Long-term gaps between jobs were once the ultimate ‘Red Flag’ for recruiters and hiring managers scanning your CV. These days, the dreaded ‘employment gap’ no longer immediately signals hiring managers that you lack ambition. There are plenty of reasonable (even advantageous) explanations for a long-term employment gap.

When it comes to explaining away the employment gap that was caused by COVID-19, most hiring managers, and potential employers will be sympathetic. According to NL Times, 4.5 percent of the Dutch workforce experienced job loss due to the pandemic. Employers are mindful of this reality if job seekers’ unemployment is a result of workforce downsizing. What employers are seeking from candidates is a meaningful experience while they’ve been out of work. However, it is essential that candidates present themselves as proactive and resilient in the face of adversity.

Here are a few strategies you can employ to boost your chances of finding your next job – despite the employment gap.

Include an Explanation in your CV

Honesty is almost always the best policy. It can be tempting to try and hide or minimize any gaps in your CV (even if the reason behind your employment gap is reasonable) to make your profile seem more impressive.
However, hiring managers and recruiters are “information gathers” especially at the stage when they’re reading your CV. It’s always a good idea to give them the information they’re looking for, rather than leave them to speculate the reason behind your gap.
Many people have been affected by layoffs during the pandemic, and the hiring managers are aware of this. You can include a small snippet in your CV regarding your job loss due to COVID-19 and clarify it with complete transparency and honesty. If you are a good match for the job you’re applying for, it’s very likely hiring managers and recruiters won’t even blink an eye at your employment gap.

Use your Time-off to Upskill

During times of unemployment, finding a new job can easily turn into a full-time job on its own. However, there are many chances for you to expand your knowledge and skills related to the job position you are applying for.
For example, you can attend some online courses, obtain new technology skills, or volunteer for some community projects. Employers are looking for people who are resilient. Therefore, the goal is to portray yourself as someone who continues to be proactive and productive despite your job loss. From here, you can make a transition by tying what you learned and accomplished into an explanation for why you would be great at your next job.

Focus on your Skills and Accomplishments

The best way to approach any job application is by putting your best foot forward. Hiring managers and recruiters are interested to hear about the value you will be able to bring to the job – so focus on your skills and accomplishments, not your employment gap.
When you have an employment gap in your CV, you should paint a strong picture of your skills and your experience in your employment history. Demonstrating the specific values that you can offer to your employer can help you mitigate the negative impressions associated with the gap. Furthermore, you can dedicate a section to bring up meaningful competencies. The better you demonstrate your inventory of skills, the more the recruiters will learn about your assets before they care about an employment gap.

Update your LinkedIn Profile

However, you modify your resume, don’t forget to develop your reputation online. It is important to match the details between your LinkedIn and your resume. In today’s digitally mediated world, it is no surprise that potential employers find you through social media and assess your qualifications as well as your professionalism.

To indicate that you are being laid off due to COVID-19, you can put “The Coronavirus Job Gap” to your LinkedIn profile as a ‘company’. An anonymous user created this so that employers would be aware of this employment gap.

Prepare your Explanation for Interviews

If there are time gaps in your CV, you should think about how you can talk about this positively in an interview. You can start by showing gratitude for your experience and the skills you’ve learned at the previous company. It’s also an opportunity for you to exhibit achievements that you are proud of. How you talk about your experience during challenging times is a great way to demonstrate your character and how resilient of an employee you will turn out to be in the new workplace.

Considering a career change?

Navigating through the job market during these unprecedented times can be daunting. However, it is crucial to remain focused and positive to prevent the employment gap from interfering with your job search. With the right approach, you can turn a career break into a career win.

Octagon Professionals is a recruitment agency with 30 years of experience. Job seekers are critical to our success, and that’s why our expert consultants are passionate about connecting you with the best job placements that match your skills and help you present yourself as an excellent candidate with your future employer. If you’re looking to start the next challenge in your career, register your profile with Octagon Professionals and we’ll let you know when we have a job that’s right for you.