How to Handle an Employment Gap in Your Resume in 2020

According to economists, more than 1 million workers are expected to lose their jobs by the end of the month due to the coronavirus pandemic. This means a lot more than just unemployment and mounting bills. It also means trying to deal with a resume gap for an unpredictable period. If it’s your first time having a career gap, it can feel even more stressful.

Here are three ways to handle communicating an unforeseen gap on your resume in 2020:

Be Truthful About What Happened

This is an unprecedented time and employers know this. Don’t hide the gap in your resume. Put a blurb in the job details about being laid off due to COVID-19. It will put a prospective employer on notice that you were impacted by the massive layoffs. You will also feel confident that you can explain with complete transparency and honesty. Give yourself flexibility and focus on the daily affirmations of moving forward while also being confident, patient, and positive about the road ahead in your job search. Remind yourself that it’s not your fault that this happened.

Create and Innovate

Start innovating your own project-based assignments. It’s better to disclose on an interview that you were working on home-based organizational projects as opposed to vegging on your couch for 12 hours a day watching the latest Netflix documentary. The idea is to show that despite this disruption in employment, you’re resilient and still committed to being productive. Don’t rule out getting in shape or finding a new health routine. This can also attribute to bettering your mind, body, and spirit.

Focus on the Skills You Do Have

Look to explain your career or work gap by highlighting your strongest hard and soft skills. Consider enrolling in free online courses to boost your knowledge and create new pathways into new industries. Ramp-up community involvement and consider volunteering with local organizations that show a current need. Reach out to former mentors and bosses and see if there are opportunities for you to pitch in and serve in a per diem capacity.  This shows commitment on your part to be adaptable to tough situations and focused on solutions and problem-solving.

Each of these above-mentioned items can better explain a gap in your resume and work history during an unforeseen circumstance such as COVID-19. Be sure to consider reaching out to your most recent boss or a trusted colleague for a personal or professional reference and recommendation. Don’t be afraid to ask for guidance in conducting a job search during the coronavirus outbreak. As a whole, remain focused, positive, and confident. Remember, you are not alone.


  • Wendi Weiner

    Personal Branding & Career Expert

    Wendi Weiner is an attorney and award-winning writer who has been featured in over 75 major media outlets (including CNN, HuffPost, Money, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Business Insider) as a top authority in personal branding, social storytelling, career strategy, and the job search process. As a solopreneur and owner of The Writing Guru, her trademarked namesake company, Wendi holds 6 certifications in resume writing, personal branding, career coaching, and a pioneer certification in LinkedIn training and usage. She is the country’s only Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW) who is a licensed attorney, and she holds a pioneer certification in LinkedIn training and usage.   Wendi has been credited with more than 10 honors and awards for her ability to create powerful career and personal brands for attorneys, top executives, and C-suite leaders for their job search, LinkedIn presence, and digital footprint. She additionally provides high-impact content writing for corporations and major publications, and speaks on the global level about personal branding, resume writing, business professionalism, reputation management, and social networking.   Wendi's own career background includes serving as a college writing professor for 7 years while simultaneously practicing law for almost 12 years, both in big law and in-house for a Fortune 200 company. Wendi is an active member of the Florida Bar since 2004, and she holds a J.D. from Stetson University College of Law and an undergraduate degree in English from Florida State University.