How to Perfect and Update Your Résumé in a COVID-19 World Right Now

Over the past two years, your job has probably been stressed, changed, lost, or become very different in some way or even every way. Even under the best of circumstances, you sometimes think about changing your job or employer. Now with COVID-19, it may have happened to you without any plan. The worst case, you have no job at all.

Miniature man holding his résumé sitting on a large office chair representing need to update your résumé for the COVID-19 world

We are right in the middle of the “Great Resignation”, so this is a time to update your résumé to help you find that future, no matter why you find yourself looking for something new. Make the worst thing that can happen, a pandemic, lead to the best thing that can happen, a rewarding new job!

Prospective job seekers will still face a competitive market out there despite this so-called labor shortage. Many people will need to update their résumé as part of the application process and there are many strategies to increase one’s employment chances of getting a plum job. Give your résumé a pandemic refresh and make it perfect before submitting that next job application.

Why Change Jobs Now?

Reading everyday about how so many people have lost jobs is somewhat deceiving. First of all, they may have been at home working even when they aren’t “employed” because of the “gig economy”. That’s the one that is offering many opportunities to stay at home and yet still make a living or at least an income.

But even if you are actually looking for a traditional job, prospective job seekers will still face a competitive market out there, even with people talking about a labor shortage. That’s a great reason right now to update your résumé.

Ways to Update Your Résumé

What to do that is different this time

Many companies are using a vast array of what’s called “collaboration tools” such as Zoom, Slack, virtual whiteboards, and more to assist running their businesses remotely. You’ll need to emphasize your skills here and experience when you update your résumé. Use specific examples of how you applied or can apply these tools in your work.

Mention power skills

In order to stand out when applying for a job, make them see you as someone with strong power skills. These are skills like your creativity, collaborative leadership skills, curiosity, and empathy.

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In the past, you might have emphasized your technical skills on your résumé. But today these power skills are equally important to mention.

Your reliability and self-motivation skills are seen as essential in a world that calls for the ability to work unsupervised. Hiring managers will appreciate high levels of organization and prioritization skills. Make sure to include these skills in your résumé.

New careers are a real opportunity

Have you always wanted to change careers? This may be the time. If you have the skills that can transfer from one kind of job to another, your résumé can easily highlight those skills.

When you don’t quite meet a job’s desired qualifications 100%, you can show how the skills you already have would help you succeed in a new role. Make your transferable skills more compelling by including specific results you have achieved with them using real examples. Emphasize your success, past performance, and proven results.

It’s important to grab attention with your résumé

Hiring managers only spend a short time scanning an applicant’s résumé. When I was a hiring manager, I was overwhelmed with résumés and literally spent seconds scanning each one looking for some key words that would make it standout for further review. Make an impact!

How? Tell the manager what you can do for the company. This can be conveyed in just a few sentences or a few bullet points at the top of your résumé. For example, instead of “managed a team of 6” on your résumé, try “led a team of 6 that helped increase gross revenue by 13% within the first 12 months of my leadership”. That’s being very specific and powerful too.

Highlight your potential that will show what you can bring to the table.

“Upskilling”

During the pandemic, many have increased their learning banks with online courses. This self-investment again helps you stand out during the application process. If you used your downtime to invest in courses (upskilling), make a special note on your résumé and use it!

The employment gap

You’ll possibly have an employment gap on your résumé due to a COVID-19 layoff. Your goal is to minimize this gap as much as possible. So how do you address a prolonged employment gap on your résumé?

  • Be completely honest. Don’t try to hide this gap on your résumé. These are hard times and employers are more understanding about unemployment due to layoffs.
  • Mention in your career history about being laid off due to COVID-19. But don’t stop there. Mention how you’ve used the time off to improve your skills, whether it’s completing online courses and certifications or learning new computer software.

You can also use your time spent volunteering as an asset. If you’re not yet involved in any volunteer activities, try to look for opportunities to support others using a site like VolunteerMatch.org (with both local and virtual opportunities). This shows that you’ve remained proactive and contributed positively to a greater goal. You can include this volunteer work under the work experience section or put it under a separate section dedicated to volunteer experience.

Final Thoughts

Where you are in your work life can and will dictate how you approach a job change in the 2022 world. Younger workers change jobs regularly for lots of reason. They always have and always will. But what if you are in your 40s, 50s, or 60s?

For those workers, it can be daunting to consider starting over someplace new. While some have been forced to put off retirement due to COVID-19, getting back to work will be difficult due to the negative perceptions of older workers.

People may think as an older worker you can’t change and be flexible and you’re not technologically savvy. If that’s you, you need to show a lot of energy, enthusiasm, and show you are interested in doing something professionally and personally related to it during any layoff time.

A résumé should serve just as one part of your multifaceted approach to networking, career development, and the application process itself. A new job is out there and it may be the job you have always wanted!

Are you ready to revamp your old tired résumé? What does your résumé say about the past two years and does it need a refresher? Have you thought about how to update your résumé in the 2022 world?

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