How to Eliminate or Explain Your COVID Resume Gap

They are going to ask, so you better have an answer. And it better be a good one because given the choice between someone who worked at anything during the time the government was paying people to stay home, and someone who decided to stay home, it’s the person who did not let their professional ego get in their way and did what they could who will get the job offer.

So how do you explain the COVID resume gap? There are four acceptable justifications for having let the government pay you to not “work,” and they all relate to real “work” you were doing, although (sadly) most people don’t consider it “work.” They should all appear on your resume, listing your responsibilities and accomplishments, so there is no gap! Here they are:

  1. Child care. You had to stay home while your spouse went to work. Nothing wrong with that. Good for you. Or, you are a single parent and had to stay home. More power to you!
  2. Adult care. You had an elderly parent/relative/friend for whom you had to care. Ditto.
  3. Education. You spent the time to further your professional education. You can prove it with certifications in this, that and the other thing. You are now a better employee. Well done!
  4. Death. A loved one died and you had to take care of the estate. My condolences.

All of these should be a source of pride. And when you are proud of something, it will come across in a job interview. What you did was important. Just itemize on your resume what you had to do, your responsibilities, like with any other job. The patience you had to display, the self-control, involved in child or adult care, could be, should be, a ticket to a customer service or trainer position at any forward-thinking company. Education speaks for itself. As for learning probate, it shows, as does being a caregiver, that you learned how to navigate a new (complicated) bureaucracy.

Going back to child care, literally list the skills you taught your children. Instead of watching television, playing video games, or going on the internet, you taught them to be responsible and that (school) work comes first. You taught them discipline. You taught them the value of work. You taught them the importance of keeping to a schedule and a daily regimen. Those are all skills smart employers want in their employees.

And they also want honesty. So if you foolishly just took advantage of the situation and let the government pay you not to work, admit your mistake. Most people can be forgiving. Just say, “I was an idiot. I made a mistake. I know now I should not have done it. I learn from my mistakes which is the only thing I can say in my defense. I don’t make excuses. I never repeat the same mistake twice!”

Depending on the type of professional you were pre-COVID, it just may be enough to convince an employer to give you a try.

Need personal advice? Schedule a free 15-minute career counseling consultation today!