There is a range of different reasons why professionals might take up a career break. It could be to take care of an ailing family member, personal health issues, taking a break from work for mental health, relocation to a new city, taking care of infants and young kids, and many others. Whatever the reason be, getting back into the workforce is a daunting experience. Especially if you are getting into the professional world after a break of multiple years, the technologies and the processes would have evolved and that diminishes your chances to be employed at par with your last position and salary.
In this article, we will help you understand how to write a perfect cover letter or CV after a career break. Let’s get started with the structure of the cover letter or CV.
- Opening statement/ paragraph
- Why are you suitable for the job?
- Explain the gap
- How can you contribute to the organisation?
- Reiterate/Summarise your interest in the role
- Closing statement/ paragraph
Play it safe when you are writing the opening statement for your cover letter. Start with a brief explanation of the position you are applying for and how did you find your vacancy. Keep it relevant and to the point and make sure it is short and not a prolonged paragraph.
Below is an example of an opening statement:
“I wish to apply for the role of data science executive featured on iimjobs.com. I have enclosed a CV for your consideration.”
Why are you suitable for the job?
At this stage do not consider anything about your career gap. Here, you mention all your skills and list down all the achievements that you have had in your previous stints. List out your academic and vocational qualifications, relevant certifications, that will help you showcase your suitability for the role. This section will essentially prove that despite your career break, you still possess the skills, qualities, and mindset to pursue the role.
Pro Tip: Always try to quantify your achievements with the results that you achieved. For example, a 30% increase in revenue.
Explain The Gap
In the third paragraph, take the opportunity to explain your career gap as briefly as possible. But in your quest to make it short and crisp do not limit your explanation and ensure it is thorough. Also, define why is it the right role for you to return to the workforce. When it comes to career gaps, recruiters fear that candidates would not be ready to return to work. Alleviate such fears for the recruiters in this section and explain your worth.
“In March 2016, I gave birth to my daughter and took some time off work to give her all the care she needed. Now, she has started to go to school full-time and I am ready to restart my career and determined to take up new professional challenges.”
How can you contribute to the organisation?
Once the career gap is addressed and explained, you need to tell the recruiter how you will be a valuable addition to their organisation. You can do this by listing out all that you have done to improve your skills and broaden your knowledge base. This will include certifications, specialised courses, volunteer work, relevant projects you have worked on, letter of recommendation (if you have any).
You can easily overcome your career gap by reinforcing your credentials and present yourself boldly with confidence and facts.
“During my career break, I kept a track of how data science is improving and growing as a professional field and signed up for a data science certification course with great learning. I am now a certified data science practitioner and have proved my skills in the capstone project I did as a part of my curriculum. I have attached a brief about my project on “credit card fraud detection” with this cover letter.”
Here you would summarise your interest in the role and organisation and how you would be the right fit.
I am confident that I can bring the required level of expertise to the role and help the organisation in building well-functioning data science models and solutions. I am available to start immediately and see myself grow along with the organisation for the long term.
Thank the employer for their time and consideration while closing the letter an sign off with an appropriate salutation such as “Yours sincerely”, or “Yours faithfully”.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to meeting with you for an interview and take my application further.
Always remember that taking time off your career to take care of a personal commitment is nothing to be ashamed of. Life happens and it is not a reflection of your work. As times are changing, many employers are becoming increasingly considerate and understanding when it comes to gaps in employment history.
Therefore, never be tempted to hide your career gap as you will risk your entire application if the recruiter comes to know otherwise. Focus on the positives and assure the employer that you are ready to return to work and possess all the required knowledge and skills for the role under consideration.0