- “But why should I do it?”, you may ask. “Why should I change my resume during COVID-19?
Well, the coronavirus has changed the job market, whether we like it or not.
Some job positions require a new set of skills. New positions are being created (whether temporarily or not), others are disappearing.
Workplace is changing rapidly as well — hiring as a whole went online and many of us have to work remotely.
If you want to increase your chance of success, you need to adapt your resume to those changes. I’m going to tell you how you can do that in eight simple steps.
Oh, and if you make it to the end of this article, you’ll find three well-written resume examples that put these steps into practice.
How to Update Your Resume for COVID-19?
You probably know already what your resume should look like in 2020 — short, with a modern look, customized for each job, and error-free (bullshit-free too). Most of those things still apply.
But there’s now more you should do if you want your resume to stand out under the current circumstances. Just follow these 8 simple steps:
1. Review Your Resume Format
Before you get down to updating your content, you need to choose the most suitable resume format based on your current situation.
The most common resume format is chronological. It’s focused on your work experience that is organized in chronological order. If you already have a resume, you’re probably already familiar with this format. In case you’re looking for a job in your current industry, you can keep it.
However, if you’re working in a coronavirus-affected industry and you’re seeking opportunities in another field, you should consider giving your resume the functional or hybrid resume format.
Why should you opt for one of these? When changing careers, your past job titles may not be that relevant. Instead, you need to emphasize your transferable skills. Both of these formats focus on that rather than your work experience.
But what’s the difference between the two formats?
- A functional resume revolves around skills or major accomplishments/career highlights and relegates work history to the bottom of the page (or not at all).
- The hybrid resume format allows you to showcase your skills and accomplishments while providing a chronological summary of your work history just below.
Whichever resume format you choose, you should focus on your transferable skills like leadership, time management, delegation, customer service, or prioritization.
In other words, try to think of any skills that you could use in other companies as well and highlight them on your resume.
For instance, if you used to work as a flight attendant, you probably have strong customer service skills that you can use in a customer support role. (See the resume example at the end of this article for more.)
2. If You Got Laid Off, Explain What Happened
Has 2020 left you with a gaping gap on your resume?
If you were laid off due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s completely okay to mention it on your resume. There are two reasons for that.
First, those who provide a reason for their work gap receive almost 60% more interviews than those who don’t.
Second, the reason matters a lot in this case. The whole world knows about the pandemic and understands the ramifications of it. Because of that, recruiters will understand your employment gap and won’t hold it against you when considering you for a position.
You can address this either in your professional summary or in the work experience section under the most current job title.
Something like “Recently laid off due to the COVID-19 and currently looking for my next opportunity,” will suffice.
3. Fill the Employment Gap
This goes hand in hand with the previous point. If you got laid off, the best thing you can do is explain how you used that time to do something useful.
Your next job interview might even include the question: “What did you do during the pandemic to advance yourself?”
Make sure you have something interesting to say.
Needless to say, it will help you frame the employment gap in a way that shows you in the best possible light.. In the end, it shows that you didn’t just wrap yourself in blankets like a depressed burrito but remained active.
Pick up a New Skill or Two
Seek out online webinars, classes, or certificates. For instance, if you’re applying for a social media manager position, it will likely require experience with Google Analytics or Google Adwords. If you’re certified in either one or both, it will boost your chances of scoring that job.
Try Coursera, Udemy, EdX, or LinkedIn Learning. Most of these platforms offer free courses or discounts to make learning available to the recently laid off.
You can also familiarize yourself with the technologies that have proved essential during the coronavirus pandemic. For instance, take a course on the basics of Google Meet, Zoom, or other online platforms. This will help you enter a new COVID-19-era workplace.
Then you can mention these new skills in your skills section or create a separate section called Courses & Certificates.
Although it may not feel great to go back to being an unpaid intern, volunteering shows that you stayed proactive. And which employer doesn’t like that?
You can volunteer for those who currently need it — there are many organizations in need of help during the pandemic.
Either that or you can volunteer from self-isolation — you can help organize a fundraising or start an online mentoring gig for students.
Alternatively, you can also reach out to companies you admire and ask them if they could find a volunteer position for you.
Then you can include it in your resume’s work experience or volunteering section.
Put Together a Portfolio or Work Samples
It’s one thing to claim you have skills, but it is another to back your words with evidence.
Now that you have a bit of time to spare, you can put together a portfolio that showcases your main competencies.
Collect your best designs, articles, publications, or other projects and turn them into a presentation, blog or your personal website.
You can then include a hyperlink to it in the contact information section of your resume.
4. Showcase Your Work Strategies
The coronavirus has turned most workplaces upside down. Chances are, you’ve already noticed some of these changes taking place before leaving your previous company.
Your resume needs to show that you’ve adapted to these changes in a proactive way.
If you’ve been on the frontlines of navigating through HR issues at your company, explain the impact of your work. Describe the leadership decisions you had to take to manage the crisis.
Also, there’s a chance you were doing something new due to COVID-19, be it working from home, adjusting the company’s strategy, or taking up tasks from laid off co-workers. Give yourself credit for that.
