The best way to explain a resume gap? It depends on the reason for the gap. Always be honest, but of course put that gap in the best possible light.
Minimize obvious gaps when possible. For example, if you were laid off in February and rehired at the next job in October of the same year, your resume could list only years (not months). When filling out an application, you need to provide complete dates, but at the screening stage, employment gaps are less obvious if you use this format.
Let say you were laid off and simply searching for work. What did you do that was constructive during that time? Possible examples could be: completed a certificate program, reconnected with your network, traveled, did consulting or part-time work, helped a spouse with their business, read business books, volunteered, reevaluated and re-positioned your skill set for another role, enjoyed time-off due to a generous severance package. These are all acceptable activities as long as you have a reasonable explanation and time-frame. A great place to explain a recent resume gap is on your cover letter.
What if you were dealing with a personal health issue or taking care of an ill parent or dealing with a family tragedy? It’s okay as long as the absence from work was for a reasonable time and you provide an explanation. When explaining to the interviewer, don’t get emotional and provide only a brief explanation. The interviewer wants to be sure your personal situation is squared away so that you can focus on your new role.