How to Address a Layoff on a Resume & Cover Letter

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The conventional wisdom says that you shouldn’t talk about a layoff in a cover letter or resume. You should wait until the interview. What if you feel the need? Are you concerned about the possibility that hiring managers might not be able to answer your questions regarding your last departure? This could impact your chances of being interviewed.

You’ll need to think about how to write a cover letter and resume that sells you, as well as how to create documents that address your layoff. These are some ideas on how to approach this topic effectively.

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How to address your layoff

It’s easy to think that being laid off is not something worth mentioning on your resume or cover letter. Even though you may feel that you lost your job, it was not your fault. The fact you were laid off from the last job should not matter.

A professionally written cover letter can help you get your resume to the top of the “must-call” pile. Imagine a hiring manager having multiple qualified candidates for a job. Employers will reduce the number of qualified candidates and may eliminate resumes that have a question mark. It helps employers understand your situation better and keeps you in contention.

Your employment history will eventually become void if your resume is not updated to reflect your new job situation. There are numerous ways to fill that void. However, the hiring manager should not jump to conclusions without first consulting with you.

To answer any questions that the hiring manager may have, it’s better to fill out the blanks with the correct information in your letter.Being open about your layoff will ensure that you don’t allow anyone to jump to an incorrect conclusion. Your resume can be improved by answering the question before it is asked.

How to Mention a Layoff on a Resume


I don’t usually address such things in full sentences on my resume. However, because we’re all moving to a new territory because of the pandemic, we will have to adjust our standards.

However, a resume is not the right place to discuss a layoff. This takes up valuable space for listing accomplishments and skills.

Be Positive

Even if your last position was only for a brief time because of a COVID job loss, you should still highlight your accomplishments prior to the layoff. The hiring manager should know that you did a lot and made a difference, even though the position was only for a brief time. Highlight your achievements using metrics (numbers speak volumes). Keep everything positive.

How to Address a Layoff

The cover letters are the best place to explain layoffs and short-term positions. You can also use this space to briefly explain the reasons for your departure.

Some job seekers may not mention that they were laid off until the interview. Two important things to remember when it comes to COVID-related layoffs

#1 Many competent employees have been fired due to COVID. You can now prove in just a few sentences that the layoff was not due to your performance, but to the company’s health.

#2 Any who has started a new job in 2020 but was then laid off will have a brief job description. It’s simple and easy to explain this in the cover letter.

What can I do to address the layoff?

You need to be able to address your layoff with a cover letter. These are five tips to help you write a cover letter for someone who has been laid off.

1. Don’t Waste a Word

Your cover letter should not be a summary of your entire life, work history, and skills. This is what your resume and interview are for. Your cover letter should contain a summary of your interest in the job and why the employer should consider you.

The key word is “brief”. Cover letters should not exceed one page. Start editing your resume if it is longer than one page. See what you can reduce or eliminate. Your cover letter is limited in space so you might think your layoff could be one of the things that should go.

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Experts recommend that job seekers never waste words in their cover letters. Consider your cover letter as a chance to communicate positively how qualified you are for the job and why it is a good match with the employer.

You must address the reason for your layoff so that potential employers aren’t made assumptions about you. You don’t need to explain the reasons behind your layoff in detail. A maximum of two sentences will suffice.

2. Do not Blame.

It’s possible to still be upset by the layoff. While it is normal to feel upset about losing your job, you shouldn’t share your feelings in your cover letters. Layoffs are part of corporate life. Most hiring managers understand that job loss due to layoffs were beyond their control, especially in times of pandemic.

Although hiring managers might understand your situation and may even sympathize with you, they won’t appreciate your badmouthing of your former employer. If you are still angry about the layoff, how will you react if there is a problem with the job?

You only need to make a neutral statement about the layoff. Some examples could be:

  • The corporate restructuring resulted in my job being eliminated.
  • My position was eliminated and the company was bought.
  • The company had to reduce costs due to the pandemic, and this included layoffs.

3. Talk about the positives

Use a positive, upbeat approach to sell your skills and qualifications to potential employers in cover letters. Experts say that a cover letter allows you to give your details. Use the cover letter to your advantage to explain how your past achievements and current efforts can be of assistance to them.

After a brief explanation of the layoff, you will discuss your efforts to keep your professional skills up.

You can also explain how your professional experience will help them. This is another way to frame your layoff positively. Mention your strengths, your past employer’s experience, and how they will benefit you. Whenever possible, back up your claim with data.

Experts explain. “A cover letter is your chance to set the tone for your situation and determine the view the hiring manager will adopt.”

4. Do not excuse yourself or apologize

Layoffs happen. These layoffs are not to be ashamed of. Explanations, excuses, and over-explanation will not reflect the best of you. This might make hiring managers think that the situation is worse than it actually was and that you are trying to cover something. Do not draw attention to the situation more than necessary.

5. Let go of the guilt

It’s tempting to write a cover letter explaining how unfairly you were laid off and why you need to find a job to support your family and pay your mortgage. But don’t! Guilt tactics won’t work no matter how nice the hiring manager is. Your cover letter should be focused on what you can do to help the employer and not what you need or want the employer to do for you.


Your cover letter is your first step toward your next job. Although it is important to mention the past (e.g., your layoff) in your cover letter, don’t dwell too much on it. Instead, talk about your future and how you can help your potential employer in the cover letter.

If you need help upgrading your resume, you can talk to one of our experts to craft an application-ready resume that will make sure you stand out from the rest.

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