Despite your best efforts to find a new position, many of you are still job searching and worrying about the growing gap on your resume. This most likely is causing you financial and emotional stress, and you’ve probably begun worrying about how to answer the question, “What did you do during the pandemic?” Two of our Career Strategies professionals weigh in on how to address this concern.
Should the time gap due to the pandemic be addressed on the resume and in the interview?
Samara Fritzsche, Career Counselor: “If HR is comparing the resumes of a few candidates and considering which person to invite to an interview, the person that shows they were productive in some way will be invited. Successful candidates have improved their skills by taking classes or getting new certifications, which shows their motivation while also improving their value to an employer.”
Gary Lachow, Job Development Specialist: “Employers have been understanding about the difficulty in finding work during these hard times. They recognize that jobs are scarce, however one question most interviews now include is ‘how did you spend your time productively besides conducting a job search?’”.
Samara Fritzsche: “Volunteering is another way to get relevant experience while unemployed. Nonprofits, the United Way, and many smaller companies that are financially struggling, would welcome help during this time. Best case scenario is if your volunteer role matches the industry you are seeking employment. Even if this is not the case, it still looks good on a resume to show you were helping others during this stressful time.”
Samara Fritzsche: “If you got laid off, mention it on your resume. You can literally state ‘laid off due to pandemic’. In the experience section where the gap exists, you can fill it in with online courses, family childcare during virtual schooling, volunteering, or any other hobby that you learned such as an instrument or a new language. Showing that you used the time to learn, even if it’s not related to your career, is important.”
Gary Lachow: “During an interview it is important to briefly address your employment gap, and then highlight all the years of experience you do have, especially your accomplishments that will benefit the employer and allow you to hit the ground running in a short time with minimal training.”
Samara Fritzsche: “Be open to taking a part time job, or a job that you know is for the short term to help you with the bills right now, even if neither of these scenarios is your ideal. Employers understand that people are pivoting to other areas in the short term, out of necessity. We are all hoping that the economy will improve over the next few months as more people are getting vaccinated, and that additional jobs in your field will become available.”
If you’ve read these tips and are still looking for guidance, schedule an appointment with a Career Strategies Career Counselor to design a personal job search action plan. Our counselors are here for you to help make a difficult situation productive and meaningful.
If you are interested in learning how JEVS Career Strategies can help individuals get to the next stage in their careers or job search…
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