Sadly, it’s a common scenario the world over – hundreds of thousands of employees suddenly jobless thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you’re one of the many in this situation, you’re now faced with a gap in your resume as you hunt for new work. Just how do you explain it to prospective employees? Should you even explain it?
Here are a few ways to navigate the situation.
Realise You’re Not Alone
Losing your job is not only stressful, it can also sap your confidence. It’s particularly hard to take if this is the first time you’ve been stood down, rather than left a role of your own accord.
While it’s natural to go through a period of worry, be comforted by the fact that you are not alone. Hundreds of thousands of employees across the globe are in the exact same boat, facing the same fears you are, and needing to account for the same employment gap in their resume. Employers are well aware of this, and the vast majority are understanding.
As you embark on your new job search, it pays to do so with an optimistic mindset. There is much to be said about the merits of positive thinking and how it can boost your confidence, helping you land that much-hoped for new role.
When it comes to addressing the gap in your resume, it’s best to go the honest route. A short blurb explaining you lost your job because of the pandemic in your resume and cover letter is all that’s needed. The added plus? It clearly highlights the loss of your role had nothing to do with your capabilities or work ethic.
With so many employees out of work due to the pandemic, it’s a story many potential employers will hear, so it’s highly unlikely they’ll hold it against you. Conversely, they may feel empathy for your situation and be extra open to interviewing you.
Demonstrate What You Did During Your Employment Gap
Aim to fill that gap on your resume with the things you did while you weren’t employed full-time. It might have been upskilling yourself, freelancing or pro-bono work for friends, family or small businesses.
The purpose of this is to show prospective employers you were actively engaged in some form of productive work, demonstrating your resilience and willingness to have a go in the face of a job loss.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
Over the years, you’ve likely formed a solid network of industry contacts. Now is an ideal time to utilise them. Reach out to former colleagues and peers to enquire about job opportunities. If there’s an open role (either at their company or at a business where they have connections), ask them if they’d be up for recommending you to the recruiter.
If you haven’t already, it’s also a good idea to ask your previous employers if they’ll act as referees for any future roles you may come close to securing.
Another great source of support in helping explain those resume gaps is a recruitment consultant. Aside from providing you with expert advice across many aspects of your job search (not to mention some great roles to consider), they can also assist with tweaking your CV and cover letter to address that COVID-19 employment gap.
If this sounds like a service you need, please contact our specialist team here at Rowben. We’d love to supporting you at this trying time.