Making the decision to return to work after a long period of absence can be tricky. With a gap in your CV and the possibility that you’ve missed out on the latest trends in your industry, you'll need to convince an employer that now is the time for you to return to working life.
Getting your cover letter right is the first step to securing your return, so make it stand out from the crowd with these simple tips.
Why do you want to return to work?
It's important to explain why you were absent from work, so it doesn't look like a suspicious gap on your CV.
Perhaps you took some time off to bring up a family, went travelling or pursued a personal project. Whatever it is, go into brief detail about what you've been up to, but be clear and emphatic about why now is the right time to make the return. It's important to convince an employer that you're committed to a long-term position, so be enthusiastic about making a return.
Did you learn any transferable skills during your time out?
The chances are that no matter what you were doing on your career break, you will have picked up valuable skills along the way that can be applied to a new job.
For instance if you raised a family, you could talk about aspects of forward planning and budgeting that have been important to you. If you went travelling, perhaps you learned to communicate and work together with new people, or learned lots about different cultures. If you worked on a personal project, it's likely you'll have learned valuable lessons in motivation and planning your time.
Talk about your achievements before the break
Highlight the work you did before you took the career break, making sure that where possible you describe quantifiable achievements and improvements you made while in the role.
If you're applying for a job in the same, or similar, industry, it's good to mention why you're enthusiastic about that sector and why you want to return to it.
However, if you've decided to try your hand at something else, avoid negativity and describe how you're ready for a new challenge.
What are your ambitions now you're back?
You've had some time out, but you're now keen to get back into the working world – now's the time to say what you want to achieve in this role, and further down the line. Showing commitment to a long-term career indicates you're unlikely to take a lot of time off again in the future, making you a more desirable candidate. Show plenty of ambition, but try not to go over the top.
Highlight immediate ability to start
One likely advantage you'll have other others with notice periods is your immediate availability to start in the role. Make sure you point this out in your cover letter, as well as any flexibility you can show to work unusual hours, such as weekends.
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