Tag: Coronavirus


How to Revive Your Pandemic-Ruined Résumé

If the pandemic forced you out of your job and left you with a ruined résumé, you may be worried about the growing gap in your employment history.

Hiring managers certainly understand the reason for current résumé gaps. But, you’ll likely be the candidate to land more interviews if you show how you’ve spent your time wisely during the pandemic.

This means your 2021 résumé will look a lot different from your ruined résumé of 2020. You’ll need to include some sections and entries you wouldn’t ordinarily include.

Here are some examples to help you revive your pandemic-ruined résumé.

Salvaging a ruined résumé

Online courses

The pandemic caused my business to slow down a bit, so I’ve had some extra time. As a result, I registered for a nine-month course I’ve had my eye on. While the class usually meets in person, this year’s cohort is meeting virtually through Zoom.

I’m gaining so much from it. And I know in the long-run, it will positively impact my business and the clients I serve.

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn? Is it something that can build your résumé and help you improve your skills?

Last week, I met with a client who’s interviewing for a new job. She said she’s spent time during the pandemic taking online classes on Udemy to learn some new skills. This is something she’s now including on her résumé to make her more marketable to employers.

There are several online platforms like Udemy which allow you to do the same thing. You can list any online courses you take under your education section of your résumé. Or, if you take enough classes to justify a separate section, then list them there. You can call this section, “Online Education,” or “Online Coursework.”

You can also include the projects or significant assignments from the classes.

Reading

Because of the extra time from slow business and the reading requirements for my class, I probably spent time reading more books in 2020 than I ever did in one year, including my final year of grad school!

Prior to starting my class in August, I finished reading nine books. And I’ve read 15 books since then. Between now and April, I have six more books to read for my class, plus all the ones I keep adding to my personal list.

If you’ve spent time reading, especially any non-fiction related to your career interests, include this on your résumé. You probably want to title the section, “Pandemic Reading List.”

Home projects

A lot of people used their time during the pandemic to tackle some of those home projects they’ve been putting off for years. It was a great time for some do-it-yourself renovations or landscaping.

Include these tasks on your résumé, and show the skills required to accomplish them. You can name this section, “Pandemic Project Completion.”

Homeschooling

If you had to homeschool your children, this is an important thing to include on your résumé! It tells hiring managers so much about you and the skills you developed during the pandemic.

I share the best ways to include this on your résumé in my post, “How to Protect Your Career While Homeschooling.”

Caregiving

The devastating reality of the pandemic is the number of people infected with COVID-19. Even if you didn’t lose your job, maybe you had to take time off of work, either to quarantine or to care for a very ill loved-one. Perhaps it was for longer than you expected, well past the allowed COVID leave or FMLA time.

Caring for a family member is a legitimate gap in a résumé. It’s better to be open and honest about this reason for your gap. This is so the hiring manager won’t think you’re trying to hide something less noble.

You can address it in one short line on your résumé that says, “Employment gap due to family caregiving responsibilities.” Or, you can address it in your cover letter if further explanation is necessary.

Skills gained

From all of the things listed above, and from the experience of living through a pandemic in and of itself, you gained a lot of skills in 2020.

Generally speaking, we’ve all learned to be more flexible, adaptable, and creative. We’ve also learned to budget our money better. And hopefully, we’ve developed more emotional intelligence and improved our E.Q. by being more empathetic and patient.

Personally, I learned a lot of new skills in 2020. I learned how to apply for government aid for my business, and how to apply for PPP loan forgiveness. Also, I learned how to put a valuation on my company. This helped me complete the process of selling a portion of my business to another company. I’m also improving my supervisory skills with the hiring of a certified professional résumé writer this past September. And in July, I learned the ins and outs of refinancing my home.

You’ve also learned additional skills if you did any of the above during the pandemic. What are they? Use them to fill any employment gaps on your résumé.

Organizing your résumé

There are several ways to organize all this information on your résumé. You may want a separate section for projects, homeschooling, etc.

Or, you may want an entire section called, “Pandemic Projects and Skills.”

If you need help organizing or re-writing your résumé, click here to request a quote.

As things start to improve and your career stabilizes, you can take most or all of these items off your résumé.

Here’s wishing you a better 2021!

