With unemployment rates rising because of the pandemic, lots of people are going to have gaps on their CV’s as they are now looking for a new job.

Many recruiting managers used to see gaps in your CV as a red flag unless you had a solid reason for a period of unemployment, however, with the current pandemic creating over 2 million unemployed people, this is going to become more common.

How do you deal with this? Should you shrug it off or should you explain the gap on your CV?

Recruiters managers will be looking at what alternative or meaningful experience and skills development you will be doing to fill this time, focusing on your adaptability and skills that will transfer across industries and sectors.

When you are looking to explain these gaps, here is what you should do………

BE TRANSPARENT

It is important to be honest and upfront even if you think there is a stigma around being laid off due to Covid reasons. Honesty is always the best policy so that the recruiting manager knows exactly what was happening to you at that stage in your career. You will find that hiring managers will be empathetic to your situation as it effects so many and they will probably have had to make adjustments within their business due to Covid-19.

If you have been furloughed, you should approach it differently because you are still technically employed. I would suggest that you put your “start date to present” on your CV and then put “furloughed” in brackets next to it. Your cover letter will give you the opportunity to explain why you are looking for a new role whilst being on furlough. You should remember that you are subject to be recalled and that means that you are valued and wanted.

REBRAND YOUR UNEMPLOYMENT

Showcase and identify the skills or learning that you have done whilst you have been unemployed, for example, have you undertaken any free online courses? have you been caring for family members or elderly neighbours during this time? etc.

Because of this years unprecedented events, employers will be looking for transferable skills like adaptability, self management, coordination, budgeting etc when they are recruiting. You may have some new found skills based on what you have been doing during the pandemic.

If you are in an interview and you are asked “what have you been doing with your time since you were laid off”? you should highlight the ways in which you have taken accountability for your career growth, give them a substantial answer that goes beyond learning how to bake bread or watching the latest Netflix series. You want to talk to them about the volunteering you have been doing, the online training that you have completed. All of this shows that you are resilient and made the best possible use of your time.

By detailing your gaps, the recruiting manager will be able to get a better understanding of you as a person, your behaviours and attitude which will go a long way towards their decision to hire you. Learning more about your life outside work tells a potential employer so much about who you are and why they should employ you.

REFRESH YOUR CV FOR A CHANGING JOB MARKET

If you were furloughed or laid off then your industry was probably one of the many that were hit hard by the pandemic and the economic impact. To increase your chances of finding a new role, you should look to apply to more of the emerging markets and industries that have seen growth and increased demand such as IT, Ecommerce, Construction etc.

To be able to make this jump you will need to be able to show that you have the transferable skills such as Hospitality employees have excellent customer service skills that they could transfer into call centre positions or retail roles during seasonal increases in the future.

As many businesses transition into their “new normal”, they are throwing out the rule book and the same should apply to anyone who is looking for a new job. This is your opportunity to up-skill and think about rebranding based on what the world needs now and in the future.

Think about each application you are making, showcase your strong points that the hiring manager will want to see and only apply to jobs that you genuinely want to get.

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