How to Word Cover Letter Following Layoff


Lorraine writes:
I have a query. My husband was retrenched almost 8 months ago now and
I want to send his CV to as many printing
companies that I can find in South Africa. I also want to send a covering
letter attached with his CV explaining that he was retrenched 8 months ago and
would like to know if any of these companies have any vacancies. Please help
me with the wording of this letter as I am at a loss?
Your help would be greatly appreciated.



The Career Doctor responds:
Certainly one of the key components of a job search should still be cold contact
where the job-seeker sends his or her cover letter and resume (or CV) to companies
that might have job openings. The critical factor with this strategy is getting the
name and title of the hiring manager for your area of expertise and then writing
a powerful cover letter. Why does cold contact work? It works because of the
large hidden job market; the vast majority of job openings never get advertised
or posted so cold contact is a way of applying for positions that may in fact be
open.
I assume that while you are writing the letters that they will actually be signed
by your husband. The cover letter is critical — its function is to spark enough
interest so that the employer then looks at your resume (or CV). Think of the
cover letter as a sales pitch letter where the item you are selling is yourself –
your mix of skills accomplishments and education. You NEVER want to include
anything negative in your cover letter. And while many folks are being retrenched
or rightsized or re-engineered out of jobs it’s still a negative. Employers want to
see job-seekers who are (or appear) gainfully employed. So please say nothing
about the retrenchment in your cover letter; saying anything will only harm your
husband’s chances. Read more about writing cover letters in the Quintessential
Careers Cover Letter Tutorial.
Finally please remember that your efforts are not complete once you submit the
cover letters and CVs to the printing companies. The last paragraph of your cover
letter should request action — an interview — and after a reasonable amount of time
(1-2 weeks) you MUST follow-up and contact each company — each hiring
manager — and ask for the interview. If you don’t follow-up you are wasting your
time even sending the cover letters and CVs.
A note to all job-seekers: Please don’t wait eight months after being downsized to
start job-hunting. Take some time to reflect and consider whether it’s time to change
careers — but even if you get a big severance package you should get right back out
there on the job market. The longer you wait to start job-searching the harder it will
be for you.