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I do software test automation/QA and I don't have a CS degree. But, I do have some working knowledge of data structures and algorithms which has been enough for me to do my job thus far.

I left my job about 6 months ago to get a break and look for new opportunities. I took a vacation for about one month and started preparing for interviews after vacation. A large part of my preparation consists of mostly practicing for coding interviews (only started a month ago), taking courses and sometimes building small projects (but nothing spectacular), and also revising concepts related to work. A few months into my preparation, the corona virus pandemic happened. After the pandemic, it appears that there are fewer opportunities for my role.

I have applied to many companies in the past few months. But, I hardly get any interviews or I don't make it to final rounds. In some (not all) interviews my weak point is the data structures & algorithms coding interview. I am working on getting better at that and it takes up most of my time. But, the gap in employment has come up in a few interviews. For all I know, some of my job applications might be rejected mainly because of the gap.

I wonder if I would have been at least considered for more jobs if I did not have a big gap. How do I explain this gap to employers and improve my chances of at least getting interviews ?

  • When the gap has come up in interviews, what explanation have you been giving for it? – sf02 Jun 9 at 19:37
  • @sf02 - Same as that in the question. I tell them that I took a vacation and started preparing for interviews around the time the pandemic started. I wonder if I should make up a reason which moves the focus away from me. In the end, I think that optics matter a lot. I know that many recruiters just need some way to filter people, no matter how unscientific or silly the filter might be. – Tom Joe Jun 9 at 19:56
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    @TomJoe how long did you work in the prior job before you took a break? As the red flag could be that you needed to quit to have a break. – Matthew Gaiser Jun 9 at 20:17
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    Not sure where in the world you are, but the job market is currently depressed right now in many places - meaning more competition for each opening. Just keep plugging and don't let rejections get you down – HorusKol Jun 9 at 21:43
  • @MatthewGaiser - More than 3 years. – Tom Joe Jun 9 at 23:40
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I wonder if I would have been at least considered for more jobs if I did not have a big gap. How do I explain this gap to employers and improve my chances of at least getting interviews ?

Every employer in the world knows about the COVID-19 virus, and what it has done to work situations.

Just explain what happened, including why you chose to take time off to "get a break" and how the virus then disrupted your re-entry into the working world.

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I wonder if I would have been at least considered for more jobs if I did not have a big gap. How do I explain this gap to employers and improve my chances of at least getting interviews ?

Just be honest about what has happened.

Granted that this is not a perfect thing to have on your resume, and it doesn't seem to be your only issue while job hunting, but attempts to bend the truth will, sooner or later, come back to bite you.

What will help you is time, as there must be a lot of people with similar stories to yours where COVID has caused them to fall into an unemployment gap, so any stigma that may be attached to it should be less as the time progresses.

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