HOW TO WRITE A RESUME FOR MUMS GOING BACK TO WORK
HOW TO WRITE A RESUME FOR MUMS GOING BACK TO WORK
Your role as a mother is one of the most important roles (if not the most important role) you will ever have and taking time off work to be at home with your children can be a wonderful experience. Eventually, however, as children grow alongside available time throughout the day, many mothers will plan on going back to work, which can prove challenging in many ways.
Simply finding the time to prepare a stellar resume, for example, can be tough. Mums often worry about the time gap between their last job and now wanting to return, fearing that potential employers will overlook their application. Combine this with the anxiety of disrupting the family schedule and the nagging belief that employers avoid hiring mothers, and it’s no wonder many people miss out on great opportunities that can benefit themselves, as well as their wider families.
Fortunately, at CareerFiX, our specialist career consultants are passionate about helping mums draft winning resumes so they can go back to work in an occupation that is right for them. We can help you utilise all of the training and skills you have accumulated, and maybe identify new elements you may need to develop to show potential employers why you would be a valuable member of their team.
When you decide you are ready to re-enter the workforce, we are here to help you build a perfect resume!
What To Include for Work & Experience in Your Resume
A common uncertainty many mothers returning to work face is whether they should avoid writing about their time at home, or if they should use a title such as “homemaker”, on their resume.
This is going to be largely dependent on the job you’re applying for. If you are applying to work in childcare or maybe a teaching position, for example, where an element of childcare and child management is integral to the daily activities, you could certainly highlight the time you’ve had at home as a mother and the skills you have learned. That being said, it is always best to leave out awarding yourself any fancy titles – there is nothing shameful or embarrassing about staying home to care for your children, so it is fine to address it as it is.
Instead, you can address the time gap you’ve had before returning back to work by including the dates and simply writing “sabbatical to care for children, or family” as a way to notify those reviewing the application, but also to show employers that there is a genuine and relevant reason for the time gap in between jobs.
It is more important to highlight all of your business skills and work experience that will make you a good candidate for the job itself. Include any ways you have been utilising your skills while you’ve been out of the workforce before your decision of returning back to work. Have you volunteered anywhere? Have you brushed up on your education and knowledge by taking a course or conducting self-study? Employers want to know what you have done, the skills you have developed, and that you are up-to-date on modern practices that would benefit their organisation.
You may use your cover letter to briefly explain your absence from the workforce if you aren’t going to be including your time as a stay-at-home mum on your resume itself. Most employers will be very understanding of the time gap and know how important the role of being a mother is. If you have done freelance work or have been self-employed during your time at home as a mum, you can include that on your resume as well.
Outlining Previous Work Experience Before You Became a Mother
Despite your personal situation, you are being hired to perform specific tasks, and employers want to know you can perform those tasks every day. As such, showing employers what experience you have and the skills you have previously used and gained before you were a stay-at-home mother is an important part of your resume.
Keeping the dates and timelines as accurate as possible is crucial, as not including dates will send an immediate red flag to reviewers, causing your resume to get ignored. Employers tend to pay attention to the dates to see how long you have been at one job. If you’re someone who holds down a job for a long time, make sure your dates are easy to read as this can demonstrate your loyalty and willingness to commit to a company.
Make sure you highlight tangible achievements and the skills gained with each job, not simply listing the duties performed. Note any certifications, awards, or accomplishments, such as how you used your initiative to boost sales or reduce duplication of processes and save money.
If possible, it is also a good idea to keep the work experience you include to a period of 10-15 years. Avoid going back too far, as your employers will want a more contemporary view of your abilities. This also helps to keep your resume short, ideally, aim for a maximum of two pages.
When you are applying for multiple jobs, create a resume for each one that is customised to that particular position and company. Look at the job advertised and tailor your resume to use the same keywords and phrases used and highlight any skills you possess or work you have completed that would be beneficial to what is being requested. For instance, an administrative job would want to see computer knowledge, organisational skills, and prior administration experience.
Alternatively, an employer hiring for a customer service position would care more about your people skills. A career working with children is going to appreciate that you have had time at home as a mother and the knowledge you have gained being a childcare provider before returning to work. You may have many different areas of expertise, but only focus on the ones that apply to each specific job and that will be of importance to the employer.
Formatting & Personal Information in Resumes for Mothers Returning to Work
One thing mums returning to work should keep in mind when creating a resume is that the format must appear professional and easy to read. The most common format you’re going to see is “reverse-chronological”. This means the timeline of your jobs or achievements is starting from the most recent and working back down to the oldest. You will also want to choose a professional and easy to read font, keeping it at 11pt size means you have enough room to include relevant information.
You can create your own template, but keep it clean and simple with no graphics, lines, tables or columns to prevent you from being missed if an applicant tracking system (ATS) is being used by the company to manage recruitment and hiring. An ATS filters applications automatically based on defined job criteria, keywords, essential skills, previous employment history, and years of experience.
Also keep away from bold, flashy colours or busy, hard to read formatting. You want your resume to ‘stand out’ but this is not necessarily about adding colours or graphics. It is about having great content that is relevant to the job you are targeting. The basic rule is ‘less is more’.
Another important step that a lot of people overlook is their personal contact information. Take the time to make sure your name, phone number and email are correct. You could have the greatest resume of all time, but it isn’t going to get you far if no one can reach you! You may also want to include your location as some employers are going to take your commute into consideration when hiring. Also, consider creating a new, professional email such as “email@example.com” if you want to be considered a serious applicant.
Need Some Further Guidance Beyond Your Resume Before Returning to Work?
If you’ve been a stay-at-home mum for a long period of time, we appreciate that returning to work can be intimidating, but it doesn’t need to be. Whether you are looking to enter a new career or returning to one from years ago, CareerFiX can assist you in taking some of the pressure off by helping to build the perfect resume.
We have services to assist you in everything from the initial job hunt, to job preparation, and even expert resume tips for anyone needing assistance. As daunting as it can be, we can assist you in a successful return back to the workforce. This will hopefully offer more available time and energy that you can spend on securing your dream role, and preparing your family for the transition of you moving back into employment.