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Stay-at-Home Mom Cover Letter—Tips & Tricks

A stay-at-home mother applying for a job on a laptop while her children are playing next to her

Overview

Want Something Done, Give It to the Stay-at-Home Mom—Cover Letter Writing Pros Have Nothing on You

 

The kids are starting school. You just discovered daycare. It seems like the right time to start bringing home the dough. Are you thinking about reentering the workforce? You already have what it takes to succeed—an ability to multitask non-stop (because who needs sleep at this point), proficiency in using an unapologetic “no,” and a pair of 3-inch heels (stacked somewhere in the back of your closet).

 

Do you really need a special stay-at-home mom cover letter?

Despite living in the 21st century, companies (some of them at least) are still not super family-friendly. You’re less likely to get a job after taking time off to raise your kids than people who got laid off.

 

What now? You have a long career gap to explain. Maybe your resume and cover letter are not clarifying it well enough? Writing a stay-at-home mom cover letter—which is a bit more specific version of a regular one—will do the trick.

 

What’s a Cover Letter for Returning to the Workforce?

 

A stay-at-home mother, surrounded by toys, writing a cover letter for returning to the workforce

Source: rawpixel.com

 

Returning to work after spending years caring for your children is not easy.

Around 60% of working mothers said that transitioning from home to office is a challenging process. Besides being judged unfairly in the workplace, first-time mothers also face a 30% decrease in their incomes, making their return to work all the more difficult.

 

While the exorbitant lack of childcare support is a valid reason for your employment gap (not that you need a reason), an average recruiter will need more than that. This is a hurdle every stay-at-home mother has to overcome during the job-hunting process.

 

The good news is that a well-crafted stay-at-home mom cover letter can help.

While similar to general cover letters, the “returning to the workforce cover letters” need to accomplish more. These letters:

 

  • Address that oh so terrible career gap, which seems to raise every red flag with recruiters
  • Make any old experience and skills from previous jobs all bright and shiny by presenting them as equally useful in this day and age
  • Emphasize the skills you’ve gained while raising your kids (cause moms actually work hard)

 

Whether you’re hunting for a part-time job or want to align any new interest with a career change, this type of cover letter will help you land an interview with an unbiased employer who recognizes your talents and the value you can bring to the company.

 

Do You Really Need a Cover Letter for Returning to Work After Raising a Family?

 

Yes, you do. Never underestimate the importance of a cover letter—especially if you’re a mother shaping up to get back to work. A stay-at-home mom cover letter is necessary since it allows you to highlight previously acquired skills and work experience, as well as anything you learned during your time with the kids. Any type of knowledge you gained can be transferable to a new role. You should send a cover letter or a letter of interest (if you’re going after a role in a dream company that hasn’t posted an ad) alongside your resume because it:

 

  1. Helps make a good impression—Presenting yourself as a professional is the key. While there are a bunch of different cover letter dos and don’ts, the style, format, and language you use in your cover letter will make a recruiter perceive you as a serious candidate
  2. Explains the employment gap—Talking about the reason behind your employment gap will ensure that recruiters are familiar with your situation before considering you for a role. Still, do not be apologetic
  3. Makes you stand toe to toe with other job seekers—Demonstrating your core strengths (before and after becoming a stay-at-home mom) helps you stand out

A pacifier lying on a keyboard in a mother’s work-from-home setup

Source: congerdesign

 

What Should You Include in Your Cover Letter for a Stay-at-Home Mom Returning to Workforce?

 

Companies want to understand what makes you different from the rest of the applicants, which is why you shouldn’t submit a generic cover letter. Still, keep in mind that the formatting of this document will remain somewhat the same for any type of cover letter. 

 

Some common parts of the letter include:

 

  1. Header
  2. Salutation 
  3. Introduction
  4. Employment gap explanation
  5. Main paragraph or body
  6. Closing salutation
  7. Sign-off

 

Header—Add the Standard Info

Begin your cover letter with a header—positioned in the upper left corner of the document. This is the first part a hiring manager will come across, so make sure to add the following info:

 

  • Contact details—your name, job title, cell phone number, email address, and home address (optional)
  • Date of sending the cover letter—it has to be the current date to indicate to the hiring manager that you’re not sending a two-month-old document
  • Company info—the company/hiring manager’s name, address, and contact number

 

Avoid using the header and footer section in MS Word because an applicant tracking system (ATS) cannot read these sections.

 

Salutation—Use a Professional Greeting

 

Greet the hiring manager in the first line after the heading.

 

You can address the person in charge directly by using their name. But if you’re unsure about the hiring manager’s name, stick to the basics and ensure the salutation is followed by a comma.

