The reason you give for leaving a previous job in a cover letter to a prospective employer can say a lot about you. Make sure any information you volunteer paints you in the most positive light possible. You needn’t mention why you left a past position when applying for a job unless you are specifically asked to do so; when asked, use your past departure as a way to sell yourself to a company’s selection panel.
Don’t mention the details of your departure from a job if you were fired. You should look to keep your cover letter as positive as possible throughout. You may have to discuss the reason you left a job if you’re called in for an interview. This gives you the opportunity to explain delicate situations in person and put your own spin on any problems you experienced with a past employer. Be completely honest if this issue arises at the interview. You could face disciplinary action or termination if your employer finds out you lied.
Include information about your reasons for leaving a past job only if it shows you in a good light. Stating that you left a job because you didn’t like a company’s culture or strategic vision could make you come across as a bit of a troublemaker. Writing that you were unhappy with your daily commute or the number of hours you had to work could also make you appear negative. Mentioning that you moved on to accept a more senior role at another firm or wanted to further your career by acquiring new skills and experiences are two examples of how to use job changes effectively in a cover letter.
State that you left a job to pursue further study if this is the case. Having taken time out of your career to earn a degree, take a vocational course or acquire a professional qualification could improve your chances of landing an interview, especially if the study you undertook relates to the position you seek.
Write that you took time out to raise a family if you left a job to stay at home with your children. Any large gaps in your resume should be explained. If your resume shows a five-year hiatus between jobs, a prospective employer will want to know what you were doing. A break of a couple of months doesn’t need to be explained, but anything more than this could raise eyebrows if not explained properly. If applicable, state in your cover letter if you took time out to go traveling. This can be viewed in a positive light by employers.