If you want to make it to the next step of the hiring process, you need to write a compelling cover letter that convinces recruiters that you deserve additional consideration. One way to impress recruiters is to use your cover letter to address situations that might otherwise raise some red flags about your work history. Follow these tips to overcome sticky situations and improve your chances of landing a new job.
Applying for jobs in other cities or states is tricky, because recruiters might wonder why an out-of-town candidate would apply for such a job. If you plan to relocate, let the recruiter know by mentioning it in your cover letter. Tell the recruiter when you plan to move, and provide details about your availability during the hiring process. If you aren't moving right away, try asking the recruiter for a telephone interview.
If your previous employer let you go during a layoff, it is important to say so in your cover letter, especially if you only spent a few months working for the company. Write one or two sentences about the layoff, but don't say anything negative about your former employer or its employees. Letting the recruiter know about the layoff ahead of time helps ease concerns about your job history.
You shouldn't disclose medical information to a potential employer, but you can use your cover letter to address an employment gap caused by your need to receive medical treatment or recuperate from a lengthy illness. Tell the recruiter you were on medical leave, but be sure to mention that you have recovered and are eager to re-enter the workforce. If you took classes or earned a certification during your leave, list them in the cover letter. This shows that you are dedicated to growing your career and improving your job skills.
A long employment gap is a red flag for many recruiters, but you can use your cover letter to overcome potential objections. Make sure your cover letter answers the question of why you have not held a job in several months or years. Tell the recruiter about everything you have done to develop new skills or enhance your industry knowledge while you were looking for work. If you obtained a degree, completed a certification program or used your professional skills to volunteer for a nonprofit organization, make sure the recruiter knows about it.
If you are ready for a career change, you need to address it in your cover letter. Otherwise, the recruiter might wonder why someone with so much experience in one field is applying for a job in another field. Explain how your skills and knowledge would benefit the company and help you excel if you are hired for the position.
Many applicants worry about addressing employment gaps or other sticky situations with potential employers. Fortunately, your cover letter is the perfect place to explain these situations and show the recruiter you are dedicated to building a successful career.
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