How To Fill an Employment Gap On Your Resume
Moms today are free to work or to stay at home. There’s no one right way to raise a family, and what works for one family, certainly won’t work for another. Some moms have to work. They can’t afford to stay at home with their families.
Others, want to work. They feel that time away is good for them, and their kids. Plus, they enjoy financial independence and know that they are setting a great role model for their children.
Equally, some moms can’t afford to go out to work. If there’s no one to help out with childcare, paying for daycare or childminder can mean that most of your earnings are gone before you even open your paycheck.
While others, want to stay at home while their children are younger. There are many different options, and no right or wrongs. It’s all about finding a balance that works for your family and keeps everyone smiling.
You do what you gotta do.
But, there’s a chance that once you’ve had kids, you’ll clock up a sizeable gap on your resume. Even just a couple of years before your children start school can be a big chunk to a prospective employer. If you ever do decide to return to work, these gaps can cause a problem.
While you know that you have been busy raising your family, which is often significantly harder and more important than any job going, unfortunately not all employers see it that way. Especially when they’ve got countless other resumes on their desks. Ones from fresh graduates and people with a full working history with barely a day off for sickness. A gap is a risk.
So, read on for some easy ways to fill in those gaps.
Get Back into Education
Deciding to go back to work after any length of time is hard. Whether it’s something that you want to do or something that you feel like you can’t afford to miss, it’s hard. It’s hard putting your kids into childcare and leaving them in the morning. It’s hard getting back into a work routine. But, it’s also hard finding the right job in the first place.
Your old job might no longer be the right fit. You might find that changes and advancements mean that everything you knew before you left is out of date. You might struggle to find a job that gives you the flexibility that you need as a working parent.
Education is a great way to give yourself more options. An online MBA program from JCU can help you to learn new skills, or refresh and update your knowledge. It could give you the opportunity to start your own business or to move into a different industry. If you don’t want to go as far as a degree, look at local training programs and other areas of online study.
List Your Key Skills at the Top
Key skills and transferable skills are often more important than qualifications and experience. These are the things that show how well you could do a job. They can really let an employer know what you will be bringing to the table. List your key skills at the top of your resume to make them a priority. Then, think about what they are.
For example, if you worked in a retail store when you were younger, you’ll be organized, and you’ll have a keen eye for detail. You’ll work well under pressure and in a busy environment. You’ll be able to handle it when every day is different. You’ll have excellent customer service skills and be able to deal with complaints and issues. All of these skills could be very useful in a wide range of different industries and are worth highlighting.
Leave the Gap
Parents returning to work often wonder if they should list being a stay at home parent on their resume to fill a gap in employment. But, to an employer, this can look like clutching at straws. By all means, mention your children in a profile if you wish, but don’t name them as a career. This can change if you are applying for a job working with children and you feel it could give your resume a boost.
Highlight Any Relevant Experience
While you don’t want to list parenthood as a job, it is okay to highlight any skills and experience that you have gained while at home with your children. Especially if it relevant to the position that you are applying for. You might have coached little league, or volunteered at a playgroup. You might have managed your house and helped your partner with their job. Add skills that you’ve gained at home to your key skills section, and talk about any experiences that might help you.
Avoid a Chronological Layout
There’s no set way to layout your resume. You certainly don’t have to list your jobs in order. In fact, it’s often better not to. If you’ve had a lot of jobs, it’s best only to list the ones that are important, or relevant to what you are applying to, leaving the rest off. If you’ve got an employment gap, list key skills, and experience first. Then just pick out any jobs that you’ve had that will support your application. Give more focus to your skills and experience and less to dates.
Add an Honest Cover Letter
You should never just hand out the same resume to every job. You should take the time to tailor them to the job that you are applying for. This gives you the chance to change your key skills, experience and the jobs that you list. Make sure that your CV only ever includes things that will benefit your application.
It’s also a good idea to add a cover letter. Spend time researching the job that you are applying for and write a letter that briefly explains why you are applying. List the reasons why you think you’d be good for the position. You can also use this letter to be honest and explain the gap if you feel it’s appropriate. Explain any gaps, and talk about how you’ve spent the time, and how this experience is an advantage.
What I did after my first was return to school. I was able to re-enter the workforce as a graduate and able to gain employment easily. When asked what I did previously, I was honest and answered I stayed at home with my child until she went to school.
I worked in that job for 8 years!
Do you have any tips on how to get a job after being a stay at home parent?
Let me know, til then–cheers m’deres!
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Nancy Polanco is a freelance journalist and editor of lifestyle blog Whispered Inspirations. A social media junkie, a travel-lover with insatiable wanderlust and an aficionado for fun gadgets, good eats, and entertainment. You can find her on Instagram and everywhere else under @WhispersInspire.