Lost Your Job During the Pandemic? Here are Tips for Updating Your Resume

The coronavirus pandemic has significantly impacted the economy and resulted in millions of unemployed Americans. A resume is an important way to tell your story and why you are looking for a new opportunity. If you are wondering how to best reflect a job furlough or layoff on your resume, here are some great tips.

  1. Be Candid

In writing about your most recent job experience, describe your work, assigned projects and accomplishments. Be clear in your explanation of why you were laid-off or furloughed and that it was related to Covid-19. Being candid about the reason will explain your separation was not performance related.  It is also recommended to include an explanation in your cover letter as well.

  1. New Skills/Experiences

Describe any new skills gained during the time you have been unemployed. List courses taken, projects completed, books read and any time spent volunteering or helping family. You want to show that you have not been sitting around but have been productive and are ready to get back to work.

  1. Words Matter

Always be thinking how you can differentiate yourself from other candidates. If asked about why you lost your job, say something like, “My division was downsized” instead of, “I was laid-off”.  Using strong action verbs in your resume will help you stand out. Some examples of action verbs to include in are coordinated, executed, enhanced, generated, implemented, advised, and transformed. To maximize the effectiveness of your action verbs, review the job description.  If the job description emphasizes project management and analytical skills, look for areas on your resume where you describe those skills and add keywords. Since many businesses are operating remotely, remember to include remote working words related to video and document sharing technologies.

  1. Making Your Resume ATS Compliant

Resumes which are designed to be compliant with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) software have a much higher chance of getting to a hiring manager. These systems are used by companies to quickly evaluate candidates. The software automatically scans and processes each application and ranks the candidates by their qualifications. For optimal results, use an ATS design template which can be found on-line. List your work experience in chronological order and include key words from the job description.

As you work on updating your resume, it is also important to keep your LinkedIn account active and your resume updated. Resume writing is part writing and part science. Understanding the technology, the industry, the job description, and the importance of the words are essential to writing a resume that will be noticed.


Contributed by: Amy Noel