"Dear Coach: My job recently was eliminated. What is the best way to address a layoff in a cover letter?"

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Dear Coach:


My job recently was eliminated. What is the best way to address a layoff in a cover letter?


Carol Kleiman:


Do not mention it in a cover letter. Just briefly state your skills and why you will be an asset to the firm. Questions about why you left your last job will come up in the job interview, and you can explain it then.

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Dear Coach:


I’ve been in my job for 15 years and have received only cost-of-living raises. I’ve asked the office manager for a merit raise, but she says she hasn’t been able to meet with the managing partner.

Since nothing is happening, would it be OK for me to talk to the partner myself? I know I can present a good case for myself.


CK:

If your manager is the one stonewalling you, it doesn’t bode well for your prospects of getting a raise.

But I think you’re right in wanting to speak up for yourself. It’s obvious no one else is going to do it for you.

Asking for a raise you feel you deserve has nothing to do with threatening anyone. Ask for a meeting and talk calmly about your merits.

But gently tell your manager that’s what you plan to do.


Dear Coach:


If I get a part-time job, will I get the same hourly rate as full-timers in the same position?


CK:


Very few companies pay part-timers at the same rate as full-time workers, though I think they should.


Dear Coach:


Two years ago, I was laid off from my job as a production supervisor. I couldn’t find work in my field, so I took one with a security firm.

In a short time I was promoted to a management job, with a staff of four. I miss manufacturing and want to get back into it.

How do I explain my one year “off”? Do I leave it off my résumé?

I try to put a positive spin on a bad situation in my career, but don’t know how to handle it in my job application.


CK:

Leave it off. Only include the previous jobs that pertain to the one you’re looking for.

E-mail questions to Carol Kleiman at ckleiman@tribune.com. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.