If you took some time away from the workforce to raise your children, it can seem intimidating to put yourself back in the job market again. The perfect cover letter provides an explanation for the gap in your career due to your maternity leave and showcases your unique qualifications.
1. Choose an Overall Theme
Before writing your cover letter, decide what theme you want to highlight. Ideally, you should align with the job description and create a coherent narrative that continues throughout your letter and resume.
2. Research the Company's Values and Culture
The perfect cover letter will always have a professional tone, but you should make small modifications based on the company itself. For example, if the company advertises a healthy work-life balance, you can indicate your enthusiasm to work with an organization that values family time.
3. Focus on the First Sentence
Your opening sentence should immediately engage the reader. Create a strong, dynamic sentence that indicates your enthusiasm for the position and highlights why you are the ideal candidate.
4. Create a Personal Connection
It's important to have a personal connection with your reader. Do some online research so you can address the recruiter by name and write your letter to him or her rather than addressing a faceless organization.
5. Highlight Your Value in a Specific Area
You should tailor your experience and skills to match the job requirements as closely as possible. Choose a particular part of the job description you feel most confident about and summarize your experience with that specific area.
6. Be Honest About Your Time Away
Your maternity leave most likely creates a time gap in your work history. It's important to address this in the cover letter so the recruiter doesn't assume other reasons.
7. Use Your Maternity Leave to Your Advantage
Strong writing not only explains your family-related absence from the workforce but actually turns it into an advantage. Talk about how raising your family improved certain marketable skills or how you used your time away to further your education.
8. Be Enthusiastic Without Sounding Desperate
It's important to highlight your excitement about returning to the workforce, but make sure you don't appear desperate for a job.
9. Keep it Short and Professional
Your cover letter should be no longer than two or three short paragraphs. Keep your writing to the point and use specific words without adding a lot adverbs.
10. Close Strongly
Use the closing of your letter to thank the recruiter for considering you and reiterate your passion for the industry or position.
Take it a Step Further
If you have a little extra time and want to refine your cover letter to make it even better, there are a few more things you can do. Read it over as objectively as you can and ask yourself how you would respond to such a letter. Would you be inclined to read this person's resume or schedule an interview? If you have a friend who could read your letter and provide helpful, honest feedback that would be even better. The perfect cover letter draws the reader in and creates interest in your background and qualifications, and using a storytelling tone can help create that engaging feel. Choose one accomplishment that particularly relates to the job description and talk about it in a concise story form. You'll showcase your professional success in an interesting and memorable way.