Tips to Addressing a Furlough on Your Resume or Cover Letter

Anytime I review a resume and find a snag in work history it is inevitably during the 2007-2009 timeframe.

The Great Recession is arguably responsible for millions of career transitions and job gaps worldwide. Like any crisis, people swiftly responded with fellowship and compassion for laid-off job searchers. 

Last week, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the unemployment rate rose to 14.7% due to the coronavirus outbreak surpassing the Great Depression’s 10% unemployment ratings.

With this shockingly new tough job market, here are some practical tips for handling a furlough on your resume and cover letter.

Keep details accurate and to a minimum

Avoid red flags and communicate clearly and concisely. Although it may be tempting to adjust dates or alter facts, resist the urge. Between interviewers and background checks, it can catch up with you.

For example, you could say:

  • Role was eliminated due to COVID outbreak
  • Laid-off due to coronavirus pandemic
  • Laid-off due to company closure

Articulate how you used your time-off constructively

Consider filling the gap on your resume with brand-relevant contracts and volunteer work or high-demand certifications, training, and courses. Challenge yourself with a big project or learn a new skill.

Here are some examples you could personalize and use:

  • Gained public trust and improved financial performance and reporting as interim CFO for an NGO
  • Grew social media followers, engagement, and retention of nonprofit as a volunteer consultant
  • Project Management Professional (PMP), Project Management International (PMI), In-process
  • Advanced coursework in digital marketing, business analytics, and statistical analysis
  • Pursing an immersive three-month online course in Mandarin Chinese

Highlight  your accomplishments and skills

Employers are looking for examples of your career achievements. Describe how you responded and led through the coronavirus crisis. Showcase your big wins so that employers feel comfortable taking a chance on you. 

Here are some examples you could personalize and use:  

  • Led efforts to grow portfolio during COVID-19 pandemic, achieving a 10% increase in revenue
  • Restructured business operations in response to coronavirus pandemic to ensure the health and safety of all staff and clients
  • Managed people process including work-from-home and back-to-work orders during the coronavirus pandemic
  • Implemented sales and marketing strategies driving a 13% increase in revenue despite the worldwide economic crisis
  • Consistently met or exceeded 100% of quoted throughout the CV-19 pandemic.
  • Reengineered business model to address challenges presented by the global COVID epidemic.
  • Maintained a balanced budget throughout the pandemic outbreak.

Writers thoughts

I know that you might feel like there just are not many jobs out there right now and that with all this uncertainty you are better off waiting.  I encourage you to start looking now! Companies near you need skilled talent. If you do not feel comfortable leaving your home yet, there are plenty of organizations that require virtual workers.

Stay focused on your craft and the relationships you are making during this unique time, and you’ll come out ahead in the end. 

Tips for an executive-level LinkedIn profile photo

Today’s successful professionals and executives understand the power of networking and the value LinkedIn plays in developing a strong contact database. Your LinkedIn picture is your first impression and often the deciding factor if a person is going to connect with you – or not. Posting a warm, engaging photo on your LinkedIn profile that clearly displays your face is essential to developing instant rapport and building your professional network.

 

DO I NEED A (NEW) PICTURE?

  • If your LinkedIn head-shot is older than 2-3 years than most likely, YES! If you have a new hair style, now wear glasses or people don’t recognize you when you met, it is time for a new LinkedIn profile picture.
  • But does it really matter? YES! Your profile’s view rate increases over 11x by posting a photo, according to Craig Smith, author of ‘By the Number: 100 Amazing LinkedIn Stats’. The professionalism of this piece of media is critical to a strong personal marketing portfolio.

LinkedIn, executive branding, resume, LinkedIn optimization

An optimized LinkedIn profile is critical to a powerful executive brand.

 

PROFESSIONAL HEAD-SHOT, FRIEND-PHOTOGRAPHER OR SELFIE

When uploading your photo, remember to fill the frame with your face, so they can see you and ‘connect’ with you.

 

  • Get a professional head-shot if at all possible. The simple act of hiring a trained photographer can help you dramatically increase your LinkedIn presence, garner network connections and job opportunities.
  • For the DIY crowd. Select a professional setting and have and a friend or family member take 50-100 pictures, then pick a great one from the group.
  • Can I (should I) post a selfie?  Ideally you should post a professional picture, but if you need to opt for a ‘selfie’ make sure you know your best side/angles, use good light, filter the picture and take several shots.
  • When posting your picture; be sure to crop the image so it fits LinkedIn parameters, then fill the frame with your face.

 

HOW SHOULD I PREPARE

  • Get a good night sleep. Treat yourself like a professional model and go to bed at a decent hour the night before the shoot.
  • Pay attention to personal grooming. Clothing should be spotless and wrinkle free. Hair should be neat and styled. Women, wear your ‘everyday’ makeup. Men, facial hair should be precisely trimmed.

 

WHAT SHOULD I WEAR

  • Dress appropriately for your industry. Suit and tie is perfect for the financial sector; business casual is ideal for tech firms. Think carefully about your position and industry when selecting your wardrobe.
  • Try a few different outfits; consider bringing a few wardrobe changes as you might prefer how you look in one color vs. another. 

 

LINKEDIN PICTURE TIPS

SMILE in your picture! A smile develops instant rapport and says I’m friendly and approachable. Connect with me!

 

  • We take great pictures when we are in a great mood. If you have having a bad day, postpone the photo shoot and reschedule.
  • Make sure your background is not distracting. Current trends are all white, light blue or light/dark grey.
  • Communicate with your photographer. Give the photographer three keywords you want the picture to convey (EX: professional, approachable, kind). Then they can work with you to capture this type of image.
  • Smile! A smile develops instant rapport and says I’m warm, friendly and approachable. Connect with me.

 

LINKEDIN PICTURE TRAPS

  • Posting grainy, pixelated or blurry pictures
  • Posting a poorly lit picture
  • Posting a picture with another person or animal
  • Placing glamour shots, wedding pictures, or party pictures
  • Wearing sunglasses
  • Overdone artistic pictures that take away from your image
  • Full body pictures taken at a distance where we can’t see your face

 

As Donna Serdula states in her March 2013 webcast with Donna Lere, “It is no longer B2B or B2C it is now P2P, person-to-person… you are no longer dealing with companies and businesses, but people”.

Connect instantly with an engaging picture. It is worth the investment!