The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in many unexpected layoffs or furloughs as businesses struggled to cope with the unknown. As things are finally looking up for the job market, now is a great time for those still looking for a new role to start gearing up for their search. However, if you’re currently unemployed as a result of the pandemic, you may be wondering the best way to address your COVID-related layoff—whether on a resume or in a job interview. Here are three pieces of advice:
Make note of your accomplishments and be ready to discuss them
During the height of the pandemic, unemployment skyrocketed to 14.7%—meaning many people who experienced COVID-related layoffs are now exploring new opportunities. However, a key differentiator that can be used to separate you from your competition will be how you devoted your time. Did you continue your education, volunteer, or accomplish anything noteworthy? Write these things down and be ready to discuss them on your resume or during an interview. Doing so can not only help you stand out, but also shows a lot about your personality and work ethic.
Be honest and open
While your COVID-related layoff may have been a stressful event you would like to forget—the lapse of employment should be something that you are honest and open about on your resume. There are a couple ways this can be done:
- Address it as the last point in the description of your most recent role. For example, “Accomplished XYZ prior to COVID-19 layoff”
- Add any courses, volunteer work or new skills you’ve learned during your time off as your most recent experience. For example, “Continued Professional Development | March 2020 – June 2021” and include your recently acquired skills as bullet points below
When updating your resume, remember to be honest. The worst thing to do during the interview process is to be dishonest, so be sure your employment dates are accurate. Not being transparent on your resume will reflect poorly on your character and could automatically disqualify you from moving on in the process.
Keep the conversation professional
If your resume lands you an interview, your potential employer will likely ask you about your COVID-related layoff. While you may be feeling negative emotions about your layoff—especially since it was due to unforeseen circumstances—you’ll want to keep those emotions at bay during your interview. If asked about your layoff, avoid speaking badly about your former employer—after all the pandemic took everyone by surprise. Instead speak about what you’ve learned from the experience and how this will better help you in your next role and career. Perhaps you’ve learned a new language, taught yourself new technology skills, or broadened your professional network—think positively and show you’re excited for what’s next!