Related posts

Who Needs a Day Off From 2020?

I know I sure could use a day off from 2020! For the first time in a long time, I’m experiencing writers block for this blog, and I just need a little time off from trying to come up with my next topic.

This year has been so eventful, but not in a good way. Therefore, I’ve had plenty to write about, especially on the topic of doing a job search in the middle of a pandemic. But I’m burned out right now.

I love to write, and I’m passionate about sharing my expertise for those who are in need of career help. But for next week’s holiday I’m going to spend some time doing some other things I’m passionate about. And hopefully by the time I return from Thanksgiving, I’ll be refreshed with new topics to help you in your career.

If you have any specific topic requests, please email them directly to me or include them in the comment box below. This will help me to know what information you need most.

In the meantime, even though it’s not the end of the year yet, we can all agree we’re ready for 2020 to be over. Therefore, I’m going to go ahead and share my top 10 blog posts of 2020.

Enjoy!

Top 10 paNASH blog posts of the year (because we’re ready for 2020 to be over!)

1. How to Answer These Important Pandemic Interview Questions

How to Answer These Important Pandemic Interview Questions

Your next interview could include questions like:

  • What did you do with your time while furloughed or laid off during the pandemic?
  • Did you draw unemployment when you could have found work?

These are all very legal questions, so you need to be prepared for them and know how to answer them! Click here to find out how.

2. What Happens When a Pandemic Disrupts Your Career?

What Happens When a Pandemic Disrupts Your Career?

Do you have a back-up plan if an event like a pandemic disrupts your career? Click here to learn how to adapt and pivot in your career.

3. How to Make Phone and Video Interviews Run More Smoothly

How to Make Phone and Video Interviews Run More Smoothly

The number of Zoom and phone interviews will continue to rise even after the pandemic due to their convenience and cost effectiveness. Click here to learn how to ensure things run smoothly for your next remote interview.

4. LinkedIn Etiquette You Need to Know When Networking Remotely

LinkedIn Etiquette You Need to Know When Networking Remotely

There is an etiquette to building your network on LinkedIn. If you fail to follow this etiquette, you’ll likely turn off the people you want to connect with most. Click here for six LinkedIn etiquette rules to help you make a good first impression.

5. How to Avoid These 5 Career Mistakes During a Time of Panic

How to Avoid These 5 Career Mistakes During a Time of Panic

“Emotions are the worst advisors,” says Serena Williams’s coach Peter Mouratoglou. Letting emotions like fear or panic guide your career decisions can lead to some big career mistakes. Click here to learn how to avoid these mistakes and not panic.

6. How to Write the Best Thank You Notes for Your Interviews

How to Write the Best Thank You Notes for Your Interviews

Are you one of the 90% of job seekers who don’t send a thank you note after your job interview?

A thank you note should be part of your job search strategy, but there’s a certain way to write professional thank you notes, which look and feel different from personal thank you notes.

Click here to learn how to write them, when to send them, and more.

7. What Are the Best Alternatives to Online Job Boards?

What Are the Best Alternatives to Online Job Boards?

Are you using the same old job boards everyone else uses but never find what you’re really looking for? Click here to learn about five alternatives to the oversaturated job boards so you can find more relevant opportunities.

8. Getting Laid Off? The #1 Thing to Ask for When You Leave

Getting Laid Off? The #1 Thing to Ask for When You Leave

When you’re getting laid off, you no longer have anything to lose with your employer. As a result, there’s something you should try to negotiate as part of your severance package to help you get back on your feet quicker. Click here to find out what it is and how to negotiate for it.

9. How to Stop Looking Desperate on LinkedIn

How to Stop Looking Desperate on LinkedIn

Recruiters are turned off by desperate job candidates, and they can recognize desperation just from your LinkedIn profile. Click here for the four things you should stop doing on LinkedIn so you won’t appear desperate.

10. How to Improve Your Career During a Pandemic: 15 Resources

How to Improve Your Career During a Pandemic: 15 Resources

Click here for ten more posts on how to manage your career and job search in the midst of a pandemic.

Stay tuned

My posts will return following the Thanksgiving holiday. Hopefully, as 2020 wraps up and we transition to a new year, there will be less need to write on the topic of job searching during a pandemic.