 

Here’s how you can address your cover letter:

 

Correct Incorrect
Dear Mr./Ms. [last name],
Dear [first name],
Dear Sir/Madam,
Dear Hiring Manager,
To Whom It May Concern,
Dear Miss/Mrs. [last name],
Hi, 
Hello [first name],
Greetings,

If a hiring manager realizes your cover letter is addressed incorrectly, it becomes obvious you’re only reusing the same document for different job applications. Updating telltale details in a formal letter will give the impression that you are truly interested in the role and have made an effort to draft it from scratch.

 

Opening—Start With a Powerful Introduction

 

Display confidence when you’re introducing yourself.

 

The opening paragraph has to be attention-grabbing and should demonstrate why you want the job. Start with a brief narrative of your professional background and your interest in the target role. Don’t forget to mention the exact role and the name of the company—it shows you’re writing specifically for them. For instance, you can say, “I am a marketing professional with 12+ years of experience, and I am writing to apply for the position of Senior Marketing Manager advertised on the website of X company.”

 

The Gap—Address the Gorilla in the Room

 

Right after the intro, explain the reason behind your career break. In no more than a few sentences, say you were taking care of your children during the gap.

 

Don’t give away too much info regarding your home conditions. If the company can’t fathom what raising children entails, you’re better off without them.

 

The Body—Talk About Your Past Work Experience

 

Whether you’re contacting a remote company or applying for an office-based role, you need a cover letter that stands out. You might not be a movie star, but what you do have are two very particular sets of skills:

 

  1. Skills you have acquired during your previous career
  2. Skills that make you a nightmare for those who can wreak more havoc in one unsupervised minute than most people can do in a day—toddlers

 

Now, you might feel your previous roles have little to no place in a cover letter, but you’re wrong. Read the job description carefully to figure out how your experience matches the requirements of the position you want to apply for. This section should primarily:

 

  • Show you’re a subject matter expert—Use evidence from your past work, such as a website or links to your work samples, to demonstrate your expertise
  • Focus on tangible results—Describe any key accomplishment for a major employer in the past, like an increase in social media ROI or website traffic
  • Dive deep into your work history—Talk about the work you’ve done in your previous role, such as leading a department, analyzing and creating reports, and more

 

Don’t be afraid to get your creative juices flowing! Is there anything you’ve done that can help you compensate for the career break? How about leveraging a non-scholastic experience? For instance, you can mention a freelance or a private project you worked on or any other work experiences (relevant to the role), such as:

 

  1. Volunteering with a nonprofit organization
  2. Freelancing or working on a part-time gig
  3. Organizing a community-building event

 

Closing—Add a Call to Action to Your Cover Letter

 

You’re nearing the end of your cover letter, and now it’s time to close the deal by summarizing what attracted you to the company in the first place. Reaffirm your interest in the role by demonstrating how your core values align with the company’s work environment and mission. In your closing statement, you can invite the hiring manager for a meeting to discuss the job role in detail. You can finish off by thanking the recruiter for their time and consideration.

 

End Your Cover Letter on the Right Note

 

Just like the heading where you addressed the company or the hiring manager professionally, the final salutation must be formal too. Choose the best way to sign off at the end—and avoid clear misfires:

 

Correct Incorrect 
Sincerely,
With Best Regards,
Respectfully,
Thank You For Your Consideration,
Take Care,
Best Wishes,
Yours Faithfully,
Have a Nice Day,

Right after the final salutation, add your full name again.

This is not all, though—besides learning how to write an outstanding cover letter, there are a few other things you need to consider before you hit Send.

 

How Do You Level It Up?

 

Once you get the basic structure down, it’s time to add some spice. Listing and explaining your skills is great, but that main paragraph of your cover letter needs to be on fire. Presenting skills (both before and during “the mom phase”) is not enough—you need to tell a story.

 

Demonstrate Your Professional Growth

 

The IT, marketing, and finance industries are constantly evolving, so the fact that job seekers are expected to upgrade their skills as well is not surprising. This goes for anyone who wants to reenter the workforce. Recruiters want to know what you’ve done to grow as a professional despite the long break. Their biggest question is—Are your skills consistent with the current trends? If yes, how? By including all the relevant actions you’ve taken during the employment gap to refresh your knowledge, you’re putting emphasis on quality over quantity. You should explain how you improved your skills by:

 

  1. Taking an online course—Explain how the course and the knowledge you’ve attained can help you achieve the company’s business goals. This is also a great space to mention any certifications you’ve earned along the way
  2. Learning how to use a new tool—Bring up any new tools you’ve mastered during the employment gap. This way, recruiters won’t feel your technical skills are rusty or that they need to spend time and money training you for a particular role
  3. Attending a workshop—Describe the subject of your discussions during the workshop and the people you’ve had a chance to collaborate with. This displays your eagerness to learn and ability to adapt to a diverse workspace

