short term jobs

Explaining Short-Term Jobs in Your Cover Letter and Resume

With the economy still recovering from a tough year, many people may have been laid off once or even twice within a relatively short period of time.

While this was once viewed as taboo, employers have become more sensitive to this type of circumstance.

But even if employers are understanding, it’s a good idea to acknowledge multiple short-term jobs carefully. So to help you better explain your circumstances in both your cover letter and resume, here are a few tips to consider:

Tell the Truth in Your Cover Letter

Instead of feeling down about an obviously unfortunate situation, this is a good time to turn your attitude around and create a great cover letter at the same time. When writing your cover letter, you’ll want to avoid sounding bitter about the layoffs. Instead, you can focus on how these times have made you a stronger person and a more motivated employee.

You can explain how the difficult economic times resulted in your previous employers having to make some hard decisions – one of which resulted in you losing your job. Then you can use this opportunity to transition into how excited you are at the prospect of making a difference at their company – and staying with them for years to come. Your good attitude and fighter spirit will likely appeal to a prospective employer looking for a strong “go-getter.”

“Blame” the Company When Listing Them In Your Resume

Okay, now don’t get the wrong idea about “blaming” the company. It’s more like giving credit where credit is due. If you were a good employee at your company and they ran out of money, leaving them unable to keep 1/3 of their workers, there’s really nothing you could have done about that. So to avoid placing the blame of jumping ship after a few months in your lap, give the company the credit.

Probably the easiest way to explain this situation is to list them as a former employer as you normally would, then simply note that “the company underwent financial layoffs.” Or if they’re no longer in business, write “the company is no longer in business.” Pretty simple, right? This way, you don’t have to spend your time biting your nails in fear of how employers will view you in relation to your short-term stints.

A Few Additional Tips

If you’re submitting a resume to a prospective employer and don’t want to mention being laid off, you can create a section titled “Consulting and Short-Term Assignments,” or similar, to bring light to your layoff. Also, you can move from the chronological format to a functional one, which will allow you to focus more on your skills and less on dates of employment. The more effort you give to acquiring the job you want, rather than focusing on the jobs you lost, the easier it will be to explain your short-term jobs without bringing negativity into the equation.

There is no doubt that finding a job in a tough economy can be a daunting task – especially after having been laid off. But if you keep the right attitude and move diligently through the job search process, you’ll see that in no time you’ll be right back in the workforce with another great job under your belt.