Again, if you have requests for other career-related topics, please send them my way or include them in the comment box.

I hope you all have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. When necessary, be physically distant but socially proximate with your loved ones.

2020

What Happens When a Pandemic Disrupts Your Career?

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about the importance of having a back-up plan if something disrupts your career. I shared about a past client of mine who was a recording artist with a unique story. His former career as a high school social studies teacher was disrupted by stardom in the music industry.

I’ve been thinking a lot about him lately, especially how the pandemic has disrupted his and other performing artists’ careers. But even if he can’t work right now due to COVID restrictions on live performances, I know he’ll be okay. Why? Because he had a plan B, which most recording artists don’t have.

What about you? Do you have a plan B if some event disrupts your current career? It’s a question you need to consider. As a result, I’m re-sharing my post from a couple of years ago to help you start thinking about a plan B (or C, or D) for your career.

My client’s story (originally published August 29, 2018)

It was 2011 and I was waiting for my new client in his publicist’s conference room. We were beginning the process of preparing him for his upcoming radio interviews.

In our first session he told me his life story, how he got to where he was, and what his future looked like. He was different from most of the other recording artists I’d worked with. His values and priorities were on a whole other level.

What was typical

He told me about how he grew up poor with humble beginnings, and how he’d always been passionate about music, with goals to pursue it as a career. Not an uncommon story among most musicians who eventually make their way to Nashville.

He was the first person in his family to finish not just college, but also high school. This inspired him to become a high school social studies teacher, something else he was very passionate about.

After college, he pursued teaching to support his music career goals. He did both until he couldn’t any longer.

His music caught on like wildfire. In fact, he was getting so many bookings and selling out so many venues, his music career completely disrupted his teaching career. He had to leave his students to fulfill his new obligations to his fans.

Again, this is not an unusual story or scenario for most recording artists as they begin their careers. Most start off doing something else to make a living until they’re able to afford to pursue music full-time.

What was different

But here’s where it gets different with this particular artist:  he said to me,

“When this whole music thing dries up, which it probably will eventually, my plan is to go back to teaching social studies.”

I had never heard a recording artist talk like this. Most get so caught up in their rise to fame and fortune they think it will never come to an end. They don’t think long-term.

In fact, most of them believe, and are also told by numerous music industry executives, if you truly want to make it in the music business you can’t have a Plan B.

The music executives’ theory is, if you have a Plan B, you’ll never be fully motivated to pursue the Plan A of a music career. They believe you’ll give up too soon and default to your Plan B before Plan A gets off the ground.

This client was the only artist I knew who didn’t fall for this mindset. He strongly disagreed and felt it was totally irresponsible not to have a Plan B. Like everything else, he knew Plan A will eventually come to an end.

He also told me something else I’ll never forget. In describing a recently sold-out show, one where Brantley Gilbert and the Zac Brown Band were opening for him, he said to me,

“To this day, there’s not been one stage I’ve walked onto that didn’t beat the feeling I got the first day I walked into a classroom.”

Talk about a mic drop!

Whether he realizes it or not, this musician is still teaching others in his role as an artist. There are so many lessons from this interaction and his statements I almost don’t know where to begin.

But let’s try to unpack as much as we can here.

1. It can’t be all about the money

It’s obvious he wasn’t doing any of this for the money. Everyone knows there’s very little money in education. And for someone willing to go back to education after a more lucrative career in music shows money isn’t a top priority.

As a career coach specializing in helping people pursue their passions, I can tell you if you’re pursuing something only for money with no passion behind it, it’s likely to fail. All the experts will tell you this. This includes business experts, successful entrepreneurs, other career coaches, and the ones who learned this lesson the hard way.

And not only is it likely to fail, you’re also likely to be miserable. If you’re not passionate about what you do and you find no meaning in it besides earning a paycheck, you’re likely to dread going to work everyday. This will wear on you over time.

2. You have to think long-term

Nothing lasts forever. You could be laid off tomorrow from your current job. Your business idea could take off like a rocket and then just as quickly crash and burn. My former client’s bookings could easily dry up since music fans’ tastes are fickle.

So then what?

While it’s important to learn to live in the moment, there needs to be a balance between living in the moment and considering the future.

