During a job interview you might stumble on the question: “What did you do during the corona pandemic?” or “Can you explain the job employment gap in your resume?“
It certainly catches many candidates off-guard, but those who prepare beforehand are able to turn it into an advantage.
In this blog article, we’ll dive deeper into the importance of preparation, suitable answer (with example), do’s and don’ts.
Why Should You Prepare?
According to a recently published article, roughly 9.6 million U.S. workers lost their jobs with an unemployment rate increase from 3.8% in 2019 to 8.6% in 2020.
With the upcoming contagious Delta Variant there is an even bigger chance that these numbers will increase, which leads to even more competition in the job searching process.
That being said, why should you prepare for a COVID-19 interview question? Besides the fact that preparation can make you feel more in control, calm and collected, it can be a great advantage over other candidates.
For example, employers usually scan through resumes looking for the most recent activities. Although being out of work with an employment gap – due to the impact of COVID-19 – might not raise eyebrows, you better explain how you’ve dealt with this sudden abundance of time.
It’s a great opportunity to explain how you’ve expanded your knowledge and skills (related to the job role) during the pandemic, hence portray yourself as someone who continues to be proactive and productive, even in difficult times.
How To Explain? (Example)
“Well, although COVID-19 resulted in me being out of work, I took the opportunity to take a sabbatical year and experience a new environment, meet new people and further educate myself on [Topic] through online courses. For example, I’ve immersed myself in learning the ins and outs of [Task 1] and [Task 2] listed in the job description. I’m excited to put my knowledge into practice and contribute to [Company XYZ]’s objectives.”
Do's & Don'ts
- Include a small snippet in your CV regarding your employment gap due to COVID-19
- Explain what you’ve done to prepare yourself for re-entry (e.g. further educated yourself, attended industry specific events etc.)
- Don’t hide employment gaps in your resume to make your profile seem more impressive (Employers are information gatherers)
- Don’t dwell or inform them about negative experiences you might have faced during COVID-19