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Did Your Children Dig a Hole In Your Resume? No Problem!

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I was filling out new patient forms at the doctor’s office and got to that question: What is your occupation? I never knew how to answer this question. Do I leave it blank? Do I say stay-at-home-mom or do I say homemaker? All of these answers seemed to make me feel less of a person than I was and make me feel like I wasn’t doing a “job” job.

As you know a stay-at-home parent is a demanding job that takes time, patience and certainly more than eight hours a day. If you took the time to be at home with your kids full-time and are now looking to head back to work, first, don’t feel like you have to start from scratch, feel helpless and most importantly regret taking the time off.

In the business world, taking time off work is called a sabbatical. According to The Families and Work Institute’s “National Study of Employers, in the U.S. 24 percent of small businesses and 14 percent of large businesses allow their employees to take sabbaticals (paid or unpaid of six months or more). Furthermore YourSabbatical.com states employees who take sabbaticals come back with better focus and mental clarity. It also gives employees time to step back and clear their heads—something beneficial to any problem-solving situation.

So instead of thinking you took time off to raise children, view it as an extended sabbatical. Now that you are focused on getting a job, how do you tackle the hole in your resume?

The nice part about The Mom Project is all employers understand you will have this gap in employment and will not count you out for potential jobs, but you will still want to format your resume to reflect this gap.

According to resumegenius.com, use a resume format called combination. It emphasizes relevant skills over prior work experience. You begin with an overall profile that talks directly about your high-level achievements in previous jobs followed by a skill section of specific skills you possess. Then lastly, you list a chronological order of work history.  Since you have an impressive set of accomplishments and job duties in previous positions before stepping away from the workforce, it will allow you to showcase these secondarily, without highlighting the gap.

When you get down to the section of being a stay-at-home parent, simply state the dates you stayed at home. For example, stay-at-home mom for 2000 to 2002. There is no need to explain this any further or try and add in details of what you did while at home.

If you did perform skills while at home such as starting a blog or volunteering or running a fundraiser, simply list these under the skill section on your resume. These are especially relevant if they match the skills used in your industry on a day-to-day basis.

Stay-at-home parents like employees coming off sabbaticals are eager, ready and re-energized to take on new job opportunities. We are excited to work with you to uncover the next steps in your career path.