rather, discuss what you gained from gap. Even if you took some time off to travel, if you can frame this positively -- if it helped you grow as a person or see leadership from a new perspective, for instance -- use that.
Personally, I wouldn't focus on the reasons for the unemployment, which can come off sounding negative "I was laid off," etc., but rather, discuss what you gained from gap. Even if you took some time off to travel, if you can frame this positively -- if it helped you grow as a person or see leadership from a new perspective, for instance -- use that.
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Thanks for the good tips. Do you think that these will affect my chances at getting in to a ranked program? I'm not looking at the top schools, but MBAs at HEC Paris, SDA Bocconi, and Esade, primarily.
Thanks for the good tips. Do you think that these will affect my chances at getting in to a ranked program? I'm not looking at the top schools, but MBAs at HEC Paris, SDA Bocconi, and Esade, primarily.
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ezra
It's hard to say. I would think that you are not going to get dinged automatically for work experience gaps - but you should be prepared to answer questions about them. That's why thinking about them and considering ways to frame them positively is going to be important.
It's hard to say. I would think that you are not going to get dinged automatically for work experience gaps - but you should be prepared to answer questions about them. That's why thinking about them and considering ways to frame them positively is going to be important.
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ArunS
Some tips re what to do about a work experience gap:

http://find-mba.com/articles/what-to-do-about-a-work-experience-gap
Some tips re what to do about a work experience gap:

http://find-mba.com/articles/what-to-do-about-a-work-experience-gap
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Hey, I have two gaps in my work experience, one because I took some time off to travel and another due to company downsizing. These were short 3 months and 6 months) but is this going to present a problem when I apply to MBAs?
Hey, I have two gaps in my work experience, one because I took some time off to travel and another due to company downsizing. These were short 3 months and 6 months) but is this going to present a problem when I apply to MBAs?
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Razors Edg...
I don't think it's necessarily a *problem* but it will raise red flags with adcomms.

The key will be framing these and explaining them. Downsizing is unavoidable, so that shouldn't be too hard, especially if you were able to quickly find another job. But taking time off to travel, that could look good or look bad: if you got perspective out of your travels, which you used to advance your career, something like this - you can explain it in your essays.
I don't think it's necessarily a *problem* but it will raise red flags with adcomms.

The key will be framing these and explaining them. Downsizing is unavoidable, so that shouldn't be too hard, especially if you were able to quickly find another job. But taking time off to travel, that could look good or look bad: if you got perspective out of your travels, which you used to advance your career, something like this - you can explain it in your essays.
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Mamit
I believe downsizing is something inevitable & travel adds to your experience so there should be absolutely no problem with either. Just be prudent about it & that's all, no need to worry.
I believe downsizing is something inevitable & travel adds to your experience so there should be absolutely no problem with either. Just be prudent about it & that's all, no need to worry.
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Got it, thanks. It sounds like I just need to be able to explain why these happened and be clear about things.
Got it, thanks. It sounds like I just need to be able to explain why these happened and be clear about things.
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ridjai
Hi,

Did you get into any MBA school? I am applying for MBA for 2017 and I am facing the same issue.
Hi,

Did you get into any MBA school? I am applying for MBA for 2017 and I am facing the same issue.
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moysho
There are some good tips on explaining work experience gaps in this article: http://www.mba.com/global/the-gmat-blog-hub/ask-the-expert/2011/oct/i-have-a-job-gap-in-my-resume-how-do-i-approach-explaining-this-in-my-mba-application.aspx

[Edited by moysho on Feb 22, 2017]

There are some good tips on explaining work experience gaps in this article: http://www.mba.com/global/the-gmat-blog-hub/ask-the-expert/2011/oct/i-have-a-job-gap-in-my-resume-how-do-i-approach-explaining-this-in-my-mba-application.aspx
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