Career Gap for a Fresh Engineering Graduate: How to Get a Job?


Many college students inadvertently find themselves constantly trying to score better marks and get better jobs than their peers. There is a lot of pressure about moving forward in the career and being productive. Due to this, young people, especially college graduates, tend to ignore their passion and do not explore other options.

This is mainly to avoid failure of being left behind. However, after the pandemic, many people have started taking a gap of 1 or 2 years after graduation to take time out to figure out their career path. This blog provides a detailed guide on what a career gap for a fresh engineering graduate would mean and how you can make the most out of your career gap.

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What is a Career Gap or Employment Gap?

A career gap or an employment gap is defined as the period during which people are not employed. It does not necessarily mean that you stay idle during the gap.

People take career gaps for several reasons. With the start-up culture gaining popularity, career gaps are becoming more common than you think. A large number of college pass-outs, especially fresh engineering graduates, are taking gap years to give a shot at entrepreneurship.

However, entrepreneurship is not the only factor. Many people take career or employment gaps to study abroad, prepare for competitive exams, health issues, work on their personal goals, and various other reasons. Lack of jobs is also one of the major reasons for career gaps.

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What are some common myths about the Career Gap?

Before you read further, it is essential to clear the air about career gaps because taking a break is often seen in a negative light. Here are some popular myths about taking career gaps that you must know:

  • Gaps mean the end of your career:- This is a prevalent notion, especially in the corporate sector. However, it’s not entirely true. Taking a well-planned career or employment gap can be helpful for your career. If you feel you are not the right cut out for engineering after graduation or have an interest in any other field, you can take a career gap to explore options. This can help you advance your career. 

Even if you want to build a career in the engineering sector, you can take a gap after graduation, learn essential skills, and apply for jobs. Practical know-how can improve your chances of moving forward in your career.

  • You get underpaid after taking a career gap:- Many believe companies offer fewer salaries to candidates who take career gaps. While some companies might follow this policy, it is not true for most employers in the market. Companies have a salary range for hiring candidates for specific positions. A career gap will not matter much during salary negotiation if you possess the required skills.

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Taking a career gap has more to do with your circumstances and preferences than your abilities. It does not mean you don’t possess the required skills or qualifications for a job. Many companies worldwide are gradually acknowledging career gaps and paying employees based on their skills and not just experience. 

What to do During a Career Gap if you are a fresher?

The major reason why fresh engineering graduates are apprehensive about taking career gaps is the fear that they would have to stay ideal during the gap or would not find the right career opportunities after a year. However, there are a lot of things that you can do during a career gap so that you find jobs easily later.

  • Upskill yourself:- Technology is constantly evolving. You should upskill yourself and stay updated with the latest trends to ensure you don’t stay behind. You can learn cutting-edge technologies like AI, ML, Data Science, Cloud Computing, Big Data, IoT, and more. It’s also essential to work on acquiring soft skills like communication, leadership, problem-solving, critical analysis, and logical thinking.
  • Learn programming languages:- You can learn various programming languages like Python, Java, PHP, Ruby, SQL, Scala, and JavaScript if you want to get into web development.
  • Pursue courses:- Studying further is also a great option if you don’t want to do a job right after graduation. You can apply for a master’s degree in computer science and engineering or pursue online certificate and degree courses in engineering.
  • Do career gap jobs or internships:- You can utilise the gap to do internships, work with start-ups, work on your start-up, or take a job in a field that interests you.

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How to Start after a Career Gap in Engineering?

It can be confusing and challenging to restart your career in engineering after a gap. Here are a few tips that can help you!

  • Apply for several jobs:- You can apply for jobs on LinkedIn, AngelList, and other platforms. If you feel you have the required skill set and experience for the job, you can apply for lateral entry jobs. It is not necessary to apply for only fresher positions. However, you should remember that starting somewhere is important rather than letting opportunities pass by.
  • Send cold emails to companies:- One of the best ways to find opportunities is to send cold emails to employers. You can send a personalised email explaining your career gap briefly and focusing on how you can add value to the company.
  • Reach out to your mentors or peers for help:- You should seek help from your friends, mentors, and fellow college mates for job references or recommendations. This can help you get a job faster.
  • Have faith in yourself:- The most important thing during this phase is to believe in your skills and knowledge. Undermining yourself might lead to settling for a junior position than you deserve.

How to Justify the Career Gap in Your Resume?

The toughest part about looking for opportunities after a career gap is applying for jobs and explaining the reasons for the gap to potential employers. Many people try to hide their career or employment gap in their CV by lying about it or mentioning some other job. However, that can lead to repercussions.

Most employers will eventually get to know about the gap after looking at your resume or during the interview rounds. Therefore, you should tell the truth about your career gap in your resume because the employer figuring it out on its own is likely leave a bad impression and make your chances of getting hired bleak.

You can mention a career gap by adding a summary statement to the CV. Keep it brief by explaining the reasons for taking the job in a few lines. You can talk about the gap in detail during the interview if required.

You should try to add skills, practical projects, research experience, boot camps, certificate courses or diplomas related to the engineering field, and internship experience to show that your skills and experience align with the job requirements. Customising your CV for every job application and highlighting the skill sets mentioned in the job description is important. Mention your learning and experience if you worked on a start-up right after graduation.

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An employment gap can advance or slow down your career depending on how you have planned it. Even if you are not working as a professional or not pursuing higher studies during the gap, you should focus on constantly upskilling yourself so that you can make up for the gap with relevant practical experience and skills. It enhances your CV and increases the chances of getting hired for better roles and well-paying opportunities. 

You can consider pursuing an online certificate or degree courses from upGrad to strengthen your skills and boost your CV. Some of the most popular courses for engineering graduates include Master of Science in Computer Science, Advanced Certificate Programme in Data Science, and Advanced Certificate Programme in Cyber Security. These courses offer you an opportunity to learn relevant technical skills. You also get to work on multiple practical projects that add value to your CV.

Should you take a Career Gap as a fresh engineering graduate?

There isn't a plain yes or no answer to this question. The career gap decision is based on various personal and professional factors. You can take a career gap right after graduation to pursue a master's in technology. It is also fine to take a gap of six-seven months and acquire relevant skills if you don't have a job offer right after graduation. You can also take a career gap for any personal reason. However, you should take a career gap only if it's necessary.

How do you justify a 2-year gap after graduation?

You can justify a 2-year gap after graduation if you are an engineering graduate by acquiring relevant skills, knowledge, and practical experience in the field. If you have done a master's during the gap, you can mention the learning, research work, and projects. You can also justify the gap by mentioning that you spent the time preparing for competitive exams. You can also highlight the skills acquired during career gap jobs.

Is it necessary to add a career gap to your CV?

It is not necessary to add a career gap to your CV is not necessary, but it is recommended. It helps the employer know about the gap beforehand. This allows you to gain their trust. Also, employers verify the jobs mentioned on your resume and do a thorough background check. Therefore, you should avoid lying about the career gap in your resume. It is better to come forward than face repercussions later.

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