One of the most difficult challenges facing any job seeker is the challenge of trying to re-enter the workforce after any significant time away. Take your average stay at home mom, for example. She may have spent several months or even years out of the workforce as she devoted herself to caring for her small children. That same mom often finds it difficult to get back into the workforce once the children are a little older and no longer require that extra care.
Fortunately, that difficulty can be minimized with the right resume. In this post, we’ll go over some important resume tips to help you craft a resume that can get you back to work.
Stay at home mom resume gap
Let’s address the elephant in the room: the employment gap. There’s no denying the challenge that a stay at home mom can face. Even a few months away from the workplace can seem like an eternity to both employers and employees. That becomes painfully obvious as soon as you start polishing up your resume to prepare for your job search. Women in this situation often find that there are a number of concerns that they need to address:
Any significant time away can leave a noticeable gap in your resume. How do you explain it?
Homemaker skills differ dramatically from most skills needed in the workplace.
While you were away, your industry probably continued to evolve. Are your skills still relevant?
You may find yourself doubting your readiness to rejoin the workforce.
(We wrote a good post here on dealing with employment gaps)
Don't forget to use your cover letter to explain any employment gap created by your time as a stay at home mom. The cover letter is a great place to put the most positive spin on that time away from the workforce.
Use your resume to overcome these challenges
The good news is that your resume can be the perfect tool to overcome these challenges. The key is to understand that you’re not alone. As we noted in our post for stay at home parents, 9 Stay at Home Parent Resume Tips to Land a Job Fast, official estimates suggest that millions of Americans choose to be stay at home moms or dads. More importantly, thousands of those stay at home parents successfully re-enter the workplace every year. If they did it, you can do it too!
To accomplish that goal, however, you will need your resume to be on point. Since that document will be the first thing most employers see, you need to ensure that it properly conveys your situation and potential value, in the most effective manner possible. The following tips can help you to better manage your resume creation and resume tailoring process:
Use a powerful resume summary statement to emphasize the value that you can bring as a new employee.
Don’t be afraid to include new skills that you’ve learned or developed during your time as a stay at home mom.
Highlight continuing education to demonstrate that you’ve worked to stay current with industry changes.
Include Volunteer experience if it involved the use of skills that are easily transferable to your desired job.
Do not get cute with your resume. Don’t try to hide your stay at home experience by inventing novel titles to describe your homemaker status.
Be honest. Chances are that any deception will be discovered at some point, so lay all the facts out on the table as clearly as you can.
Polish up your cover letter. It’s a great place to explain why you were out of the workforce and convey why you’ve decided to return.
But what if you have no work experience?
It can be an even greater challenge if your time as a stay at home mom occurred right after you left school and before you had a chance to enter the workforce. In that instance, you will need to de-emphasize job experience and focus on your education and skills. Look carefully at the job description and craft a resume that focuses on the skills needed for the job. Include both hard skills that you developed in school, as well as so-called soft skills. Remember, the key is to position yourself as the candidate who can offer the most value to the employer.
Do you mention stay at home mom on resume?
No – you do not include “Stay at home mom” on a resume. You can briefly mention it on the cover letter (example below).
Remember that you can list volunteer work or self employment on your resume to make up for these gaps.
Did you do any freelance work? Run a business or do any remote work/consulting? If so, this can be listed as a position on your resume just like your other work experience.
If you don’t have anything to list – it’s not the end of the world. Keep networking and apply to as many positions as you’re qualified for. Hiring managers understand that people become parents and need some time off.
Stay at home mom resume template example
(Text format version below)
View 200+ more professional resume samples for all industries, along with a guide to writing resumes from our career experts.
Stay at home mom cover letter example
You’ll notice that the example above includes a significant employment gap. Use your cover letter to explain why that gap exists. Here is an example of how you can accomplish that goal:
I spent several years away from the workforce to care for my first child immediately after she was born. During that time, I continued to keep abreast of legal developments, and diligently pursued the continuing educational requirements needed to maintain my certification. In addition, I worked to develop new technology skills, while improving my professional writing and presentation skills. Finally, I served as a volunteer paralegal with the local public legal counsel’s office to keep my skills as sharp as possible. As a result, I am extremely confident that I can be an asset to your legal firm right away.
As you can see, time away from the workforce doesn’t need to be an insurmountable challenge for your resume. With the right approach and emphasis, you can still present yourself as an asset to any company. And that should help to make your transition from stay at home mom to active participant in the workforce easier than you ever imagined it could be.
Stay at home resume text format sample
Litigation Paralegal – Administrative Support – Project Manager
Customer/Client Service – Document Preparation – Executive/Director Level Support
A highly talented litigation paralegal with 11 years of experience supporting busy attorneys and ensuring fast-paced offices are running at top productivity. Extremely accurate and organized with strong skills in legal office administration, document preparation, correspondence and pleadings, file management and providing exceptional client/customer service. Strives in fast-paced environments performing regular and recurring duties independently without supervision. Self-starter with excellent oral and written communication skills with extensive knowledge of legal terminology, scheduling and documentation. Outstanding in project management with the abilities to analyze, prioritize and multi-task efficiently to ensure projects are delivered timely and accurately. Strong academic qualifications include a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from California State Polytechnic University and an ABA Approved Paralegal Certificate from the University of San Diego.
Legal Office Administration
xxx (company name) – San Diego, CA – 2013 – 2017
Paralegal/Secretary – Insurance Defense
Involved in all aspects of litigation support and case management for over 50 cases
Served as a liaison between clients, opposing counsel, vendors and witnesses providing exceptional support at all times
Efficiently and accurately drafted, filed and served mediation briefs, pleadings, motions and discovery
Maintained busy schedules ensuring accurate calendaring and file management
xxxx (company name) – San Diego, CA – 2012 – 2013
Paralegal – Employment Law
Prepared concise, issue-pertinent deposition and document summaries from voluminous document productions, deposition transcripts and multi-party discovery responses
Maintained strong relationships with clients in order to sustain updated client information and review, organize and summarize employment and medical records
Provided exceptional customer service while handling client questions and providing support
Paralegal – Insurance Defense and Employment Law
Promptly and meticulously prepared legal documents including discovery, motions, stipulations and declarations
Performed extensive document reviews and produced numerous transcript summaries
Supported attorneys by researching appropriate cases, laws and judicial decisions
Gained a complete knowledge of state, federal and appellate court rules as well as arbitration proceedings, including the American Arbitration Association and JAMS/Endispute
University of San Diego, San Diego, CA: 2003
ABA Approved Paralegal Certificate – General Litigation
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, CA: 2000
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Management & Human Resources
While there are challenges stay at home moms will face when trying to break back into the job market, there are also ways to overcome those challenges. Hundreds of thousands of women are in the same boat.
The truth is, you have a lot to offer to a company and your experience as a caregiver is part of what will make you successful. While that position doesn’t belong on your resume, you could include your gained skills in your cover letter.
Ultimately, the employer or hiring manager wants to know that you’ll be able to cope with the demands of the job. As long as you can focus on your abilities--drawing on your experience and qualifications, wherever they’re from--you can be an impressive candidate.
Hopefully this guide will help you out! If you have further questions, consider hiring a personal resume writer. ZipJob has more than 100 professional resume writers available to help you create an ATS (applicant tracking system) optimized resume that will tell a compelling narrative. They can help you identify the most valuable parts of your professional life to delight hiring professionals.
The ZipJob team is made up of professional writers and career experts located across the USA and Canada with backgrounds in HR, recruiting, career coaching, job placement, and professional writing.