Looking to get back into the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom? Maybe you put your career on hold to take care of an elderly family member or respond to other family obligations? You’re in the right place. We’ll walk you through creating a resume that accounts for your gap in employment and shows hiring managers what a valuable asset you’d be to their team.
What to focus on
Skills and qualifications
Your time as a homemaker or caregiver has no doubt helped you hone useful skills: organizational, time management, patience and conflict resolution, just to name a few. Great news: these skills are hard to come by, and are always in demand among employers. Your task is to highlight them in a way that’s related to the job you’re applying for.
So, while it’s one thing to say you’re an expert in time management, it’s even better if you can connect that strength directly to something specific you’d be doing on the job, like coordinating schedules, meeting strict deadlines, juggling multiple important priorities, and so on.
Explain how you filled your time during your employment gap
Some advice out there recommends downplaying gaps in employment. While this is solid guidance if you’re a chronic job hopper, it’s not the best approach if you took the time off to do something else of value, like taking care of your family. Instead of minimizing that experience, you want to leverage it as a strength.
For this reason, we recommend listing ‘stay-at-home parent,’ ‘caregiver’ or ‘homemaker’ as an entry directly on your resume. This allows you to spell out in no uncertain terms why and when you were out of the workforce and prevents employers from making negative assumptions about the reasons for your employment gap.
Why do you need a resume?
To re-enter the workforce
It can feel daunting to break back into the workforce if you’ve been away for several years. Your resume is your ticket to enter the arena. It helps you get your name out there and position your skills positively in front of employers who are looking for candidates like you.
To sell your strengths as a candidate
Think of yourself as a publicist and your resume as a branding tool. It’s your chance to shape your story in the way you want prospective employers to see it. Your resume empowers you to present your qualifications in an organized, polished manner, helping hiring managers understand why you specifically would be a good fit for their role.
When should you use a resume?
Use a stay-at-home mom resume to:
- Re-join the workforce after taking time off to have kids
- Land the perfect job after a long gap in employment
- Prevent an employment gap from adversely affecting your job search
Common challenges and how to overcome them
Listing “stay-at-home parent” on your resume
There are conflicting schools of thought about whether to list your time as a stay-at-home mom or dad as an actual job on your resume alongside other work experience. The right answer comes down to whether it’s relevant to the position you’re now seeking. So, if you took time off to raise your kids and are now seeking a job working with children, that experience would be highly transferable. If you’re looking to pick back up on your career as a forensic scientist, it’s probably not as relevant to list your childcare experience on your resume.
One solution that takes care of all of these scenarios is to use a summary statement at the top of your resume to explain your unique situation. Use this section to give a succinct rundown of the fact that you recently took time away from the workforce, the type of job you’re looking for now, and what makes you a qualified candidate.
Accounting for other non-paid activities
As a stay-at-home mom, parenting is far from your only job. You volunteer at after-school activities, lead fundraising events, and participate in community groups. Can you include the experience from these activities on your resume? If it’s relevant to the job, absolutely! Even if the position you held has nothing to do with the specific job you’re applying for, you may be able to find parallel skill sets that make it worth mentioning on your resume.
Stay-at-home mom resume format and key components
A chronological resume format is a good choice for stay-at-home moms re-entering the workforce.
Here are the components your resume should contain:
- Contact information
Lead off with your name, address, phone number and email at the top of your resume. Be sure to use a professional email address, like your full name or your first initial and last name.
- Objective statement
Your resume doesn’t always need this section, but we highly recommend it when you’re in a non-standard scenario, like re-entering the workforce after spending time as a stay-at-home parent. Writing a clear and concise objective statement helps hiring managers quickly ascertain where you’re coming from so they’re not caught off guard by an employment gap.
Here’s an example: ‘Experienced and attentive nursing professional with more than 10 years experience in palliative care. Seeking to reenter the workforce in a position that will leverage my strong interpersonal skills and work ethic.’
This is where you want to focus the bulk of your attention to convince hiring managers how the skills you gained as a stay-at-home mom will transfer to the role for which they’re hiring.
List your time at home the same way you would a standard job, including dates. Use a straightforward title like ‘stay-at-home mom’ or ‘homemaker,’ but avoid tongue-in-cheek job titles like ‘chief domestic engineer,’ which can read as too playful for a professional setting.
Beneath your entry for your time at home, list other non-paid positions like volunteer work and the jobs you’ve held in the past. Under each item, highlight the activities and accomplishments that make the strongest case for why the hiring manager should grant you an interview.
Call out your top 5 to 7 skills in the form of a list in their own dedicated section. These should be skills that are not only your strengths, but ones that are mentioned in the job description since hiring managers will be scanning for them.
If you have a degree, list it along with the school you attended. If your education is particularly relevant to the role being pursued, consider moving this section higher in the document.
Where to post and apply with your new resume
There are many options out there, but it’s probably no surprise that HireMyMom.com is our favorite site for moms, particularly those who want to remain at home. HireMyMom was founded by a mom, for moms, to help them find the perfect remote opportunity.
If you’re ready to explore all options, virtual and office-based alike, there’s ZipRecruiter, which is regularly ranked as the top job search website.