For the last few years, you’ve been busy meeting new challenges, developing distinct skills, and having fresh experiences—not in the workplace, but rather as a stay-at-home parent. If you’re thinking about returning to work and wondering how to explain the gap in your work history, highlight your flourishing soft skills, and wow potential employers, the resume writers of SoCalResumes have five fantastic tips for you. Keep reading to learn how to craft a resume that focuses on what you have been doing—not what you haven’t—and will have employers anxious to invite you for an interview.
Acknowledge Your Employment Gap
Recruiters and hiring managers look at thousands of resumes over their careers—if you think you can fool them and hide your employment gap, you’re wrong. Attempting to hide a resume gap will make you look deceptive and raise a red flag to potential employers. It’s common for people to take time away from work to raise their children. More so, today’s workplaces are becoming increasingly responsive to the needs of parents. (They have to be: consider that according to the Pew Research Center 70% of moms with kids younger than 18 were in the labor force in 2015, and 40% of mothers are their family’s primary breadwinner.)
If you took time away from your career to be a stay-at-home parent, it’s best to address it at the top of your resume. A simple statement explaining that you took time away from work to raise your children, but you’re now enthusiastic to restart your career will suffice.
Read our blog 5 Ways to Explain Common Resume Gaps to learn more about how to address a resume gap on your resume.
Write a Robust Summary
The best place for parents re-entering the workforce to acknowledge their absence from employment is in a resume summary, which is also sometimes called a summary statement or professional summary. A resume summary is placed at the top of your resume, above your employment history; for the majority of job seekers, this space is used to spotlight skills and experience. For stay-at-home parents trying to return to work, the summary should highlight not just the value they’ll add to a company with their most wow-worthy skills and experiences, but also their enthusiasm for resuming their career after taking time away to raise their children. Here’s an example:
Leveraging 5+ years experience in comprehensive administrative support and data entry. Proficient at planning, directing, and providing leadership for all office related functions, including bookkeeping, customer service, inventory ordering/control, and project management. Versatile professional accustomed to working under fast-paced, high-pressure, time sensitive conditions. Skilled at learning new concepts quickly; energized to return to the workforce after taking time away to care for family.
The best resume writers will encourage you to view your time as a stay-at-home parent as a positive for employers, not a negative. Stand-out resumes from stay-at-home parents position their time away to focus on how they’ve grown and new skills they’ve learned while out of the workforce—choosing resume formats that highlight their abilities and achievements while minimizing their hiatus from work.
Focus On Transferable Skills
Parenting requires a diverse group of skills. For example, moms and dads are called upon to multi-task, communicate, persuade, listen, organize, collaborate, manage, and negotiate (to name just a few) on a daily basis. An attention-grabbing resume will show how the skills you’ve developed as a stay-at-home parent will make you a success at the job you’re applying to—recruiters and hiring managers won’t make this connection on their own, however, so it’s vital you show them how marketable your skillset is.
Drawing attention to the skills you’ve built as a stay-at-home parent is a positive, but make sure you get the right type of attention. Avoid overselling domestic tasks—you’re not the “CFO, Chief Food Officer” of your family. The person reading your resume is likely to have a family of their own, and exaggerating your domestic responsibilities can make you seem silly, unserious, and unready to re-enter the workforce.
List Volunteer Roles & Part-Time Work
It’s common for stay-at-home parents to have held a volunteer role in their time outside of the workforce. Whether it’s involvement with the PTA, participating in a school fundraiser, or presiding over your town’s youth soccer program, pluck out the relevant skills you’ve demonstrated and highlight them on your resume. Treat volunteer roles as if they’re past jobs and show (don’t tell) employers, using action verbs, how your contribution benefited the organizations or programs. You weren’t president of your town’s Little League program, but under your leadership, the Little League program saw a 20% increase in parental involvement and a 40% rise in charitable donations.
In 2018, 56.7 million people made up the U.S. freelance workforce, a little less than a fifth of the U.S. population—meaning it’s likely that stay-at-home parents continue to work, just not full-time. Certified resume writers will remind you to emphasize any consulting, temp work, or freelance projects you took on while a stay-at-home parent. Just like volunteer roles, make sure to highlight your relevant accomplishments and brag using action words.
Hire a Professional
It’s critical that parents returning to the workforce after being a stay-at-home parent spin their time away from the workforce as a benefit to the employer. The best resume writers, like those of SoCalResumes, know how to ease employer apprehension over an employment gap, craft a compelling story that will earn interviews, and shine the best possible light on a candidate. A professional resume writer knows how to organize information into a format that’s easy for recruiters to read and accentuates your best attributes and experiences. Contact us today to learn how we can help you re-enter the workforce.