What Have You Done Since Your Last Job?

You've been unemployed for a over a year. You're looking for a job. You have not been sitting home, eating bon-bons. You've been contributing to open-source projects, or studying for a certification, and networking like there's no tomorrow. You have not found another job yet.

So, what do you say when hiring managers, HR people, or recruiters ask, “What have you done since your last job?”

You say, “Updating my skills.” Or, “Contributing to open source projects so I can practice such-and-so.”

Now, don't say this if you have not been updating your skills. But if you have taken time while you're looking for a job to upgrade your skills, say so. Explain what you have been doing. Take pride in your accomplishments. You have not been sitting at home, eating bon-bons.

Hiring managers, when you ask this question, use the answer as a jumping off point, for your behavior-description questions. “What have you learned about working in distributed teams as you worked on open-source projects?” is a great question. Don't be afraid to ask it.

4 Replies to “What Have You Done Since Your Last Job?”

  1. A year? Isn’t that a really long time considering how low IT unemployment is? I still have a hard time finding affordable, talented people.

  2. This is indeed a vital question that hiring managers commonly ask. Since it’s one of the most commonly asked interview questions, jobseekers should prepare themselves to answer it in an appropriate manner.

    Thanks for sharing the tips!

  3. Since you have a number of gaps in your resume… You consulted xx months last year and xx months this year. What was your gross income last year and your expected income this year? This was for a full-time position and I decided not to answer the question since it would be a lose-lose situation to answer. Obviously this question was not asked of any other candidate and I was taken off the list of candidates to move forward to the next round of interviews.

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