How to Explain Gaps in Your Employment Courtesy of COVID-19
Are you one of the many that have had your job impacted by COVID-19?
It doesn’t seem to matter if it was 2020 or 2021. The never-ending pandemic continues to hurt employers and employees as they attempt to recover by making difficult decisions. While many industries have begun bouncing back, there are others like tourism and hospitality that are still struggling.
As days turn into weeks, which then turn into months, it can become extremely stressful when presenting your resume with a gap in employment. Some people find it embarrassing, while others hope to avoid any questions about why you took a break between jobs.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are techniques you can use to explain why you have a gap in your resume. You don’t need to memorise a monologue or do anything shady. Just follow these steps to draw attention away from the break and towards your skills and attributes.
How to Explain COVID-19 Employment Gaps in Your Cover Letter
Most employers or recruiters will start their assessment of you by reading over your cover letter. It’s where they get a better understanding of who you are, what you’re about, and if you will be a good fit for their organisation.
It’s essential to be upfront and honest about how COVID-19 impacted you. There shouldn’t be any surprises in your resume, and you don’t want to leave anything open to interpretation. So how do you explain it? Try including a sentence along the lines of:
I’m excited to explore new opportunities after my previous role was impacted by COVID-19. I am more motivated than ever to share my skills, demonstrate my abilities, and help my new employer achieve their goals.
This line demonstrates that you’re not only transparent but ready to put the experience behind you and bounce back strong than ever in your new role.
How to Explain COVID-19 Employment Gaps on Your Resume
You might think it’s difficult to disguise your gap period on your resume. After all, it’s essentially a timeline of your entire career. However, it really comes down to how you’re presenting the information, which is something you’re in complete control of.
The easiest way to do this is to remove months from employment dates. Do you think a potential employer really cares that you started a job in January instead of March? What they want to know is how many years of experience you have and what responsibilities you had.
It’s also best to lead in with the name of your previous employer instead of the date. So, for example, it should look like this:
The Corporation, Sydney, NSW – 2018 to 2020
January 2018 to August 2020 – The Corporation, Sydney, NSW
If the potential employer or recruiter is really interested in the months you worked there, then they can ask you in the interview. But if you completed some educational courses or participated in volunteer work, you should highlight this in your resume and prepare to discuss it further during your meeting.
How to Explain COVID-19 Employment Gaps During Your Interview
When you get the opportunity to meet with the recruiter or potential employer, you’ll want to prepare yourself as you usually would for an interview. However, you should have a good understanding of what you’re going to say when you discuss your employment gap.
The most common question that will come up is “why did you leave your last job” or “what have you been doing since leaving your previous role”. It’s an excellent opportunity to make an impact. So say something along the lines of:
“It was disappointing to find out my job was impacted due to the pandemic. However, I’m looking forward to the future, facing new challenges, and making a difference to a new organisation.”
You want to be able to demonstrate that losing your job hasn’t affected your resilience or determination. You’re ready to move on to the next opportunity, and hopefully, that is the position you’ve applied for.
Are Employment Gaps on a Resume a Deal Breaker?
Before the pandemic, it was not uncommon for employment gaps on resumes to be frowned upon. It would often be the first questions asked by recruiters or hiring managers so they could find out why you took a break.
These days, everyone is well aware of the devastating impacts the pandemic has had on the world. There are hundreds of news stories about individuals being released from their jobs and struggling to find new employment.
While they’re understanding, it’s not something that should be ignored. Employers will respect you more if you’re upfront about it and avoid trying to hide it within your resume. If you call it out first and explain the situation, it will save them a lot of time bringing it up with you during the interview.
Who Can Help Explain COVID-19 Employment Gaps on Your Resume?
It’s no secret that COVID-19 has left a devastating impact on the job sector. But thankfully, it’s not the end of the world. Recruiters and hiring managers are more understanding of employment gaps than they were prior to the pandemic. However, this is reliant on you being upfront and transparent about your previous role being impacted by the pandemic.
If you can control the narrative through your cover letter, resume, and during your interview, then they are unlikely to dwell on the employment gap. You just need to know how to present the facts and demonstrate that you’re ready for your next opportunity.
Crafting cover letters and resumes can be challenging enough as it is. If you’re struggling to find the right words, then why not use Resumes To You. We can produce cover letters and resumes for any job you’re applying for. Get in touch with us today to find out more about how we can help.