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How do I approach employers after 4 years off work due to severe physical abuse?
Asked Oct 26, 2016, 01:17 PM
I was a successful business-woman in Edinburgh, Scotland but in 2012 my fiancé tried to kill me (the details are literally like a horror movie... being driven out to nowhere in the dark, rapid river sound when he tried to crush my head on the center console with his knees and whole body weight.). I lost my job as a Recruitment Consultant because I looked half dead and couldn't see my Candidates. I became homeless, vulnerable and sought government benefits to get by. During that time, another homeless person in the same hostel I had to live in beat me, whilst I was on the ground, breaking my left arm on which I've had multiple surgeries involving varying sizes of metal plates and screws and hip-grafts to insert at the break. The last assault was two years ago and, although I'm awaiting another surgery, it's time to move on.
So, here's the question: How on God's green Earth do I write a cover letter explaining I'm only capable of limited work, only part-time and am awaiting another surgery after such horrid abuse after 4 years out of work?
I used to help write peoples' CVs and cover letters but not like this. I can't find anything relevant on the internet about this - maybe it's too uncomfortable or maybe too unusual but please, if anyone has any good advice, I'd be so happy to hear from you.
Many, many thanks.
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Jobs & Parenting Expert
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Oct 26, 2016, 02:37 PM
Have you thought about places to work that will accept you part time and with physical limitations? In the US, public libraries would be a good possibility. Or morning hostess and coffee server at a restaurant.
Please post again. I'll be glad to help you more with this.
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Oct 26, 2016, 05:33 PM
The trick is to look only for part time work that you're capable of doing. Look for employers that only want to hire part time.
I'm very sorry for what you went through, and so glad you survived, but sadly, employers won't care about any of it. They're looking for a solid employee, someone they can rely on, someone that will be there long term and work hard.
I wouldn't mention your past unless they specifically ask, and if they do, I'd give them the short version. Instead of focusing on what you can't do, focus on what you can, and sell yourself on your assets and abilities, not your disabilities.
Truth told, in all of my years of work I've never written a cover letter. Most employers don't even bother to read it. Focus on your resume, highlight everything you're good at, and post reliable references. Forget the cover letter unless you're going for a high profile job in an office where a college education is needed. Having said that, those offices rarely hire part time and won't even look at you until you can work full time. You're mainly going to be looking for retail jobs, or receptionist jobs, places that are willing to hire part time.
You may also want to look for work at home. They're few and far between, but there are jobs out there that are legitimate.
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Oct 27, 2016, 02:25 PM
There really do have to be omissions and little lies on resumes sometimes, and this is a good example.
Your abuse becomes an accident. You have spent 4 years recovering from an accident, and it isn't even much of a lie. The accident is that you were engaged to the man who first beat you, and the second one is an accident of slipping through the cracks of social services, and being homeless. But say nothing past 'I was in an accident.'
ONLY mention any limitations of motion and endurance. Don't mention any future surgery. You can say all this in two sentences.
Substitute teaching? You don't even have to work every day. Just be willing to get a robocall at some really, really early hour in the morning. Such jobs are rarely advertised.
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