Ten Strategies for Handling the Stay-at-Home Parent Resume Gap

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Whether you’ve taken two years – or ten years – away from the traditional work force to raise your kids, you face the issue of how to handle this gap on your resume. Here are ten strategies for handling a stay-at-home parent gap on your resume

 

Whether you’ve taken two years – or ten years – away from the traditional work force to raise your kids, you face the issue of how to handle this gap on your resume. Here are ten strategies for handling a stay-at-home parent gap on your resume:

1. Have confidence! You are a valuable employee and have skills and talents to offer. Don’t ever apologize for your life choices!
2. Take stock. What have you been doing during your “gap” years? Whether it’s building an add-on to your home, freelancing, or volunteering for the PTA or a non-profit organization, you have gained valuable experience while you’ve been away from the traditional working world. Put it on your resume. Emphasize leadership roles.
3. Keep up your skills. Have you been taking any classes while staying at home? Put those on your resume. If you haven’t been keeping current, now’s the time to start!
4. Put a title at the top of the resume that states who you are apart from your role as a parent. This title should be a match for the job you’re applying for. For instance, “Non-Profit Professional” or “Administrative Assistant.” Similarly, write a summary that highlights your skills and accomplishments. Do not mention being a parent in your summary section.
5. Use a cover letter. You may choose to address the fact that you are excited to re-enter the workforce in your cover letter. The cover letter is a great place to explain a gap – the resume is not the best place for it.
6. Avoid listing “Full-time Parent” or “Domestic Engineer” on your resume. Five years ago one of these titles might have worked. Now you are expected to have something else substantial to put in this spot, such as a significant home or family-related projects or volunteer activity, that entails utilizing your business skills. Exception: If you are looking for a day care or teaching job, “Full-time Parent” is a perfectly relevant position to have in your experience!
7. Consider a hybrid format for your resume to de-emphasize the gap. For a template of a hybrid resume, see http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/hybrid-resume-format-combining-timelines-and-skil0.html
8. Stay connected! Your most likely source for your next job is someone you know. If you get a job through networking, gaps in your work history become much less important.
9. Participate on LinkedIn. Join LinkedIn groups where your employers might be lurking. And ask and answer questions in discussions and Q&A. LinkedIn is a great place to develop networks and to find job opportunities. Check out How to Write a Killer LinkedIn Profile [http://www.ilostmyjob.com/the-essay-expert/] for tips on how to maximize your presence on LinkedIn.
10. Polish up your job search skills. They might be rusty! Get a friend or a professional to do mock interviews with you. Practice answering tough questions. Videotape yourself to find out how you are coming across. Keep it up until you would hire yourself!

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About Author

Brenda Bernstein, Owner of The Essay Expert LLC, is the author of the #1 Amazon best-seller, How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn Profile. A sought-after speaker and award-winning resume writer, Brenda is a dedicated student of leadership and a trained life coach. Holding a B.A. in English from Yale and a J.D. from NYU Law School, she has been partnering with executives, job seekers and college applicants for over 15 years to make them look great on paper. Brenda practiced law for ten years in New York City and spent a year as a J.D. Career Advisor with the University of Wisconsin Law School’s Office of Career Services, and she continues to work part-time as a Senior Law School Admissions Consultant for Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions. Contact The Essay Expert at [email protected] or +1 (608) 4670067. www.TheEssayExpert.com.

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