Mind the Gap!
It’s seems like a lifetime since we were being reminded to mind the gap on our commutes in and out of London but with any luck, that time may be coming back again soon.
For around 800,000 people in the UK at the last count (and likely to be more when the government’s furlough scheme has come to an end) the gap is one they find on their CV and one that has solely been caused by Covid-19. It can be difficult to know how to address this gap on a CV. Today, as a leading recruitment agency in London, we unpick that problem for you and give you a plan and a pathway to help you move forward in your business support career.
Pre-pandemic, taking up to nine months to go travelling had next to no effect on a job seeker’s ability to find work on their return. Employers were comfortable with that type of period out of work – it was long enough to fully recharge and widen horizons, but not so long as to forget or particularly blunt business support skill-sets.
The same applies to the pandemic period, and probably even more so. So first thing is first: don’t worry. You’re in the same boat as a lot of other people and employers understand this. They are especially cognisant of those who have experienced redundancy during the pandemic.
Be honest, transparent, proactive and positive about your situation. It will have been a very tough period, but as recruiters in London we have seen that working life is already returning and will continue to bounce back strongly and quickly. Keep your accomplishments and career highlights fresh in your mind: you are just as employable now as you were then.
If you have been on furlough for several months of the last year, or are still on furlough, it is most likely that you have remained an employee of your company throughout the pandemic to date.
It is perfectly acceptable to list this as continuous employment, despite the fact that you may not have “worked” for the last several months. You should add the furlough period or period when you were redundant and seeking work in italics (the bold type below is illustrative and not to be used on your actual CV):
March 2019 – Present (June 2020 – presently on furlough)
Or (if you were put on furlough initially and then made redundant)
October 2020 – Present
Seeking work during COVID-19
March 2019 – September 2020 (April 2020 – September 2020 on furlough)
You could also write Career break instead of seeking work during that period, and explain what you did with that time to potentially recharge, care for a loved one, home school, re-train or up-skill.
If you have re-trained, up-skilled, attended online courses or volunteered you should add these as bullet points under the relevant date periods as you would normally list your key duties underneath your job title.
The above guarantees accuracy and honesty – the two critical facets that should underpin any CV.
You do not want to get to interview stage where you have not made it clear on your CV that you have been on furlough only to then be asked what your key achievements have been in the last six months. You will then have to explain that you were actually on furlough and not “working” which will feel like you have not been 100% transparent about your working situation or status.
Despite the fact that you may have had a very tough time personally, professionally, mentally and emotionally over these last few months, the interview is a time to look forward. In that interview, be positive and feel confident, even if you have to act it or convince yourself beforehand.
Employers won’t worry about the gaps on your CV. But they may have doubts if they think you have honed your powers of adaptability, steadfastness and resilience in recent times. These are qualities which they may perceive will be needed in their business support staff – both now and in the future – to ensure future professional success should we be working in a period where the unexpected or unknown may be more common than in the previous decade or two.
It is when you come across as upbeat and positive in the face of difficulty, when you demonstrate that you can have a good go at controlling your emotions, as opposed to letting them control you, that you impress your potential employer. They are more likely to think of you as a prospective team member who will help the team through tough times as and when they arise when you come across in this way. You also have every reason to feel this way because after all you are taking the time to read this blog, improve yourself and take things forward for your own, and your employers’ benefit.
Lastly, remember that the employer is on your side. They are likely to be empathetic to your situation and want you to do well. They are likely to be very supportive of you if you work hard and give your best for them. They want it to work just like you do, and if they are the right company for you, working and sharing the adventure together; you will both achieve the success you set out to achieve.
If you are a candidate looking for your next temporary or permanent business support role in London, or a client requiring assistance in recruitment please contact our team so we can help you with your search at email@example.com