Full time moms, stay at home moms, military spouses: get your career back on track! How to overcome work history gaps, missing work experience on your resume, and land the job you want!
STAY AT HOME MOMS
Having taken time out of your career to be a stay-at-home-mom, writing an effective resume and searching for meaningful employment certainly can be challenging. There’s a hundred questions you want answering: what should a full-time mom put on a resume? What sort of jobs should you apply for? Can your career continue where you left off? Do you have to start your career from scratch again, applying for entry-level jobs? Should you search for something more relevant to your latest skills set: care & support worker, house-keeping, etc.? All these questions are answered below!
In May 2014 ResumeWriterDirect used LinkedIn to conduct a survey of U.S. and Canadian hiring managers, HR specialists and recruiters. When asked about full-time moms returning to the work force having spent 5 years as a full-time parent. 80% of the hiring managers we surveyed agreed with this statement:
“As long as the applicant has prior experience/skills related to the job, I would grant them an interview even after 5+ years absence from the work force”.
This statistic certainly is encouraging – it shows that hiring managers maybe aren’t too worried about your career timeline, and that a work history gap may not be as disastrous to your career as you initially thought. Just because you’ve not been working, doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten how to. Even after 5+ years.
Another thing this statistic shows us is that recruiters are keen to see “prior experience related to the job”. With prior experience being your golden ticket back into the work force, employment prospects largely hinge on your ability to effectively market whatever prior experience you may have. To maximize your chances of getting an interview, it becomes paramount that when writing your resume you craft your skills and experience in a way that appears directly relevant to the industry you are applying for.
This doesn’t mean lie, or even bend the truth. You just need to manipulate your experience to target the job you’re applying for. As a professional resume writer I always try to do two key things when writing a full time mom resume:
- HIGHLIGHT TRANSFERABLE SKILLS
Review your work history and consider what skills you have. Obviously most professions result in you developing specific technical skills, but there’s also a number of other skills that can be used in any occupation. These are your transferrable skills. Examples include leadership, management, sales, communication, data handling, project management, training, etc.
- FOCUS ON ACHIEVEMENTS AND SUCCESS
Hiring managers are always on the look out for talented staff. Generally speaking, talented people seem to be good at most things they put their hand to. Recruiters know this, and are always willing to give an interview to anyone that seems to be an all-round capable person. Therefore, your job when writing your resume is highlight your success and identify yourself as a very positive, capable person. Even with work history gaps, when writing your resume it’s paramount you show you were great at performing your previous jobs. Also focus on any success you had throughout your career and recent vocational life. We provide more detailed resume writing advice below.
We have specialist writers with years of experience earning our clients interviews. Speak to a resume expert now for a free consultation – call toll free 1866-706-0973
STAY AT HOME MOM JOB SEARCH
To maximize your chance of getting a job, begin your job-search looking for positions that you already have experience doing. If you used to work in administration, search and apply for this field of work again. In the case that you left a high tempo career to become a mom, if you are sure you want to get back into such a competitive environment, you’ll need to show you’re up to date with current industry trends.
Gain a new industry-specific license/qualification – by getting your head back in the books it’ll help get your mind set right for when you find a job. More importantly, you’ll have something to put at the top of your resume to show you are ready to get your career get back on track. A quick google search will likely reveal a number of certifications, qualifications, licenses or refresher courses, some of which are very modestly priced. These will greatly boost your job prospects.
If you’re eager to embark on a whole new career path – perhaps something that better fits your new family lifestyle – then the above advice is still relevant. Look for courses or qualifications that will help get your foot in the door, while boosting your skill set and knowledge. In addition, you’ll need to approach your job search much the same as an entry level job applicant: craft your previous transferrable skills to target your new job goals, highlight your previous success, and ensure your resume markets you as a keen, committed worker.
Access your network – this means going through your contacts, Facebook buddies, whoever, and finding out who works in your industry. There’s nothing wrong with tapping up friends or previous colleagues for an introduction to someone that may be able to put a good work in for you. This a surprisingly under-used job search technique that actually produces the best results, far more advantageous than conventional techniques like applying online or canvassing local businesses with your resume and cover letter.
WHAT TO PUT ON A FULL-TIME MOM RESUME
When writing your resume use a functional format. This is specifically designed to take the focus off your work history timeline, and instead centers your key skills, areas of expertise and achievements as your selling point. This is the part you really need to get right: a well worded career profile will help identify your motivation and drive to return to the work-force, while outlining your previous experience. It is highly recommended you couple your resume with a cover letter, crafted to target the specific job you want to apply for. A bit of research online reviewing the hiring company will soon highlight their goals/targets. You need to show how yours and their objectives align.
To build content for your stay at home mom resume, have a think about any volunteer or part-time work you did in recent years. This can include anything to do with arranging/helping out at school events, parenting groups, etc. You don’t need to go into too much detail about specific duties; this information just helps indicate you’ve continued to lead an active lifestyle, keeping your skills fresh and have been engaging in more than Bert & Earnie’s latest adventure on Sesame Street! You can also draw on this volunteer/part-time work experience if you land an interview (check out our practice job interview questions).
If you’ve not done any volunteer work or participated in community events, don’t panic. If your resume is completely blank and your lack of recent experience is jeopardizing your job search, then it’s time to take action.
Visit your local library and/or community center. Find out about local volunteer opportunities, community support projects, etc. First look for anything related to the field of work you want to apply for. There may not be anything relevant, in which case you need to begin participating in any form of volunteer work available. A few hours a week will hardly infringe on your personal life, but it will go a long way to helping your stay-at-home-mom resume look better, freshen up your work skills, and assist you stepping back into a vocational lifestyle. It will also most likely provide a very rewarding experience!
HOW TO USE LINKEDIN TO FIND A JOB
It is highly recommended that you start using LinkedIn. In addition to updating and optimizing your profile, you want to start using the “Interests” section. This provides a wealth of industry relevant knowledge and expertise for you to brush up on. To best utilize LinkedIn you should begin reading and sharing articles relevant to the industry you want to work in. As you grow knowledge and expertise of your industry you can join discussion groups, comment on articles and engage the community. This then opens the door to networking opportunities; you can soon get inside knowledge on upcoming job openings, seek out mentors, and maybe even earn interviews. For more information about LinkedIn check out our ultimate LinkedIn guide.
A targeted job search focusing on an industry you already have experience in, along with an effective resume, an active LinkedIn presence, some volunteer work and a positive and energetic approach to returning to the workforce, should be enough to help you get interviews. It’s not always easy, there are numerous factors that affect your job search (current economic situation, employment opportunities in your city, what industry you are applying for, to name a few) but by following this advice, you will actively optimize the factors you do have control over, which overall will improve your chances of finding meaningful employment.
If you plan on writing your own stay at home mom resume, don’t forget to check out our resume writing guide. Don’t forget to share this article via FB, Twitter or Google plus! Good luck!
Why not begin your job search with a professionally written resume? We have expert resume writers that are skilled in crafting a unique resume, specifically tailored to get you the jobs you want. We also offer a special 10% discount for stay at home moms! Use the discount code: blogreader and check out our Entry Level service from our Plans & Pricing page. Want to ask us a question? Call us direct and discuss your specific needs, toll free 1866-706-0973 10am-6pm EDT.