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
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. 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)
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 homers 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 or tailoring process:
- Choose the right resume format. If the employment gap is significant, you may want to consider the functional format to better highlight your qualifications and skills.
- 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 work if it involved the use of skills that are easily transferrable 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 Resume Example
(Text version below)
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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:
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 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 – 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 – 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