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How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter After Getting Laid Off

Looking for a job after being laid off can be stressful, especially if you aren't sure how to address the layoff with potential employers. Learn how to write the perfect cover letter that highlights your qualifications and increases your odds of catching a recruiter's attention.

1. Don't Mention Your Termination

The perfect cover letter serves as an introduction between you and the hiring manager prior to a personal interview. As such, highlight your positive qualities to gain an interview where you can discuss the circumstances of the layoff if necessary.

2. Focus on Your Skills and Qualifications

The job description should indicate required skills and you should focus your cover letter on those qualifications. Showcase how your work history has prepared you to meet the requirements listed in the job description.

3. Don't Complain About Previous Employers

It's important to present yourself as a professional, and one of the quickest ways to undermine that perception is to complain about a previous employer.

4. Market Yourself

Look at your cover letter as a way to market yourself to the recruiter. You don't want to sound like a sales pitch, but you should present you and your qualifications in the most positive light.

5. Tailor Your Writing to the Company

Create a unique letter for every job you apply for and tailor your writing style to match the tone of each company's official website.

6. Be Enthusiastic About New Possibilities

It's a good idea to start off with a strong sentence indicating your enthusiasm for new challenges and excitement to work for the company itself.

7. Include Relevant Pursuits and Newly-Gained Skills

If you have been out of work for a while, you can use your cover letter to discuss how you have used the time off productively. If you've been honing your programming skills, attending professional conferences, or learning a new language, make sure to mention it in your cover letter.

8. Remain Professional and Positive

Ensure your writing tone remains professional and positive throughout the entire letter. Generally, attempts at humor and flattery don't come across well.

9. Explain How You Can Help the Company

While you are applying for the job for the benefits you'll receive, your cover letter should instead focus on the value you can bring the company.

10. Create a Strong Closing

End your letter with a strong closing paragraph that reiterates your interest in the position and the ways you can fill the requirements. Use a simple, professional closing such as "Sincerely," or "Regards," and sign your full name.

Take it a Step Further

Creating and revising the perfect cover letter can help you restart your career following a layoff. Once you've used the tips above to write your letter, you can fine-tune it further if desired by using a couple additional strategies. Proofread your letter to catch grammatical and spelling mistakes, and check that the overall letter is cohesive and positive. Make sure you don't fall into using cliches or outdated phrases such as "people person." It's also important to ensure your letter is as concise as possible, so use the proofreading time to determine if you should choose different words. Verify that your cover letter and resume work well together and both highlight the skills listed in the job description.

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