One of the things I work with my coaching clients on is establishing long-term goals and helping them figure out how their passions can evolve with those goals.

Sometimes this requires re-evaluating and altering their short-term goals. And sometimes it may require them to alter their long-term goals.

3. It’s not a bad idea to have a back-up plan

As a result, you may need a Plan B to your Plan A, or even a Plan C to your Plan B.

These plans don’t have to be completely different from each other like they were for my former client. They could be something in the same industry but in a different role or function. Or something in the same role but in a different industry.

Back-up plans can be a great solution when you’re feeling stuck in your current career situation. I’ve helped many clients brainstorm and test potential back-up plans which eventually got them unstuck.

Do you see any other lessons here I missed? (If so, please comment below!)

What if something disrupts your career?

My former client had two very different careers he was equally passionate about. One disrupted the other much more quickly than he expected. And it could happen again some day. This happens to almost all of us, including myself.

What will you do if something disrupts your career? What will happen if you don’t have a Plan B to fall back on?

If you don’t have an answer to these questions, it may be time to consider the lessons outlined above, or even some career coaching for yourself. 

To find out if career coaching is your next best step, click here and complete the paNASH intake form. Completing the form does not obligate you in any way.

Resources for when something disrupts your career

How to Improve Your Career During a Pandemic: 15 Resources

The COVID pandemic has had widespread effect, not just on our health and our healthcare system, but also on our careers and the way we work. Every industry has felt its impact, some in a positive way, and most in a negative way.

As a result, I’ve had to help guide my clients and readers through the impact the pandemic has had on the job market and on their work and careers.

I’ve spent the last several months sharing my insights on how workers and job seekers can adapt to the current job market. I hope my readers have found this information helpful in such uncertain times. I also want to make it easier for them to access this information.

Therefore, I’m compiling all of my pandemic-related posts here for you to catch up on, along with some “tweetable” nuggets from various posts (see below).

I’m also including a new blog category named “COVID info” so you can easily locate all future posts related to this topic. You’ll find it within the list of other categories on the right of your computer screen or at the bottom of your mobile device screen.

If you have any specific questions about conducting a job search during a pandemic, feel free to email your question to me. I’ll try my best to answer it for you, either privately or in a future post.

15 resources to help you improve your career during a pandemic

1. How to Improve Your Work Life With Coronavirus Prevention (published March 23, 2020)

How to Improve Your Work Life With Coronavirus Prevention

“…companies who adopt remote work will replace companies who don’t.” (click to tweet)

The above quote is what experts are predicting. If you work for one of the few companies that has the capability to adopt remote work but has chosen not to, then your job may be in jeopardy.

It might be time to start updating your resume so you can look for work that will be around in the future. To help you do this, check out the next post #2.

2. How to Gain Control Over Your Career Amidst Layoffs (published March 23, 2020)

How to Gain Control Over Your Career Amidst Layoffs

“If it’s been a while since you last updated your resume, now is a good time to do so. It’s definitely more productive than spending your time watching Netflix while quarantined!”

You may not realize it, but there are probably some things on your resume hurting your chances of landing a job interview. They need to go!

Find out what to keep, update, and delete on your resume in this post.

3. Are You Prepared to Be a Freelancer If Forced To? (published March 26, 2020)

Are You Prepared to Be a Freelancer If Forced To?

“If you lost your job tomorrow and couldn’t find another one right away, would you be able to pick up and start making some extra money?”  (click to tweet)

Check out this post to find out how to create multiple streams of revenue in the event of a job loss.

4. Getting Laid Off? The #1 Thing to Ask for When You Leave (published March 30, 2020)

Getting Laid Off? The #1 Thing to Ask for When You Leave

“If you’re getting laid off due to the coronavirus, and your company doesn’t offer outplacement counseling, ask for it! What do you have to lose at this point?”

And if your company does offer outplacement counseling or career coaching as part of your severance, take advantage of it! They’re paying for it, so use it.

5. How to Avoid These 5 Career Mistakes During a Time of Panic (published April 15, 2020)

How to Avoid These 5 Career Mistakes During a Time of Panic

“Now is not the time to panic or lose hope. It’s time to do what’s within your control, which includes making good decisions based on logic, not fear.” (click to tweet)

There are five common career mistakes I see people make when they find themselves in a bad job market and start to panic. Find out what they are in this post so you can avoid them.

