Looking for a job is never easy, but that process figures to be especially challenging in 2021.
With many businesses still hesitant to hire due to uncertainties about the pandemic, job opportunities can be hard to come by. And older workers — many of whom have not applied for or interviewed for a new job in more than five years — may now have to handle newer twists such as video interviews.
"Undeniably, COVID-19 has thrown a wrench into the hiring process for both job seekers and recruiters alike,” said Amanda Augustine, a career expert at TopResume. TopResume has partnered with AARP to provide Resume Advisor, a service that offers free résumé critiques and other job-search services. TopResume recently surveyed 334 recruiters, human resources professionals and hiring managers to learn more about how the pandemic has affected the hiring process.
"Our findings reveal that job seekers may be taking themselves out of the running even before — or right after — the virtual interview because they're ignoring the key factors to which recruiters are suddenly paying attention,” Augustine said.
Here are five ways applying and interviewing for jobs could change in 2021, based on the survey results:
1. Employment gaps aren't a problem.
Many older workers have gaps on their résumés, whether it's because they lost a job, took time off for caregiving, experienced a health issue or another reason. But with so many workers having lost their jobs last year due to the pandemic, recruiters are now less concerned about employment gaps, regardless of when the time off may have occurred. According to the survey, 87 percent of recruiters said wouldn't be worried by an applicant's inconsistent work history, which means 13 percent said they might view unemployment or a lengthy employment gap as a concern.
If you have a gap in your résumé, job search experts say that rather than trying to hide it, you should briefly say what happened and explain how you used that time to build skills that will help in the job you're applying for. Read this article for tips on how to handle such gaps.