How to Answer “What have you been doing?” in an Interview walk
Employers like to hire people who have worked in the same field for a long time because it shows that they are reliable and dedicated to their field. If there are gaps between jobs on your resume, the interviewer might ask, “What have you been doing?” If you know how to answer this question, you can show how proactive you are and make it more likely that you’ll get the job. In this article, we explain how to answer the interview question, “What have you been doing?”
Why do employers ask about what you did recently?
Before setting up interviews, most employers look at resumes to see who is a good fit for the job description. One of the most important things for employers to look at is your work history. Most companies prefer to hire people who haven’t been out of work for a long time. But if you have the right skills and experience, you can still move forward in the hiring process even if your resume shows a gap. Interviewers might ask, “What have you been doing?” to find out why you haven’t been working. With this question, they have a chance to:
- Find out what you did when you didn’t have a job: Interviewers like candidates who did useful things while they were looking for work. You can show that you are a hard worker by talking about things like going back to school or doing freelance work.
- Think about who you are. The things you say are important, but how you say them is just as important. When you talk about being unemployed, having a good attitude shows how you deal with stress.
- Check how well you can solve problems. Most interviewers know it’s hard to find a job, so they want to see how you handle problems. In your answer, you can show that you know how to solve problems by talking about how you looked at your progress and changed your plan.
What to say when someone asks, “What have you been doing?”
Here’s what to say when someone asks, “What have you been doing?”
1. Tell me why you lost your job to begin with.
You might want to start by explaining why you lost your job to begin with. This part of your answer can help the interviewer figure out why you weren’t working for a while. For example, you could say that your old boss fired you or that you were no longer a good fit for your old job. Be honest, because it’s usually easy to find out why you’re out of work. By telling the truth, you can show that you can be trusted.
2. Be honest about what you did when you weren’t working.
If you’re honest about what you did when you weren’t working, you’ll be able to give real answers to questions about your experience and qualifications. For example, you could say you were unemployed so you could go back to school. You could say that focusing on schoolwork helped you get ready for your new job. Employers often like candidates who can set their priorities and explain how they will help them grow as professionals.
You can also talk about things like being sick or taking care of a new baby that made it hard for you to get a job. Try to give a brief summary of your problems and say that you’ve been keeping up with your work. For example, a candidate could say that they worked as a freelancer while taking care of an elderly relative.
3. Tell people how you look for work.
Your job gap might have been because of school or personal problems, but it was probably also because you were looking for a job for a long time. Try talking about how you’re looking for a job to show that you’re serious about your career. You could say that you spent a lot of time making your resume, going to events to meet people, and talking to recruiters. You might have been determined to find a job that fits your experience, skills, and values. This can help you explain why you might not have been a good fit for other jobs and why you’re excited about the chance you have now with the interviewer’s company.
4. Mention things you can do to build skills
Just because there is a break in your work history on your resume doesn’t mean you haven’t grown as a professional. You can show off your skills by talking about things you’ve done to improve them that are relevant to the job. You might have taken classes on leadership or gone to conferences in your field, for example. Many employers also like to hear about things you’ve done, like volunteer work and job shadowing. Keep in mind that these chances to improve your skills are especially important if you want to get a job in a new industry. This can help make up for the fact that you haven’t worked in the field you want before.
5. Tell me what you did to get through tough times.
When you weren’t working, you could talk about problems you had and how you solved them. Employers often want to hire people who stuck with things even when they were hard. For example, if you quit your last job because you didn’t like it, you could say that you did so to find a field that interested you more. You can talk about how you gained experience in different fields by doing things like volunteering, job shadowing, and freelancing. You could say that you found your passion and hope that your new job will make you happy.
6. Use a positive delivery
When asked in an interview, “What have you been doing?” try to answer in a positive way. You can talk about what you learned and how it helped you grow as a professional during your time off. For example, you could say that this time gave you the chance to look for a job that matches your skills.
How to answer “What have you been doing?”
Here are some answers to the question “What have you been doing?” that can help you get ready for an interview.
“The whole company had to let people go, so I lost my last job. At first, I felt sad, but I tried to stay busy and happy while I was between jobs. When I was looking for a new job, I made sure to look for ones that fit my skills and values. I’m very lucky that my careful job search led me to this job, because I think my skills can help me meet your company’s goal of providing great customer service.”
“I quit my last job four months ago so that I could take care of my elderly mother. Even though I spent a lot of time taking care of her, I tried to keep busy at work to get ready for when I went back to work. To keep up with what was going on in my industry, I took online leadership courses and went to virtual conferences. I also did a few freelance projects to improve my skills and keep getting clients.”
“I didn’t feel as fulfilled at my old job as I thought I would, so I quit to pursue a career in health care. Even though some of my skills could be used in other places, I decided to get more education to help my career. I only thought about getting my master’s degree and working with experts to find the right field. I’m excited to be able to help patients and their families with my past work experience and new skills.”
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