Are you a busy stay-at-home mom ready to return to work?
No one can argue that your job at home is among the hardest on the planet. Your problem solving skills? Second-to-none. Ability to work under pressure? Multi-tasking capabilities? Exceptional.
But that being said, your time away can present some challenges when you re-enter the workforce if you’re not properly prepared.
Did you know research shows that women returning to work are likely to take jobs they are overqualified for and underutilized in. The result is a talented pool of women who fall beneath their career ladder capability.
I’m sure your wondering how you can avoid this when you’ve not held a “real job” for years? You may be thinking “how do I hide the gaps in my career”? “How do I convince an employer that, in spite of my time away I’m excited and ready to work?”
Well, don’t panic. People jump back into the workforce all the time, and with a well-crafted resume you can too. Here are proven resume tips for moms returning to work.
Highlight relevant experiences
First, you need to make sure you have recent and relevant experience. Yes, I know you’re thinking, “Well … that’s what I’m trying to do by re-entering the workforce! How am I supposed to have recent experience before I actually get a job?” Fair question, indeed. Thankfully, there are ways to gain experience before you officially return to full-time work.
Volunteering, taking on temporary jobs and enrolling yourself in short courses are three great ways. They keep your experience relevant and up-to-date, and show you are proactive, just think of it as a dress rehearsal. Best of all, it can lead to new connections which can even open doors to job opportunities. “But, can I list temporary jobs and volunteering as their own ‘jobs’ on my resume,” I hear you say. Absolutely! Raising money for charity, for example, involves communication, business development and marketing skills. Just be careful when recounting volunteer work to avoid weak verbs such as: worked with or did this. Instead use power verbs, collaborated or implemented which helps to de-emphasize informal work experience.
Emphasise your key skills
Okay, so your skill set is up-to-date, what’s next? One of the most common things we see is attempts to divert attention away from the resume gap by not listing dates. The problem with this is that most recruiters instantly notice it and when applying for jobs online these resumes don’t drop into an applicant tracking systems with ease, so your resume is often lost before it’s even read.
The best resume will showcase the stuff you’re most proud of, best known for, and can completely kill it at in your next job in an “Executive Summary” section. Then, a “Key Skills” section highlights the things you know how to do best (e.g. “Account Management,” “Recruitment”). Finally, you get into your career chronology, listing the most recent positions first, including your volunteer / temporary work and then working backward to your earlier full-time roles.
In your Key Skills section, you can also highlight soft skills as they are also valuable to employers. For example, the ability to communicate well, motivate others, drive change and make decisions. Stay-at-home parents continue to develop these soft skills through interactions with their children, teachers, doctors, and other parents so rest assured these will give you an advantage over less-seasoned candidates with strong technical skills but lack life experience.
Practice, practice, practice
Now with a resume ready to compete you’re sure to land an interview!
But the preparation work is by no means complete. You wouldn’t run a marathon without training, would you? You shouldn’t interview without practicing either! Do plan how you’ll describe your employment gap in your interviews, you will definitely be asked about it! Answer with pride and confidence (but not too much personal detail), and communicate to the employer that you’re ready and enthusiastic about returning to the workforce.
Wishing you all the best on your next life chapter!
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