Raise your hand if there is a gap in your resume. Go ahead. Don’t be shy. As a professional resume writer, it’s pretty rare that I see the “perfect” resume with 7 years at each job, no layoffs, and no gaps. And don’t forget the folks that were negatively impacted by the recession in the mortgage industry, financial services or construction.
So, given the fact to none of us is perfect, have you ever wondered, “How do I hide a gap in my resume?” My answer? Don’t do it. Here are some resume writing strategies to help.
I’ve decided to break this topic into a series of blogs, so this one will deal with “How do I handle being a full time stay at home mom on my resume?” First of all, let me just say that for every 3 full time stay at home moms out there, I can count at least one full-time stay at home dad. Gender politics aside, staying at home raising children is a hard job and in my experience, many employers don’t see this as a negative. I myself didn’t work for a few years after having my second son. It was an amazing experience (and PTSD aside), I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Plus, living in the conservative, red state that I do (Arizona), leveraging your family values can actually make a better impression in the right circumstances than a traditional applicant.
Here are a few SAHM resume rules to live by:
- Add a one-sentence objective into the executive summary that says, “Seeking an Account Manager role after taking time off as a stay-at-home parent.” This makes sure that the hiring manager knows right away that there’s a good reason for your gap.
- Add your time at home as a job and put it in chronological order with the rest of your work history.
- Do NOT call yourself a domestic engineer or give yourself an equally ridiculous title. Be proud that you were a SAHM and call yourself just that – a stay at home mom.
- Be funny. Seriously. It is by far the best strategy I use in this circumstance. If you can make the hiring manager chuckle, I can guarantee that they’ll call you for at least a phone interview. In fact, today, I actually wrote on a resume for a stay at home dad that he had successfully kept a very tiny human alive, relatively clean, and ready for daycare.
- If you are tempted to hide your gap or gloss over it, don’t. This is one of those “the best offense is a good defense” moments. Guaranteed.
|Add an objective||Be unclear about your career goal
|Add your time as SAHM/SAHD as a job||Gloss over this important role|
|Display your time at home proudly||Think of being a SAHM/SAHD as a career killer
|Use humor||Be too serious|
|Bring up staying at home first||Wait too long before talking about you time at home|