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Asked by Tanya on July 7, 2016

I spent a few years messing around after college. Now I’m home and I need a real job. Do you have any advice for getting into the job market, and explaining this gap of time to an interviewer?

Answered by Aliyah, Hiring Expert at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, on July 8, 2016

  • For getting into the job market, tailor your resume to the position you want by adding information about academic projects you have done, relevant classes you have taken, community service activities and if you have a strong GPA. That way your resume is relevant, marketable and shows your strengths as a new grad.
  • For an interview, most recruiters and hiring managers understand students need a break from school after graduating to decompress. But I would not describe it as “messing around” because it has a negative connotation but say that you took time off from school to________________ (this could be travel, help family members or just say time off from school).
  • Then focus on turning it into a positive by talking about what you can offer to the position you are applying to whether you did internships, classes taken, your knowledge about the role/company or your strengths. Also talk about the willingness to learn and grow with that company and your career goals.
Definitely brush up on preparing for interview questions, how to articulate your skills and interview expectations. Once you get the opportunity to talk to a recruiter or hiring manager that is a small window to impress and sell them of your knowledge and interpersonal skills.

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Answered by Brandy, Hiring Expert at Archer Daniels Midland, on July 19, 2016

Great question! One of the best things you can do is make sure your resume highlights your key skills, and accomplishments. If you have a particular field that you went to school for, highlight the classes you took that could help you in a position. Another suggestion is to be prepared for interviews to put your best foot forward. Good luck with your job hunt!!

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Answered by Courtney, Hiring Expert at ADP, on August 5, 2016

It sounds like you were lucky to have some leisure time after the demands of college!  I would think about what you did with your time since graduation and reflect on what you experienced & learned that you will now apply to your career search.  If you did not work at all during this time, on your resume I would highlight your coursework, projects & any work experience you gained during college.  I would develop your talk track around your time and refer to it as a positive experience vs. "messing around" which indicates it could have been a bad choice or not a learning experience.  I hope this helps, good luck!

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