I am a 46 year-old mother of three boys- 21, 15, & 12, and I have been a stay-at-home mom for 11 years. Due to finances, I now need to return to work.
I have had varied experience prior to leaving my last job: Medical Technologist in a hospital, Criminal Specialist for the Medical Examiner, Environmental Compliance Investigator for the State of Texas.
Since leaving, I have been active as a volunteer in my children's schools and community. I have chaired two 8th-grade graduation dances for over 300 kids, both times arranging fundraising, decorations, food, games, prizes, music, etc. I have also been on the Board of my oldest son's Project Graduation for 660 students, which is a lock-in party that keeps them safe so they don't go out and party after graduation. This also involved the same skills listed above. Finally, last year I was in charge of chairing the Mardi Gras Ball for a Mardi Gras Krewe with over 300 people attending;
How can I write a good cover letter that won't just get tossed in the trash because I have been out of work for so long?
Thank you for your help!
by Garla Smith co-owner of Smart Moms, Your Part-Time Employment Experts
Dear Mom of Three Boys,
You have been very busy since you have been a stay-at home mom. First, let me commend you on your volunteer work. I believe this is the number one way to ensure that you get back in the workforce quickly, when you are ready. The skills you have acquired are valuable to any employer in the workplace. The top ones should be problem solving, great communication, close attention to detail and the ability to manage multiple projects or tasks.
Career Change or Stick With What You Done in the Past?
Before I discuss your cover letter, it is important to determine which jobs you will be targeting with your cover letter and resume. Are you interested in changing careers or going back into the Medical and Criminal fields? Are the industry standards and practices changing frequently? Are these fields much like IT, which is always evolving? If this is the case, continuing education is your ticket. There are websites that are rich in information about which certifications are needed depending on your re-entry path.
If you are considering changing careers, I think something related to event planning is right up your alley. Meeting planners, convention coordinators and trade show planners are a direct relation to your recent experience. Many of these careers require specific certifications such as CMP (Certified Meeting Planner) and CMM (Certificate in Meeting Management) to be successful. Another option would be to consider launching your career within the Medical Meeting Planning arena. There are many meetings/conferences taking place each year that revolve around the medical industry. These events do require planners that are somewhat familiar with the industry.
As you know, the Internet is full of options. Take some time and browse Monster and Career Builder; perform specific searches for your key words and see what comes up. If you find a job title and description of a desirable job, perform another search on that title to learn about that job and see what’s available in your area.
Writing The Cover Letter
The main points in each cover letter should answer the following questions:
1. Why read me? (1st paragraph) Your best bet is to cite a special industry you have experience in or functional expertise that is applicable to the job.
2. What have you done lately? (2nd paragraph) Describe 2 -3 relevant accomplishments based on your knowledge of the company or research about that company. What would they find valuable? Don’t forget to tie in those skills we identified earlier or others.
3. What Comes Next? (3rd paragraph) When will you call to follow up or request an interview or meeting?
Other Cover Letter Tips
It is not necessary to mention that you have been home for the last 11 years in your cover letter. It may be a turn off. Instead capitalize on the volunteer experience you have so diligently committed yourself to. You goal is to get them to read on to your resume.
Leave off salary information and personal data.
For each job you apply to, tweak the cover letter to address the job. A targeted letter goes a lot further than a very generic one.
To find free examples of cover letter templates visit Resume Cover Letters.
I hope this information helps. If not, please email me directly.
Garla Smith is co-owner of Smart Moms. Her expertise lies in matching flexible, part-time jobs with qualified professional candidates.