 

Show That Your Parenting Experience Is Transferable to Work

 

While many stay-at-home mothers may have relevant work experience to back their expertise, not everyone is as fortunate. Don’t worry—treat motherhood as a real job (because it is). Whether you’re a newbie writing a cover letter or an experienced professional, you need to first identify which of your parenting skills pertain to the role you’re interested in and connect them. Here are some transferable skills that can be added to a stay-at-home mom cover letter:

 

  • Proficiency in MS Excel—Describe your clerical experience as a mother, such as creating an elaborate home budget plan for ten years or managing your kids’ calendars. This is a great way to showcase your analytical skills
  • Ability to plan and organize—Talk about your supervisory or leadership role at a community event (like a PTA). You can also emphasize other abilities, such as your organizational and time-management skills
  • Problem-solving nature—Explain any teaching moments you’ve experienced during the break—for example, resolving issues between different community members shows you have an innate ability to communicate effectively
  • Entrepreneurial mindset—Mention how running a side business has turned you into an independent worker. You can also share any new skills you’ve acquired during the break to demonstrate how innovative and driven you are

 

Should You Make Your Cover Letter Robot-Approved?

 

Now that you’ve understood what the outline of your cover letter should look like, it’s time to tweak bits and pieces of the content to make it ATS-friendly.

 

A Hispanic stay-at-home mother is looking for a suitable job online while her daughter is playing in the background

Source: TarasMalyarevich

 

The internet has transformed the job search market. With hundreds of candidates applying for the same role, 98% of Fortune 500 companies have switched to using applicant tracking systems (ATS) to ease their hiring process. Because of this, your application is most likely to get rejected even before it reaches the hiring manager. Even a highly qualified candidate will fail to make it past an ATS if their cover letter (though readable) lacks necessary keywords or just isn’t optimized for the role.

 

Don’t get screened out by a bot!

 

Refine your stay-at-home mom cover letter for an ATS with these tips:

 

  1. Implement keywords from the job description in the text (contextually)
  2. Don’t include charts, images, or any other multimedia
  3. Use only black text
  4. Avoid nonstandard fonts
  5. Don’t add content to the header or footer of the text

 

What Can Make Your Job Search Easier and Less Stressful?

 

Now that your resume and cover letter are fully optimized, what’s the next step? The tumultuous process of finding a job. And for a stay-at-home mom, the job hunting ground is an especially scary place. Our society, unfortunately, loves to stigmatize women who choose to stay home and take care of their families (we also still love to tell women to do just that—double standards FTS). This dualism is quite evident once you decide to get back to the workforce. The prejudice and discrimination will be waiting.

 

While women, in general, aren’t having the time of their lives when looking for a job, stay-at-home moms have it way worse. They typically face multiple job rejections, and 41% of hiring managers won’t even consider hiring them because they believe mothers are less devoted to their jobs versus child-free women.

 

A stay-at-home mom having a phone interview while her kid is playing on the floor

Source: ArthurHidden

 

This boils down to one fact only—looking for an ideal job is both tiring and exhausting. But is it impossible? Fortunately, no. Many companies realize that life…happens. Children are born. Employment gaps are inevitable. These are the companies you want to work in. How do you find them? Use Lensa—an AI-powered platform that caters to your needs, preferences, education, and experience when presenting you with job suggestions.

 

Here’s how Lensa can help you—once you sign-up for our app, you will be able to:

 

  • Ensure your cover letter is ATS-friendly—Our AI-powered algorithm responds to your needs even when you’re unsure about the quality of your resume and cover letter
  • Get everything in one place—Lensa will provide you with dozens of listings to choose from on a single platform
  • Receive highly targeted ads—Our app helps every type of stay-at-home mom with targeted ads, as per their search history and profile
  • Find companies that suit you—The Workstyle Game you can play on our platform is geared towards gathering data about your experience and assessing your skills and preferences

 

Get Your Career Back on Track With Lensa

 

Ready to start? Visit our website and sign up for an account by following these steps:

 

  1. Type in the desired job title and location
  2. Click on the Search button
  3. Enter your email address
  4. Click on Submit

 

Once you’ve entered your contact details and other info in your profile, you’ll get job recommendations that are specific to your preferences.

 

Featured image source: coffeekai

Picture of Team Lensa
Team Lensa
Team Lensa is a group of HR specialists, career counselors, and tech enthusiasts dedicated to helping job seekers navigate the employment landscape through actionable tips and insights.

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