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I spent a year not working and had no trouble lining up dozens of interviews when I started looking. However, it did take several months before (a) my interview game was up to par, and (b) I found a company I actually wanted to work for.



What did you do for the year off? I've always believed that tech is one of the most generous industries for this sort of "resume gap" of a year+ but if the question comes up I don't think most people would think highly of answers like "sleep" or "video games", even though more socially acceptable answers like "travel" aren't all that different... I wonder how much it varies from tech company to company. Last time I did interviewing I had an older guy ask about my GPA, and a few wondered what I was up to in 2013 when I had a year off my resume (finishing off school but that doesn't answer what the summer was spent doing, which wasn't much of note).


Generally I told people that I had done a tiny bit of contract work (true) and had been working on my own project (somewhat true, although it never got past the conceptual stage). There were a couple other things, which I won't elaborate on for anonymity's sake, but they were not programming related at all. Even on the projects, interviewers never really dug deep into them.

I suppose sleep and videogames aren't great answers. Taking time off to travel or explore some other interest is almost certainly fine in SV.

Ultimately, I think most places are so hard up to find qualified candidates that as long as you pass the interview and don't come off as a total slacker, you're probably fine. But if you're career-minded and applying to a place that has their career tracks worked out (read, not most startups), you probably want to give that impression to your future engineering manager.




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