Ask James: How do I get back into work after travelling?

Not sure how to explain a gap in your CV? 

In his monthly column, career coach and Chairman of, James Reed, shares his expert advice to help you tackle your biggest career concerns.

In this month’s column, James gives his advice on how to get back into work after travelling…


The Question:


Dear James,

After taking a year out to go travelling I’m back in the UK and ready to apply for jobs. The only problem is I have a huge gap on my CV and don’t know what to fill it with. I had a couple of bar jobs on my travels when I was running low on cash, but other than that, I don’t have much work experience. I haven’t applied for jobs in a long time and I’m really out of practice when it comes to interviews. I’m scared that employers will think I’ve been out of work for too long.

Can you please give me some advice?




The Answer:


Hi Ivan,

You may think that you are out of practice when you start applying for jobs and it’s understandable to have reservations about job hunting after taking a year out, but look at the positives, you’re actually in an advantageous position to start your job search. You don’t have to complete a notice period or worry about scheduling interviews outside your working hours – you can focus your full attention on job hunting.

You have also worked and lived in a different country, which demonstrates valuable qualities that employers look for. It shows that you’re adaptable and able to embrace a different culture, so be sure to emphasize this on your CV. Even better if you can provide examples of when you have shown these traits, for example you made an effort to learn a bit of the local language (shows discipline and willingness to learn new skills), or you organised and booked travel and accommodation for a group of people (shows your ability to organise and manage a group).

When you are offered an interview, expect to be asked about your travels and what you gained from the experience. It’s important to prepare answers to these kinds of questions before your interview so you’re not caught off guard. Think about why you want to work in a particular industry and prepare a concise answer that conveys both your passion for the job and your transferable skills gained from your time spent in another country.

The most important thing to remember is to be honest on your CV. Don’t extend dates from previous employment to cover the gap. There’s a high chance that your new employer will find out when they check your references, which could cost you the job. Dishonesty doesn’t sit well with employers, or anyone in fact!

Remember to focus on the positives and emphasize your transferable skills to employers when you’re applying for jobs and I’m sure you’ll have a lot to offer in any role you choose to pursue.

Best of luck.


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If you’d like James to answer your career query, tweet your question to @James_A_Reed



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