How to Explain Employment Gaps as a Result of COVID-19
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 many great employees have encountered loss of employment. Some people maintain a false line of thought that it looks bad to be let go of a job, and that no one would believe that an employer would let go of an outstanding employee. However, that’s simply not true. During the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands have lost their jobs as a direct result of closure requirements, budget cuts, etc. With the unemployment rate at ~8% in September 2020, it’s apparent that the caliber of employees were not taken into consideration when layoffs hit due to the global pandemic. This unemployment gap is not a blot on your resume, so don’t be discouraged. Here are some ways to help you explain an employment gap due to COVID-19.
First and foremost, it’s very important to be honest about your career gap right off the bat. Don’t try to sweep it under the rug and hope that the interviewer won’t notice. You will gain respect and trust by being open and honest while addressing your career gap. Employers are aware of the situation, and many of them may have had to lay off employees during the pandemic as well. They will understand that this career gap is not your fault. However, if you try to leave out your employment gap, or make up an excuse, they could hold that against you. In general, honesty is the best policy during any interview. Facts are very easy to check nowadays.
If you lost your job, you may be feeling a little bitter and hurt. Oftentimes layoffs aren’t fair, while great employees get laid off while other lower performers were not. Don’t bring this baggage to your interview. It’s imperative to remain positive while explaining this career gap. Don’t place blame, accuse your previous employer of any wrong doing, or reveal any hint of anger about the layoff or job loss. Remember that you are not alone, and COVID-19 has hit employees hard. These are unprecedented times, and positivity is key to getting through this challenging time.
Make sure to explain what you did during your time off work to improve your career. What did you do during your free time to enhance your marketability? Go in to your interview prepared to explain the initiative you took during your employment gap. Don’t go in and talk about all the TV shows you binge watched. Talk about any online courses you took, research you did on the industry, or any freelance work you did.
References are more important than ever when you have an employment gap on your resume. Show that you have a good relationship with your previous employer. Ask your previous employer, colleagues, and former boss to be your reference. Plus, your most recent employer can explain that you were laid off as a result of COVID-19, and not due to anything negative on your end.