gap questions

‘Can you explain these gaps in your resume?’

Why are recruiters asking this?

Taking a career timeout may be a choice, or it may not. Layoffs and firings happen even in the best economy. Maybe you needed time off for your mental health. Maybe you didn’t like your job and decided to travel. Or maybe you had a baby or a sick family member that required you to step back for a few years. Today, companies are filled with people who for one reason or another did not have continual employment.

In any situation, when you’re ready to get back into the market, you’ll likely be faced with a question about how you spent your time. Here’s how to answer the “explain the gap in your resume” question.

First, you want to be prepared for these questions, especially if it is a sensitive subject for you. Responding with confidence and honesty is best, and both will help in uncomfortable situations where you want to avoid in-depth follow up questions.

Checklist for a great answer 

  • Prepare! Especially if it makes you feel uncomfortable
  • Act confidently
  • Keep it brief, don’t over-share


“In 2010 after a change in management, my position was made redundant. Due to the economic crisis at the time, I found it challenging to continue working in journalism, and instead decided to freelance until a suitable position came along.”


“For personal reasons I left my job at StressCorp which required me to be on-call 24/7. I had a family emergency and I cared for an aged family member during a difficult time. Now, I’m eager to get back into working life. I’ve stayed relevant in this field by religiously reading Marketing Monthly, and through my professional networking in Hubspot online marketing forums where I enjoy giving advice.”

Other similar questions

  • Why was there a gap in your employment between [insert date] and [insert date]?
  • Can you explain these gaps in your resume?

How do I get better at these questions?


The illustrious economist and statistician EF Schumacher once said: “An ounce of practice is generally worth more than a ton of theory.” We at Mockmate strongly believe in exactly this, which is why we created our AI-powered job interview simulator.  Now is the time to stop reading blog posts and watching YouTube videos, and begin to perfect your interview skills by actually doing it! Get started here!

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