Unemployed? Work your Cover Letter

When you are unemployed, writing a cover letter can seem like a waste with the thinking that the employer will be too distracted by your employment gap.

Fear not! Your cover letter is to your rescue! If you are in a period of unemployment, bounce back with these tips and inspire the hiring manager to consider your skills.

Stay Optimistic

The point of the cover letter is to pique the interest of the hiring manager. Talking about unemployment can be a downer if you linger on why you are unemployed. Keep it positive and uplifting by focusing on how you can benefit the employer.

Fill the Void

If you have been sitting on the couch during your unemployment, it’s time to jump into productivity. Show the employer that you were productive during your unemployment. Freshen up or learn new skills, secure some freelance work, become active in a charitable or professional organization. Whether you are paid or not, being active during your unemployment requires some level of skill and will show initiative to stay productive.

Focus on Your Strengths

Pull focus off of your unemployment by outlining your strengths. Present them as your assets that could benefit the hiring manager and the company. Present facts from your most recent position. If you can show the benefit of your strengths, then the employment gap will be overshadowed.

Be Honest, But Not “Too Honest”

The unemployment rate is fairly low right now, but there are still many people who are unemployed. It’s not uncommon, so it doesn’t carry the stigma it once did. When it’s just a few months of unemployment, it might not be necessary to talk about it in your cover letter.

However if it is a longer period of time that you are unemployed, it’s good to be honest about it. Don’t make excuses or apologize. It happens and it’s time to get back into the game. Show the employer how this makes you a more attractive candidate. For instance, say something like,

“Returning to full-time employment after {reason for unemployment}, I am eager to contribute my {amount of years in career field} of experience to benefit your company.”

Sometimes you can even work unemployment to your advantage. Did you get inspired while unemployed? Did you do freelance work that helped you hone in on skills that a full-time job didn’t offer you? Or did you learn better time management if you went to school while being a stay-at-home parent? Don’t exaggerate your unemployment. Emphasize the benefit to you and how it will end up benefiting the hiring manager if they hire you.

Cover letters are very important to complement your resume and give reason for why the hiring manager should even consider you. Make sure it’s mistake-free, attention getting, and relevant to your experience. Check out more tips for your cover letter, resume, and references here.

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