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Question:
I was recently laid off from my firm and am now starting on a search for a new position. I am concerned about the effect that being laid-off will have on my ability to obtain a new position. Should I address the fact that I was laid off in my cover letter? How should I deal with the issue during interviews?

How to address your layoff in cover letters and interviews

Answer:

Dealing with the fact that you were laid-off in a subsequent job search and/or interviews is always difficult. In many cases, it raises red flags to a potential employer because they inevitably question whether the lay-off was actually a performance-based firing. The one silver lining in today's current market-lots of people are in the same position. With the number of lay-offs currently taking place across the country, most prospective employers will understand (and believe) that your situation was the result of the current economic downturn.

With this in mind, the last thing you want to do is give a prospective employer any reason at all to doubt the circumstances surrounding your lay-off. Thus, it is best to be straight-forward about your situation and, you should address it in your cover letter. In most cases, it is not necessary to go into great detail or to provide a lot of background information. You only need to state that you are looking for a new position because you were laid off as a result of the economic downturn. If you have strong references from the firm that laid you off, make sure to mention this fact as well. Offering references at the outset is a good way to let prospective employers know that your previous firm did not have concerns with your performance.