Here’s an example:
“During the COVID-19 crisis, I championed the implementation of video conferencing and other online resources to ensure the continuation of smooth and effective training delivery for all teachers and students. I also developed and launched online self-learning modules for independent students, and supported a move towards more longer-term online learning solutions.”
5. Mind the Tech
Teleworking skills or online tools like Zoom, Skype, Asana — all of these have quickly become essential to most workplaces. If you have these skills, make sure to mention them.
You can include them in your skills section or mention them throughout your resume — in your profile or work experience descriptions.
Here’s an example:
“As an IT specialist, I help to enable companies’ workforces to accomplish their day-to-day business activities by going remote using a variety of tools, such as:
- Project Management tools (Asana, Trello, Zoho Projects)
- Zoho One — Operating System for Business (Marketing, Sales, Operations, HR)
- CRM (Hub Spot, Zoho CRM, Bitrix24)
- Intranet ( JIRA, Zoho Help Desk)
- Reporting, Data Visualisation (Tableau, Power BI, Plotly Dash, MicroStrategy)”
You can also mention other related achievements like increasing the company’s revenue, ability to cut costs, ability to manage remote teams, or experience with working from home.
6. Highlight Other (Soft) Skills
LinkedIn’s 2019 report revealed that over 90% of recruiters think soft skills matter just as much (if not more) than technical skills.
In fact, they might prove to be even more important in the age of COVID-19.
How is it possible? Let me put it this way — it doesn’t matter if your IT manager is good with computers when he can’t communicate effectively with his team.
Here are most important soft skills that you can currently highlight on your resume:
- Time management.
But remember that these words mean nothing on their own. The best thing you can do is mention them in your skills section and then back them up in your work experience descriptions with specific examples of how you used these skills in the past.
Something like this:
- Communication skills — Built and strengthened customer relationships using effective communication skills providing a tailored approach to each client resulting in customer service recognized both by clients and the company.
- Time management — Delivered accurate and timely administrative support to the underwriting team.
- Leadership — Managed and mentored a team of 16 staff within the Birmingham office.
- Creativity — Greatly increased the number of high-quality videos and graphics for tweets, resulting in the account growing from 50K to 107K followers during my tenure.
7. Get a Reference From Your Former Employer
It’s never too early to ask your former employer for a job search reference. Believe it or not, now it’s a perfect time.
In the end, what’s in the current job search situation better than having someone who can vouch for you and your abilities?
Needles to say, most employers feel bad about job cuts too and want to lend a helping hand. Beyond providing advice and assistance to land a new job, some of them will be also happy to provide you with a positive reference.
Ask your former employers, supervisors, or any other higher-ups if you can use them as a reference during your job search. If you’re not sure how to formulate your request, here’s a useful email template.
Then you can put your references directly on your resume. Either provide full details about your contacts or write the phrase “References available upon request.”
Alternatively, you can provide the references as a separate document attached to your job application.
8. Don’t Forget to Showcase Your Main Accomplishments
The goal of your resume is to emphasize your achievements, results, and projects to highlight your career value. Don’t let the coronavirus derail those efforts.
If you want to stand out in a growing crowd of job seekers, you need to show your value. How?
Quantify as much information as possible. Ask yourself questions like How much? How many? How often?
Any metrics you can pull in will be much more impactful than a generic description of your duties.
Here’s an example. It sounds a bit bland, doesn’t it?
- Responsible for new sales and existing client growth.
- Consistently exceeded quarterly and annual sales goals.
And here’s a revamped version:
- Delivered 200% above sales revenue targets 2 years in a row.
- Recognized as the Top Producing Sales Executive 2 years in a row.
- Generated $12 million in revenue.
A single example is often worth a thousand words, isn’t it? Let’s then finally put the theory into practice.
Here are 3 well-written resumes adjusted to the current COVID-19 job search situation. They will help you get started:
1. COVID-19 Employment Gap Resume Example
If you got laid off due to COVID-19, try to use your time between jobs to do something pro-active and meaningful.
Did you spend that time working as a volunteer in your local community? Did you
complete any online courses or educational programs? Don’t hesitate to mention it in your resume, especially if it’s something relevant to your field.
It will boost your chances of getting hired!
2. Career Change Resume Example
If you’re pursuing a career change, give special care to your skills section.
Luckily for anyone who is (whether voluntarily or involuntarily) trying to get a job in a different field, the functional resume format allows you to focus your resume on transferable skills, strengths, and relevant achievements.
Don’t underestimate this CV format! Opening your resume with a properly written skills section might be something what will get you ahead in the job search during the coronavirus era.
3. Technical Skills Resume Example
It’s 2020 and remote jobs are more ubiquitous than ever. Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, being able to work from home played a key role to many people when deciding which job to take.
Presumably, companies will need their future job applicants to be able to work on their tasks and projects regardless of their location.
If they hope to succeed in that, employees will have to become skilled in using various software tools which enable them to communicate with their colleagues, delegate tasks, share documents, etc.
That’s why you should always add various computer skills to your resume. Don’t forget that recruiters often sort CVs by whether the job candidates can use the software necessary for the position or not.