“Mom…mom, mom, mom, mom…MOM!”
Being a stay at home mom is tough. It’s akin to being in the workforce with an extremely needy, indecisive manager.
This position requires resilience, patience (and then probably much more patience), organization, and focus. And there is no 5 p.m. cutoff or a real end to the workday.
Again, it’s tough. And it has only gotten tougher with the pandemic.
In this article, we’ll highlight the challenges women are currently facing in the workforce and why many of them are deciding to become stay at home moms. We’ll also share how they can create their stay at home mom resume to reenter the workforce if that’s what they decide.
Deciding to return to the workforce
So – you took a break from your career to be a stay-at-home parent and you’re thinking about returning to the workforce. This might be a return to your former career or perhaps your interests and values have changed and you are interested in something completely different. Whatever you choose, know that you have developed some incredible skills during your time away from the workforce and those skills are in demand in the workplace!
When the time comes, you might be feeling overwhelmed given the amount of information available. A quick Google search for “how to write a resume” yields 2,010,000,000 results. Who has time to go through all those results, much less decide what is valid information? Not a stay at home mom! That’s why we’re offering four top tips on what to include on your stay at home mom resume.
1) There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all resume
You cannot create one resume and use it for every application. You must customize each one and target it to the position. Use the job posting as your guide when writing your resume. Pull out the keywords and skills and incorporate them into your resume. Otherwise, your resume will get lost and overlooked by applicant tracking systems. It might sound like a lot of work, editing your resume for each job you apply to, but it is critical to do this so your application will catch your reader’s attention.
Jobscan removes the guesswork from this process.
Just paste your resume and a job description below to see a prioritized list of skills, keywords, and other checks to consider.
2) Identify the skills you gained while taking care of your kids
Everyone has something to offer. Everyone. Not only that, but every experience is marketable. It’s all in how you present it. As a stay at home mother, you didn’t necessarily get a paycheck each week, but that doesn’t make your experience any less valuable.
Being a stay at home parent is one of the hardest jobs you will ever have, and the skills you gained are incredibly transferrable. Some of these skills include multi-tasking, communication, persuading, listening, research, organization, managing people, collaboration, and the ultimate mom skill—negotiation. The list does not stop there.
Consider ALL aspects of your life—organizing schedules, managing a household, managing finances, helping your child with schoolwork, volunteering, being on a board, involvement in your community, etc. Ask yourself and make a list: What do I do and how do I do it?
To demonstrate this, I would like to introduce you to one of my clients. Laura left her career to stay at home and raise her two kids. When they were in school, she volunteered for the school playground project. This experience included fundraising, research, community presentations, and collaborating with the school, parents, and the company that was contracted to build the playground.
After the project was finished, the company approached Laura to see if she would be interested in a part-time role. They were so impressed with the work that she did and the skills that she demonstrated. At the time, she didn’t think much about her involvement in the project, other than ensuring a fantastic space for her kids to play. In retrospect, it was amazing to identify the tasks she did and the skills she gained.
If you are uncertain about your skills and need help identifying them, evaluate yourself. Get help from a career development professional or do some self-assessment on your own. Try reviewing these employability skills from the Conference Board of Canada to see what skills you have.
3) Address the gap in your stay at home mom resume
A resume that has a gap in employment can be a red flag for a recruiter. It is important to include employment dates, as this is information that employers look for. You will likely create a resume that contains information about the job(s) you had prior to taking time away from the workforce. Treat your experience as a stay at home mom as a position you held. Give it a title, include dates, and outline the activities, skills, and accomplishments you acquired during this time.
Having said that, avoid tongue-in-cheek titles such as “Chef,” “Domestic Engineer,” “Chauffeur,” and “Housekeeper.” It’s true you have done all these roles but using them as your job title on your resume will do you a disservice, confuse recruiters and applicant tracking systems, and not sell your transferable skills very well. To be blunt—you won’t be taken seriously. Instead, try something like “Career Sabbatical to Take Care of Children.” Your bullet points can include the skills you gained in your role as a stay at home parent that easily transfer to the position you are applying to. These are known as transferable skills.
4) Does it add value?
As you curate and compile all the content for your resume, a couple of things to keep in the back of your mind are, “Does this add value for my reader? Does it demonstrate my skills and accomplishments for the position I am applying to?” In general, it is recommended that you avoid including the following on your resume, as many of these practices are not only dated, but they are taking up valuable space on your resume:
- Objective statements
- References, and the term “References available upon request”.
- Avoid including information about your sexual orientation, religious and political affiliation, marital status, age, social security number, and physical characteristics
Include activities such as volunteer or community involvement, continuing education courses, freelance projects, professional development, or self-employment you may have had during your break from your career.
Remember, a stay at home parent has an incredible skillset, both from their experiences as a mom, as well as her past experiences in other areas of life. By taking the time to identify the value you bring, it will make it easier to communicate this on your stay at home mom resume and to demonstrate your value to your next employer.
COVID-19 and stay at home moms
COVID-19 wreaked havoc on women in the workforce, forcing as many as 4,637,000 women to lose their payroll jobs according to The New York Times. One of the main reasons is because there is now so much uncertainty when it comes to their children. Schools have had to switch back and forth between having students work from home or go to class—or a hybrid of the two.
Because of this, moms are needing to stay home. Either that or they take on additional expenses that come with childcare. But unfortunately, childcare is simply not in the budget for most. In fact, The New York Times also reported that 32 percent of women between ages 25 and 44 blamed childcare for their unemployment.
Below are a few additional statistics when it comes to stay at home moms and the pandemic:
- Nine percent—that’s the drop in the labor force participation of unpartnered mothers. This is also the largest among all of the groups of parents. (The New York Times)
- 66 percent of mothers reported being responsible for the childcare when it comes to “partnered parents.” (Los Angeles Times)
- 80 percent of mothers have reported being primarily responsible for doing housework since the onslaught of the pandemic. (Los Angeles Times)
Working mothers are also twice as worried as working fathers that they are being judged on their performance due to having to care for their children during the pandemic, according to The New York Times.
So if you decide you want (or need) to stay at home with your children, especially during the pandemic, know that you absolutely still have the option to return to the workforce if that’s what you want.
And if you decide to rewrite your resume from scratch, we can help! Head over to our free resume builder, choose one of our ATS-friendly templates, add your information using our simple forms, print/download, and submit your stay at home mom resume!
Lise Stransky is a Certified Career Development Professional and founder of the career services firm, Careers That Work for You. Lise believes work should be meaningful. This is the number one value that guides her work with clients as she helps them to identify their skills, values and interests to find their ideal job.