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The best ways to address a pandemic related career gap on your CV
If COVID-19 has disrupted your career, perhaps by way of redundancy, you may be wondering how to explain the gap on your CV. Firstly, it’s important not to get too hung up on any out of work periods caused by Corona Virus; as recruiters we’ve spoken to an unprecedented number of exceptional candidates who have been forced out of work because of the pandemic. From speaking with our clients there is a generally accepted consensus that the past year has been extremely tough on the job market and that many people, through no fault of their own, will have found themselves out of work for a prolonged period of time and experience a gap because of it on their CV.
However, your CV is all about showing yourself in the best light possible and telling your career story. So, while it’s completely understandable that 2020 and/or 2021 may have been disrupted it will help your CV to flow and to represent you better if you are up front about being laid off. Rather than dwelling on why you were laid off and didn’t deserve it, a good approach is to communicate your resiliency and explain how you are still a valuable employee despite the events that transpired to leave you out of work. A proactive personality is very appealing to employers and putting a positive spin on the situation, not looking to blame anyone else, and focussing on what you gained rather than lost from your time out of work will give employers an idea of how you might act in the future when faced with adversity in your new workplace. Here are a few of our top tips for preparing for your job search:
On your CV…
Don’t be afraid to include an end date on your last employment. We suggest doing this on both your CV and LinkedIn profiles. By not disclosing that you’re last period of employment has ended on your CV or LinkedIn you’re not helping your job search. Instead, state the date your employment ended and that it was a COVID-related redundancy. This will show recruiters and potential employers that you are open to work and can start immediately.
Point out what you were set to achieve before you lost your job. In the job entry for your last position, directly state that you lost your job due to COVID-19 and then point to projects or achievements you were working on prior to the layoff. For example, you might say: “Prior to COVID-19-related layoff I designed a new automated system to record directors’ expenses. This was on track to improve accuracy in the company’s expenses accounting and save its users the 3 hours a week on average it took them to manually account for each receipt”. This highlights your positive attributes and explains what you were set to achieve.
In the interview… The way you act in any interview gives an employer an impression of the kind of employee you will be, that’s why we advise all our candidates to always be upbeat, focus on the positives and to never be rude or indiscreet about any of their past employers or positions. When asked what have you been doing since you were laid off you might say: “Since I was part of my last company’s COVID-19 layoffs, I have learned to be resilient, flexible, and open to change, and I am now excited to leverage my skills in a new way. While overseeing my children’s home schooling I volunteered as a support worker for my local community which included grocery deliveries, scheduled calls with elderly neighbours and generally being ready to help anyone who was in need. The opportunity really opened my eyes to the different situations everyone is in, increasing my empathy and interpersonal skills which I’m excited to put into practice in the work place, especially when managing and mentoring junior colleagues.” By focussing on what you have learnt during your time off you’re communicating to a future employer that you have a positive mindset and react well in challenging situations.
Above all the most important thing to take away from this article is that a COVID-19 related gap on your CV is nothing to be ashamed about and when explaining it in a job interview or on your CV be upfront, stick to the facts and focus on the positive. If you are currently looking for a job take a look at our live roles or get in touch with one of our consultants to talk about how we can help with your job search.