6. How to Make Phone and Video Interviews Run More Smoothly (published April 28, 2020)

How to Make Phone and Video Interviews Run More Smoothly

“Companies are likely to continue using remote interviews even after the pandemic is behind us.”

To ensure things run smoothly on your end of your next remote interview, follow the tips in this post.

7. Your Job Provides You Security. Until It Doesn’t. Then What? (published May 6, 2020)

Your Job Provides You Security. Until It Doesn’t. Then What?

“While you have no control over the current pandemic or your company’s response to it, you do have control over your own career strategy.”

Companies will always do what they have to do to keep afloat for as long as possible, which means you need to have a strategy in place if you lose your job.

Think you don’t need a strategy? Allow me to share a few stories with you in this post.

8. It’s Time For a 2020 Do-Over (published May 27, 2020)

It’s Time for a 2020 Do-Over!

“There are now things we have to change, but also things we get to change.”

What’s one change brought on by the pandemic you or your family have benefited from?

9.  How to Set Post-Quarantine Goals When You Hate Goal-Setting (published June 3, 2020)

How to Set Post-Quarantine Goals When You Hate Goal-Setting

“Maybe you’re less of a visionary or planner, and instead are more of a problem solver.”

If problem solving is more your thing than goal-setting, check out this simple way to set goals from a problem-solver’s perspective.

10.  How to Stay Focused on Your Goals During the Remainder of the Pandemic (published June 10, 2020)

How to Stay Focused on Your Goals During the Remainder of the Pandemic

“Now may be a good time to start planning some future goals, even if you don’t yet know the full impact of the pandemic on your future plans.”

Even if the pandemic is preventing you from accomplishing some of your goals, you can use this time to put them in writing or update the ones you’ve already written down. You can start planning now, and then you’ll already have something to tweak if necessary in the near future. Learn how in this post.

11. How to Stop Procrastinating During and After the Quarantine (published June 17, 2020)

How to Stop Procrastinating During and After the Quarantine

“You won’t be considered a failure if you at least give your goals a try. It’s when you don’t try at all you’ll be seen as a failure.” (click to tweet)

Because so much has been put on hold due to the pandemic, it can be tempting to also put your dreams and goals for your life on hold.

But how many years have gone by where you never did what you said you wanted to do? How many more years do you want this to continue happening once we’re past this crisis?

The truth is, post-quarantine won’t be any different than pre-quarantine if you don’t make the choice to change. Learn how in this post.

12. How to Re-Direct Your Career in a Time of Uncertainty (published June 24, 2020)

How to Re-Direct Your Career in a Time of Uncertainty

“You always have the opportunity to re-direct your career, both in good times and in times of uncertainty.” (click to tweet)

If we’ve learned anything from the economic impact of COVID-19, it’s nothing is certain. And, there’s no such thing as job security. But you can take your job security into your own hands. And you can start now! This post shows you how.

13. How to Land a New Job With the Help of a Face Mask (published July 8, 2020)

How to Land a New Job With the Help of a Face Mask

“You never know who will be standing in line six feet ahead of you, or six feet behind you. It could be the person who works for a company currently hiring instead of downsizing.”

This post teaches a unique way of networking during times of social distancing.

14. LinkedIn Etiquette You Need to Know When Networking Remotely (published July 29, 2020)

LinkedIn Etiquette You Need to Know When Networking Remotely

“If you fail to follow proper LinkedIn etiquette, you’ll likely turn off the people you want to connect with most.”

Most job candidates only create a LinkedIn profile and do nothing more than “set it and forget it.” But there are more things you can and should do with LinkedIn if you want to find opportunities. And you have to understand the etiquette required on LinkedIn in order to be successful. Learn how in this post.

15. How to Answer These Important Pandemic Interview Questions (published August 12, 2020)

How to Answer These Important Pandemic Interview Questions

“What did you do with your time…during the pandemic?”

This will be a question you may have to answer in your next interview. Are you ready for it? Learn how to respond appropriately in this post.

