The COVID-19 Career Gap: How to Explain it in Your Resume?

Let’s face it. COVID-19 hit the whole world either directly or indirectly. Millions across the globe lost their jobs, irrespective of the size and nature of the industry. Despite the experience of the professionals, the COVID-19 career gap is now the new normal.

The challenge for professionals is to handle the career gap due to COVID-19 effectively and rebound with confidence when applying for the next job.

Career Gap – What is it?

A career gap occurs when a person is not employed full-time. Recruiters count any career gap up to six months as a job search period. The reasons for a career gap could be plenty – ranging from personal to professional.

A break to take care of your children or leaving the high-paying job to pursue a Master’s or inability to land a job even after six months after graduating. All such contribute to career gaps.

Under normal circumstances, a career gap may indicate a job loss for being an underperformer. A too-long discontinuity in the resume might give the impression that the technical skills are outdated and may not handle the current challenges.

Career Gap due to COVID-19: The New Normal?

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the world witnessed as many as 400 million full-time job cuts by the end of June 2020.

If you are one such professional who lost your job as the pandemic impacted your industry/company, realize you are not alone in dealing with the COVID-19 career gap.

A piece of assuring news about the COVID-19 career gap is it may not sound as threatening as it would have under normal circumstances.

With the whole world now having passed through two worst hits of the Global Economy in recent decades – the Great Recession of 2008 and the COVID-19 pandemic – recruiters and companies are now more empathetic than before.

So, when hunting for your next job:

  • What should be the approach to tackle the COVID-19 career gap?
  •  Should you cover it up or talk about it?
  • How to make sure that this gap does not impact your reputation as a professional?

Here are some tips to handle the COVID-19 career gap effectively.

Tip#1: Revitalize your resume

Career gaps may look scary on a resume. The employer’s name that we mark bold and highlight with pride in normal circumstances disappears for the time being because of the COVID-19 career gap.

The resume might look like it was stuck in a time machine and not moving any further. And hence the COVID-19 career gap can certainly disappoint anyone. Especially for those with a long and successful career, tackling the career gap might get on the nerves.

Hence, it is imperative to revitalizing the resume to make the COVID-19 career gap appear less daunting.

To achieve this, here are some tips to follow:

Push your employment dates backstage

Give enough emphasis on the past associated brands and your contribution to their growth.

For instance, do this in your resume:

  • ABC Corp, Assistant Manager, starting Jan 2016 (2 years 6 months)
  • XYZ Company, Manager, starting Oct 2020 – till date

Notice that there is a gap in between in this example. And it is not predominantly visible.

Hence, this is a strategy that does not let the career gap dominate professional strengths and experience. When using this tip, remember to stay transparent during the one-on-one conversation.

Focus on the latest role just before your layoff

Highlight professional stamina and accomplishments before being laid off.

For instance, say “Led and managed an award-winning team of 20 members involved in designing a metric tracking system, before COVID-19 layoff.”

Add every detail that explains the career gap

By this, we no way mean you add the number of movies watched on OTTs while at home during the COVID-19 career gap.

Check and include some of the things given below:

  • Working experience as a volunteer or at a fundraiser in a local organization.
  • New skills learned online and relevant certifications.
  • Gigs, part-time, or freelance works.

In other words, include any work that had a direct or indirect impact on society and profession pursued during the COVID-19 career gap, be it paid or unpaid, to fill the COVID-19 gap in your resume.

Tip #2: Apply for jobs that are in demand

The pandemic has had a harsh sectoral impact, not leaving any industry untouched. Fortunately, most sectors are regaining their previous shine and are looking for new talent to boost their business.

Look for industries that are actively recruiting while searching for the next job after the COVID-19 layoff.

If the industry is entirely different, tweak the career objective and explain how your past professional experience helps in the next role.

There is no lack of industries that actively look for multi-talented professionals. Hence, this is a strategy that would work out positively.

Tip #3: Utilize the strength of your professional network

The power of networking needs no introduction. Use your professional network to make a career move after the job loss due to COVID-19.

It might happen that most people from your network might also be in a similar position; however, checking for suitable roles that they might know is not a bad idea.

Ask them to acknowledge your strengths and drop a positive remark about your professional skills on your professional social networking sites. A little help is better than none at all, agree?

Tip #4: Display resilience

Staying positive in tough times is a virtue. If you can master it, you are ready to knock on the door of success.

Let your resume speak about your resilience and eagerness to take on new challenges. Explaining the circumstances that led to your layoff and how strong you are to bounce back in contributing to your best in your cover letter is a fabulous idea too.

Do not display over-enthusiasm nor undermine your potential as an experienced professional. If you can strike a balance here, you can catch the attention of the recruiters.

Also Read: Remote Hiring: What recruiters look for in candidates?

Tip #5: Be honest

Hopefully, the impact of the pandemic on the job market could help erase the stigma around the career gap caused due to genuine reasons.

Thus, instead of feeling guilty for it or undervaluing yourself, be open and transparent.

Next to your recent job loss due to pandemic, mention in brackets that the job loss is due to COVID. And there is nothing to hide, plus it adds credibility as an honest employee.

Accept the truth with grace and display honesty upfront while conversing with HRs. Note that recruiters deal with many candidates and make out who is honest and who is not.

Tip #6: Choose your employer

The whole picture around jobs and careers is shifting tectonically all across the globe. Employers, recruiters, and companies are now more considerate than before while dealing with career gaps. Thus, you can expect greater empathy from your next employer.

For instance, more and more companies are now counting freelance and gig jobs as work experience, unlike before.

It means your next employer must be empathetic enough to count your gig or working experience as an independent contractor during your COVID-19 career gap.

Well, they didn’t? Congrats, and move on to a better employer and apply for another job. Who would love to work with an employer who is not considerate enough to understand the global crisis?

Remember that these unprecedented times gave a choice to the employees to choose their employers too.

Tip #7: Start afresh

Still not finding a dream job after all these efforts? Well, do not let the COVID-19 career gap decide your fate.

Start afresh by choosing any exciting job that crosses your path. It could be a gig, a part-time assignment, or a full-time role in an entirely different domain. Maybe the job is paying less than your earlier one did.

Whatever the role, type, and pay, say hi to it, go ahead and take it up. In these times, having a job that pays and gives you an employed tag should count more than its pay or the domain. Who knows, this new job could kick off the next brightest chapter in your professional life?

Who are we?

At Cloudely, we are building a platform – GigMinds, that brings job seekers and recruiters together.

GigMinds is more than a job portal. You can find thousands of jobs of all categories – full-time, part-time, gigs, and project-based – from across any domain and horizontal.

To welcome a new breeze into your professional life, register on the GigMinds website and start searching for a job that can give you your next career break.

To know more about GigMinds, please visit the website. Don’t miss joining the community on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

By |2021-08-23T07:08:47+00:00December 29th, 2020|Career Guidance|Comments Off on The COVID-19 Career Gap: How to Explain it in Your Resume?