How far into your career can big resume gaps hurt you?

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Anonymous User
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How far into your career can big resume gaps hurt you?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:03 pm

So I was lucky enough to get BigLaw with a V firm from OCI. But I significantly underperformed my grades/school in terms of number of callbacks/offers/the level of firms that called me back. Although OCI is a crapshoot, and this could be attributable to any number of factors, including poor interviewing, just a rough job market, etc., I wonder if it might've been partly due to the fact that I have about a yearlong gap in my resume between UG and law school. I don't want to get too personal, but I have a good (and true) explanation for this, which is that I had to resolve some family issues at the time.

Assuming this is what made me underperform during OCI, how much will this hurt me down the road? i.e., going from BigLaw to in-house or some other job. Hopefully after working BigLaw for a few years, any future employers will presume I have the commitment necessary to work in a professional environment? Hopefully this matters less over time? Is there anything I can be doing to mitigate this, like doing more clinics/volunteer work during law school? Should I try to extend my tenure in BigLaw beyond what the average new associate does because of this? If I am misguided in even thinking that this is what caused me to underperform, feel free to let me know that as well. I'm pretty sure I've seen instances on TLS where people have still done very well while having the same issue, and obviously I am still grateful for what I did get. Thanks for any help.

Anon because identifiable from past posts.

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thesealocust
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Re: How far into your career can big resume gaps hurt you?

Postby thesealocust » Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:14 pm

Can't imagine what you did between college and law school for a year is going to matter a lot for applying to a job after your firm job.

And seriously, don't try to find THE ONE TRUE CAUSAL REASON for your bad, good, or inbetween OCI performance. It's good to be somewhat self aware and reflective, but the process is holistic and extremely chaotic. Maybe the gap was a factor some places, maybe it was something else, but you're reading too much into it if you're becoming concerned about its effect on your job hunt after years of experience at a firm.

TooOld4This
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Re: How far into your career can big resume gaps hurt you?

Postby TooOld4This » Sun Oct 14, 2012 3:51 pm

As much as you would like to "blame" your "underperformance" on taking a year off between UG and law school, I can just about guarantee it had nothing to do with it. Just from the way you posted about it, I can guess that you had issues interviewing during callbacks though. (and this could include how you discussed taking a year off. -- in other words it wouldn't be that you took a year off that was the problem, but rather how you discussed that raised concerns)

I would recommend doing some informational and mock interviews with alumni and seek honest feedback. After your first job, no one will care (or probably do the math to figure out) what you did in a single year between UG and law school. They will, however, still judge your interview technique.

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IAFG
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Re: How far into your career can big resume gaps hurt you?

Postby IAFG » Sun Oct 14, 2012 3:54 pm

TooOld4This wrote:As much as you would like to "blame" your "underperformance" on taking a year off between UG and law school, I can just about guarantee it had nothing to do with it. Just from the way you posted about it, I can guess that you had issues interviewing during callbacks though. (and this could include how you discussed taking a year off. -- in other words it wouldn't be that you took a year off that was the problem, but rather how you discussed that raised concerns)

I dunno I think taking a whole year off looks pretty shitty.

That said, it was during a terrible recession that everyone will remember for years to come. If you don't bounce around firms a ton in your first 5 years I doubt it will ever effect you again.

TooOld4This
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Re: How far into your career can big resume gaps hurt you?

Postby TooOld4This » Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:01 pm

IAFG wrote:
TooOld4This wrote:As much as you would like to "blame" your "underperformance" on taking a year off between UG and law school, I can just about guarantee it had nothing to do with it. Just from the way you posted about it, I can guess that you had issues interviewing during callbacks though. (and this could include how you discussed taking a year off. -- in other words it wouldn't be that you took a year off that was the problem, but rather how you discussed that raised concerns)

I dunno I think taking a whole year off looks pretty shitty.

That said, it was during a terrible recession that everyone will remember for years to come. If you don't bounce around firms a ton in your first 5 years I doubt it will ever effect you again.


When I ask about resume gaps, I generally don't care what the answer is. I care how the candidate answers. A single year gap between UG and law school wouldn't begin to raise a red flag for me on its own. I also don't know of anyone who would really see this as an issue on its own, either. That's not to say that there aren't people that would ding someone for this, but it is not "a thing" that should account for multiple dings across multiple firms. The exception would be if your answer about the year is a bad one.




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