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How to Handle the Most Pointless Interview Questions

In light of coronavirus times, one of my Facebook friends posted this the other day:

“So in retrospect, in 2015, not a single person got the answer right to ‘Where do you see yourself five years from now?'”

I commented:

“This is reason enough to retire such an overused and pointless interview question!”

Pointless interview questions

This common interview question is just one of many pointless interview questions hiring managers and recruiters continue to ask. I’m not sure they even know what to do with the answers to these questions when they get them. Kind of like how a dog probably wouldn’t know what to do with the car he chases if he ever caught it.

One article, written specifically to hiring managers to help them ask better questions, states these questions don’t make good use of the limited interview time, don’t reveal anything of value, and don’t impress the candidate. (Remember, they’re supposed to impress you too. Interviewing is a two-way street!)

Yet, interviewers continue to ask these questions. Maybe because it’s just how they’ve always done things. Therefore you still have to be prepared for them. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t give better answers than the average candidate.

And you should also be prepared for new alternatives to these questions. Just in case one of these interviewers happens to get a wild hair and try something new or different.

How not to sound like every other candidate

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

When answering overused interview questions, always avoid using canned answers.

For instance, when answering, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”, don’t say, “I’d like to be working for your company, in a stable senior position, I’ve reached through steady progression.”

Instead, you can respond using your own personal vision and mission statements as the basis for your answer. You don’t have a personal vision or mission statement? You must’ve missed all my other posts about the importance of having a personal vision and mission statement.

These statements reflect the things most important to you, the values you possess, and the talents you have to offer. Therefore they’re unique to you. No one else will have a vision or mission exactly like yours.

And because they’re based on your long-term values, your vision and mission remain rather consistent. They evolve over time instead of changing on a regular basis. Therefore, at least you know whatever you’re doing in five years, it will be in support of your vision and mission.

To learn more about how to develop a vision and mission that are authentic to your values and talents, check out my book: Personal Branding: Why You Need to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic.

“What’s your greatest weakness?”

Another pointless interview question is, “What’s your greatest weakness?” No one likes this question! But it’s likely you’ll still get it in your next interview. Again, don’t use canned answers when responding.

For instance, don’t say:

  • “I’m too much of a perfectionist.”
  • “I work too hard.”
  • “I’m a bit too passionate when it comes to my work.”

Instead, respond using the tips I shared in my post, “How to Answer ‘What Is Your Greatest Weakness?’“. These tips include:

  • Understanding why this question is being asked.
  • Listening to how the question is asked.
  • Not negating your strengths.
  • Never answering with a trait.
  • And knowing how to follow up with a positive.

Click here for more details.

“If you were an animal, what animal would you be?”

Personally, I love this question. I think it’s one of the easiest questions to help you communicate your skills and strengths.

To answer it well, just think of one of your best skills and what animal represents that skill. For example,

  • Strong leader = a lion.
  • Clear communicator = a dolphin.
  • Adaptable to different settings = a chameleon.
  • Wise decision-maker = an owl.
  • Good at conflict resolution = a dove.

You get the picture. Just don’t forget to include why you chose a certain animal! Then follow it up with one specific and interesting example of how you’ve demonstrated this particular skill in the past.

Alternative interview questions to be prepared for

Some interviewers have caught on to the pointlessness of these types of interview questions. Therefore they’ve come up with alternative ways to ask the same question in order to solicit a more honest response. As a result, you should be prepared for questions like:

  • “What annoys you?” (I personally know a recruiter who asks this in place of the “greatest weakness” question.)
  • “If I asked your references what your biggest weakness is, what would they likely say?” (This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to ask your references this question, but you can never be sure.)
  • “How can you make an impact on this company in the first 12 months of the job?”
  • “Tell me what you’ve accomplished in the last five years.” (This is a better question because past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior.)
  • “What would your boss, co-workers, and staff all agree about you?”

If you need help determining how to best answer these questions, consider some of paNASH’s one-on-one career coaching services.

Conclusion

Old habits die hard. This includes interviewers’ habit of asking pointless interview questions. So make sure you’re prepared for the predictable. And be open to and refreshed by the occasional unexpected questions. Remember, the kind of questions an interviewer asks says a lot about a company.

Related sources