Stay-at-home parents may feel a bit insecure when they decide to re-enter the workforce. It’s completely natural. Rather than feel stressed about it, find that inner confidence and let it shine. Once you have your butt-kicking pants on, start plotting your next big move. The resume tips below for stay-at-home parents are sure to help!
To Say or Not to Say
The first (and probably obvious) question stay-at-home moms and dads wonder is, “Should I mention my stay-at-home status to employers?”
FlexJobs career coach Toni Frana advises that stay-at-home parents returning to the workforce not hide the fact that your main job has been parenting. “Mention it as a Planned Career Break. Include a bullet on your resume like this:
- An intentional pause to focus on full-time caregiving. Excited and energized to return to work.
This addresses the choice to stay home and also indicates you’re ready and looking forward to reentering the workforce.”
Here’s how this could look on your resume:
Don’t gloss over your stay-at-home status on the cover letter, either. Rather than trying to hide the fact that you are a stay-at-home parent, briefly touch on it and then move on. Use the remainder of the cover letter to wow them with all the things that you can do, the skills you have, and how you can use it all to contribute to the job and the overall company.
Pick the Right Resume
If the last time you wrote a resume was…well, awhile ago, you’ll need to update and revamp yours. Though you should always customize your resume and tailor your cover letter to the specific job you’re applying for, it helps to have a resume template ready to go. This will make customizing it a snap.
There are three kinds of resume formats:
- Chronological resume: List your work experience in date order from most recent to earliest.
- Functional resume: Your skills are grouped by type (communication, time management), then briefly mention your work history at the bottom using only employment dates and titles.
- Hybrid resume: This resume takes the best of a chronological resume and a functional resume and combines it in one.
Each resume type has pros and cons, so take all of them into consideration before committing to one.
However, no matter what kind of resume format you choose, don’t skip the skills section (or qualifications summary). It’s something you definitely want to include, especially if you’re reentering the workforce after some time away.
Frana advises that resumes for stay-at-home moms and dads have the skills section at the top of the resume. “This allows you to highlight the relevant skills you have for the job, and it helps a hiring manager start to visualize you in the role when they start scanning your document.”
Filling in Gaps
One of the obstacles stay-at-home parents face when returning to work is the gap in their employment history. But by thinking creatively about every experience you had while you were at home, you may find that you have far more professional skills than you realized.
Did you work part-time or run a home-based business? What about volunteer activities? Perhaps you were a freelancer once or twice? It all counts and can be listed on your resume.
However, don’t exaggerate your experiences. For example, if you were a member of the PTA, it would be unwise to say “Ran local large educational charity entity,” even if you were the president for a few years. However, if you chaired a major fundraiser and have demonstrable or quantifiable results that are related to the position you’re applying for, you can mention that.
Get an Update
One of the things employers worry about when hiring someone who’s been out of the workforce for a while is that their skills are out of date.
To help reduce that fear, take some classes and get some certifications under your belt. For example, Slack and Google have online tutorials you can take advantage of so you know what a Slack Channel is versus a Google Meet. LinkedIn offers tons of learning classes—and many are free if you belong to your public library.
Consider Going Digital
While you’re at it, consider creating a personal portfolio website that compliments your resume. You can put together a free website that highlights your relevant and recent work samples and helps employers get a better idea of what you’re capable of.
If a personal website isn’t the right fit, turn to LinkedIn. It’s a great place to create a digital presence for yourself that you can easily share with potential employers.
LinkedIn has the added advantage of being a professional social networking site, so you can start your networking efforts online. Frana says, “Build your LinkedIn profile and start engaging with others to grow your connections and become more visible to hiring managers. This might also open opportunities to conduct informational interviews with people who could help guide and mentor someone returning to the workforce and recommend specific skills to enhance to be a more competitive applicant.”
In Light of the Pandemic
While many of our above employment gap conquering tips hold true, job seekers may fear that the longer they are out of a job, the rustier their tech skills become.
Fortunately, Frana offers this tip: “Use this time at home to build any skills for the jobs you’re seeking. If you’re home with school-age kids, there is already skill-building happening in terms of technology tools.”
You’ve probably had to become a Zoom expert, internet connection troubleshooter, and cloud workspace aficionado. These are all skills you can add to your resume!
You’ve Got This
Feel confident in yourself, your skills, and your experiences and employers will take notice about this next era in your professional life.
If you’d like some more individual advice on transitioning from full-time parenting to work, consider meeting with one of our career coaches.
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