COVID career gap


I got laid off soon after COVID hit. I was good at my job, but COVID shuttered my company.

At first, I looked around for another job. There were no jobs anywhere, not for me. The pandemic decimated the hospitality industry.

My wife and I kept thinking, “this will turn around in few months.” We kept thinking that until we had exhausted our savings.   

I started driving for Uber, but with a lot of others also driving for Uber, I couldn’t make a living wage. My wife was taking care of our kids, so she couldn’t work. I debated taking a job at Walmart but kept thinking, “what if I bring COVID home and my wife or kids get sick.”

It’s been a year. I’ve retooled my resume. I’m applying for customer skill jobs, but the more advanced, good paying jobs are going to those who managed to stay employed. It looks bad that I only worked Uber and gigs.

How do I explain the big gap on my resume?


Most employers understand COVID-related resume gaps, particularly for those who worked in industries hardest hit by the pandemic.

Research the employers and jobs for which you plan to apply. Then, draft specific cover letters and resumes that clearly outline how your skills match their jobs. Include a sentence or two outlining how you handled circumstances beyond your control.

You didn’t sit idly on the sidelines. You drove for Uber and hustled gigs.

You’re correct that those who accepted jobs, even low-paying, entry level ones, now have an easier time landing more senior jobs than those who stayed out of the job market. That is why you need to spend the extra effort customizing your cover letters and resumes, why you need to add one or more letters of reference from former supervisors, and why you may need to take a lower level, lower-paying job, and work your way up.

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4 thoughts on “COVID career gap

  1. I lost my job in April 2020. I didn’t work at all for 8 months. The recruiters I talked to recommended not taking low-paying positions that I was overqualified for because it would have a long-term effect on my career. I paid $165 to have my resume and cover letter professionally rewritten. It took a while, but I got an awesome job that I love.

    1. Karen, this is great. I’m lucky enough to know you and to be aware that you have both a high level of educational and experiential qualifications. I agree with your recruiter.
      In the case of the individual who wrote me, and perhaps I should have included more about him, he has to recommend both personality and enthusiasm but his prior hospitality jobs don’t qualify him for a more advanced job, so my response to him was perhaps tough love. Thanks your useful comments and I’m grateful you covered other aspects of this situation.

  2. Your insights and encouragement are large here. Let us all hope that working one’s way back up the career ladder doesn’t take too many years.

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