Whether it’s been a couple of months or a couple of years since you've been out of the workforce after being a stay-at-home parent, making a return comes with its challenges. How do you present value and highlight professional skills for the job in the comeback resume when the last experience to show is time spent taking care of the household and the family?
Many stay-at-home parents who are looking to make a return to the workforce struggle with this when updating the resume.
Here are ways to get mentally ready and have a stand-out comeback resume as you make your return to the workforce.
Don’t hide the truth
If your comeback resume has an employment gap because you took time out to take care of the family, be upfront about it with employers. You can provide more background to the situation through your cover letter. Most employers will understand and not hold it against you if you're honest about the situation and can clearly highlight valued skills of importance and previous experience of relevance. For more insight, also read: “4 Reasons for Career Gaps and How to Handle Them on Your Resume.”
Freshen up your experience and skills
If it’s only been a few months that you took off to care for the family, the employment gap on the comeback resume is not of much significance and can be left as is. However, if your period as a stay-at-home parent is more significant, it will benefit to highlight relevant part-time or volunteer work during this period on the resume. This type of information shows employers that you’ve continued to utilize your experiences and skills, or have even grown new skills to help on the job.
If you don’t have part-time or volunteer work to show on the comeback resume, refresher courses to update important technical skills for the job can serve useful on the resume. Unfortunately, listing Domestic God/Goddess to serve as professional experience will not give you much points with employers.
Make a smooth transition back to the workforce
Instead of jumping right into the hot seat of full-time worker, consider easing back into the workforce. You can start with some contract work that allows you to re-establish and build up your experience and skills before a full launch into the profession. This will also allow you to update the comeback resume so that you can show some form of professional work following the time taken off. And, in addition to a technical refresher course mentioned above, you can also take time for other coursework or training that will help show you’ve freshened up on your knowledge and other skills for the job.
Keep the network alive and healthy
The easiest way to transition back to work is with the help of your network of professional contacts. Reconnect with former colleagues and let them know your plan to return to the workforce. They can help with keeping you informed on additional job leads and they may even serve as a referral, which gives you a much better shot with employers. Employers typically place priority on referrals coming from someone internally than the regular job seeker responding to the public job posting.
While it can feel intimidating to compete with other professionals who’ve been active in the workforce or who may show a more stable career path, taking time off from work to become a stay-at-home parent is more common than you think!
Be honest, properly position your experiences and skills on the resume, and take time to re-connect with your professional network to help ease the process as you return to the workforce.
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