Stay at Home Moms: How to Hide the Glaring Employment Gap in Your Resume

resumeAs a stay-at-home mom, updating your resume is perhaps the most overwhelming task you’ll need to do after deciding to rejoin the workforce.

I know it’s a bit overwhelming and ironic to some extent, considering you’ve done well raising your kids – updating your resume should be a piece of cake, right?

It’s trickier than it seems. Sure, it’s easy to list your education and previous work before the kids came – but what comes next? How do you explain the huge gap from then ’til now?

That’s exactly what I’m going to help you do…

Don’t Bury Professional Experience Under a Poor Layout

Long paragraphs are boring and hard to read. It’s easier for a recruiter to trash your resume instead of digging through it to get a glimpse of your work.

Improve it:

  • Chop up long sentences and delete fancy words.
  • Break up longer paragraphs into shorter ones; use bullet lists when possible.
  • Use a well-defined font like Calibri or Cambria. No italics please.
  • Use consistent spacing for paragraph indentations.

Don’t Let Employment Gaps Get Your Resume Trashed

Recruiters and hiring managers have personal lives, too. So don’t lie and don’t hide employment gaps on your resume.

Instead of hiding gaps by removing dates in your work history, consider a chronological and functional resume hybrid.

Here’s how:

After your contact details, define yourself with a header that makes it clear what you are after. Then, insert an “executive summary” listing your accomplishments in previous roles, highlighting awards and quantifiable contributions to previous employers along the way so you can show the value that you offer.

Next, create your “core competencies” by listing work-related skills, starting with tasks listed in your target job.

Lastly, list “work history” with dates in chronological order, including freelance projects, consulting work and part-time jobs held while doing mommy duties.

Convert Mommy Duties into Profitable Work-Related Skills

Common mommy duties include packing lunch, driving the kids to school, organizing car pools, budgeting, and making sure their homework gets done.

Would you let those hard-earned skills go to waste?

Re-frame those skills to match the target employer’s vocabulary.

  • Arranging play dates OR organizing car pools = Organizing or coordinating events
  • Budgeting and paying the bills = Bookkeeping
  • Helping the kids with their homework  = Mentoring or supervising people. If you can get kids to do their homework, you’ll do fine supervising grownups.
  • Selling tickets for a fundraiser or raffle  = Sales and customer service skills

Emphasize Continued Learning

Many stay at home moms keep up-to-date with the latest in their industry by reading professional magazines and participating in LinkedIn groups.

List the names of professional memberships you’ve maintained, workshops attended and active licenses on the “Professional Organizations and Licenses” section of your resume. On the “Education” section, list recent trainings you’ve undergone to brush up on your skills.

After reading this, people will realize you’re not a dinosaur on stilettos.

Use References to Boost Perceived Reliability

References are often available upon request but that doesn’t mean you should wait for recruiters to request it. Don’t let that glowing recommendation go to waste!

You’ll be competing with candidates with no employment gaps, so you’ve got to use everything in your power to make a great first impression.

So there you have it, 5 solid tips to improve your back-to-work resume.

Need more help? Or maybe you’re having pre-interview jitters after not doing this in so many years? It’s OK, don’t be shy. Contact me at michelle@riklanresources.com.

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