by Torski Dobson-Arnold
Dear Career Coach,
I graduated from college in August 2009 and was fortunate enough to find work quickly. I worked for a land development company until January 2010, when I was laid off as the company began having some budgetary constraints. I just returned to job searching after a seven month hiatus for minor surgery.
So that I am honest and upfront, I explain in the first paragraph of my cover letter that I was laid off from my previous job. Also, it may look bad if they see on the resume that I worked only for six months for my last company and I don’t want them to think anything suspicious. I have been explaining this in the cover letter so companies do not think I was fired for poor performance. Is this approach effective in a job search?
Your cover letter and your resume comprise your marketing piece – your six to twelve second advertisement for companies that are hiring to see the best of what you have to offer. With that in mind, why would you begin that marketing effort delivering not-so-flattering news about yourself? Major corporations like Wal-Mart, CompUSA, the restaurant Denny’s and many others have all dealt with negative press before. But you’ll see that they never highlight this information in any of their TV, radio or print media. So why should you?
Your professional brand should include all of the things that make you special as an applicant and make you stand out against competing job seekers. Toot your horn, be original, and let your best assets shine through, not your weaknesses, and certainly not something gloomy about the fact that you were laid-off.
Yes, you should be truthful, but save that information – if asked – for a conversation in the interview perhaps, where you can immediately follow-up with what you learned from that experience, how it has made you an even more committed professional, or allowed you to grow. Accentuate positives and show growth from the negatives!
Wishing you nothing but success in all your career endeavors,
Torski Dobson-Arnold, Your Career Confidence Coach