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After graduating I worked in my home country for one year to gain experience. Then I wanted to improve my English, so I went to Ireland for a 6 month internship. I didn't enjoy it there, so I didn't accept a long-term contract with that company. I found another position, full time, in Amsterdam. After 8 months, my father passed away and I wanted to be closer to my mom, so I left that job and came back to my native country. I started to work with a local agency that sends students abroad, just to keep my mind trained and my CV (resume) updated. It has been one year and I would like to continue my career abroad again, because there are very few opportunities in my native country.

My CV was rejected by several perspective employers. I asked for feedback almost every time, but only received two answers. They said almost the same thing - "We want someone that can stay with us." I translate that as: I changed jobs several times too quickly (also because now I would be leaving my current job to go somewhere else).

I think it's really important to state on the cover letter the reason of my last change. If I hadn't had that tragedy I would still be there working in Amsterdam. But I don't know if you can present some "personal issues" that influenced your career in your cover letter. I don't want to look desperate or like I'm trying to use a tragedy to influence the recruiter. Would it be proper to say in the cover letter something like "Unfortunately for a personal reason I had to leave my last job etc..."?

Is it appropriate to write such information in a cover letter? If so, how is such information normally presented.

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I think it's really important to state on the cover letter the reason of my last change. If I hadn't had that tragedy I would still be there working in Amsterdam. But I don't know if you can present some "personal issues" that influenced your career in your cover letter. I don't want to look desperate or like I'm trying to use a tragedy to influence the recruiter. Would it be proper to say in the cover letter something like "Unfortunately for a personal reason I had to leave my last job etc..."?

First of all, I'm so sorry for your loss. While career is important, family is far more important.

Looking at your situation from a prospective employer's view, it's not hard to see how they could be wary.

Your employment history is 1 year, 6 months, 8 months, and 1 year (with the local agency). Unfortunately, you have no history of staying at a job for any significant period of time. The bad news is that it might take some time to overcome this history. The good news is that it only takes one good job (where you stay for a long time) to do so.

I don't seen any value in bringing up "personal issues" in a cover letter. I don't think that would reassure any prospective employers, and it might bring up concerns about what the "personal issue" was, and if it still lingers.

I think your best course would be to indicate in your cover letter that you are seeking a company where you can build a long-term career. That signals to employers that your short-term stays are over.

During interviews, you will almost certainly be asked why you left jobs so early. This will be your opportunity to explain. Make sure you think your responses through. You don't want to come across as flighty, and you do want to project an attitude of "those were unfortunate and I really want this time to be different".

Even though you are ready to resume your career, make sure you are careful selecting your next job. You don't want to rush into something that will not last - that would just confirm the prior pattern.

4

I am an American of Vietnamese ancestry and I was crazy about my late mom - she was none too crazy about me, though :) so I can easily relate to the fact that you had to drop whatever you are doing to take care of your mom. I suggest that you explicitly state in your cover letter the reason why you had to interrupt your tenure at your last job. Nobody in their right mind should hold it against you that you had to be with your mom in her hour of need.

It is obvious that if you don't explicitly put your action into context for the benefit of your prospective employers, they are filling in the blanks with just about the worst interpretation for your action, and you definitely want to preempt this. It's an issue that you can very easily take care of, so take care of it.

Side note: in your cover letter, make sure to mention the good that you are looking forward to doing for a prospective employer and make sure that the good that you want to do for your prospective employer is compelling to them. Cover letters, like interviews, are about the future. They are about the past and the present only in the sense that they indicate that you have the willpower, the skills and the experience to make the future happen.

Good luck to you.

  • thanks. How could I state on my cover letter then? It sounds really personal to me, I am bit in trouble in how to explain it. Thanks. – Georg088 Jan 24 '15 at 20:47
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    You write this ONLY in the cover letter - your resume is only about your education, skills set and work experience. The way I write my cover letter is usually three sections: 1. About me: "..."; 2. About my technology stack: "..."; 3. About what I can and want to do for you: "..." Include ONE sentence about why you resigned your last position in the "About me" section. You are not angling for attention, you are putting what you did into context and clearing the air so that your prospective employers are not automatically thinking the worst of you, as they are doing right now. – Vietnhi Phuvan Jan 24 '15 at 21:23
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    On a side note, if you think the worst of your own motivation, how are you going to convince anyone that your motivation is clean? You need to learn to like yourself and trust yourself so that others can like you and trust you. – Vietnhi Phuvan Jan 24 '15 at 21:28
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    @Georg088 as a thought, the phrasing that Vietnhi uses is slightly more elegant than how you phrase it. Instead of "i had to interrupt my job at xx because a person passed away", use something more like "Sadly, after 8 months at xx, my father passed away. I resigned from xx on a/b/c to return home and take care of my grieving mother." – bharal Jan 24 '15 at 22:54
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    @Georg088 because the way you put it in the comments - that you "resigned because a person passed away" - does not convey much. It leaves open the question "who was the person?" - your boss? Your husband? -and also "why did you leave?" Adding the context makes it clear. I think Vietnhi is quite right. – bharal Jan 24 '15 at 22:57
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Simply put, the purpose of writing a cover letter is a short introduction of yourself and what you can do to improve the Company that you want to apply by presenting your desired position and interview availability.

If you present your abilities first to your prospective employer, then they will tackle your issues such as personal reasons, and will possibly exhaust ways in order to have you stay with them if you are qualified, though in the end it will be your final say.

Hope this helps.

  • But the specific feedback is about being a job hopper and not a lack of ability assuming we don't consider being able to work abroad for a least a year an ability? – user8365 Aug 5 '15 at 14:57

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