What did you do during this gap in your employment ?

Alternative ways in which this question can be asked are:

  • I see, there’s some gap in your work history. Why ?
  • Can you tell me more about this break in your career history?

Reasons that are acceptable are:

  • Travel
  • Raising a child
  • Caring for another dependant

Reasons that will definitely be viewed negatively are:

  • Inability to find a suitable position
  • Ill health
  • Short gaps and obvious periods of study or job transition usually require no explanation in the job interview.
  • Likewise, if the gap occurred a number of years ago and has been followed by solid employment it is generally ignored. However long and recent periods of unemployment require a properly thought-out job interview answer.
  • Make sure that you emphasize any constructive activities during your gap period such as volunteer work, workshops or coursework, consulting or freelance work.
  • Finally, convey enthusiasm for returning to work and make a very strong case for why your target job would be exciting for you and an excellent fit.

Sample answers:

  • "I stayed home to look after my sick mother. I knew I would be unable to devote myself properly to my job and to being the care-taker, so I resigned. The situation has now changed and I am ready to re-enter the work force. I am excited about making a positive contribution to your company."
  • "I went through a difficult time emotionally following the ........., and I took some time out to deal with this. It was a difficult period for me but I worked hard and succeeded in overcoming it. I am a stronger person for it and now I am a hundred percent ready to tackle a new job. I feel that the experience I gained at my previous company can really benefit this position in the following ways ....."

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