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SuperMouse's avatar

What is the best way for a stay-at-home mom re-entering the full-time workforce to address the employment gap?

Asked by SuperMouse (30809points) November 4th, 2011

I have had a part-time job for the past three years and now there is a regular full-time position open that I want to apply for. I need to update my resume and want to include the extensive corporate experience I had prior to having my kids. I understand that I can address the gap in my cover letter but I am wondering what I should do on the actual resume. Should I just leave the gaping 10 year hole in my employment history? Should I list full-time stay-at-home-mom as a position? What are the practicalities of this situations when creating a resume?

P.S. I know I can google this, which I will, but here I am hoping for advice from the real people who are members of The Collective.

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13 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

My husband did include stay at home dad for the 2 years he stayed at home. I think, in this day and age, your situation is common.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir did he include a list of parenting/household type stuff that might help him get the job? One thing that is helpful for this position is supervisory experience, if raising three kids doesn’t represent that, I don’t know what does. That being said, is it proper to list that?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@SuperMouse I think it was just the basics…you’d say ‘parented 3 kids for a duration of 10 years, responsible for all aspects of rearing.’ or your interview, you’d make it clear (or I would) that this was voluntary, not because you were unemployed.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, list your “gap” as choosing to be a stay at home mom for those years. No shame in that, infact, I commend you! :-)

Most employers are only interested in the last 3 years or so of your employment history, but, your prior experience is, obviously very viable.

I went on a 2 year self sabbatical to pursue my personal and spiritual journey and I make no excuses for that. Hey, I took time off to LIVE a little, so shoot me! lol

Cupcake's avatar

Unless there is specific experience you gained being a stay-at-home mom that is relevant to the position for which you are applying, I would just leave the gap on the resume and explain it in the cover letter.

gailcalled's avatar

What’s the position and what kind of skills are required or recommended?

SuperMouse's avatar

@gailcalled it is a full-time staff position in the library where I currently work part-time as a student worker. I have the required skills, and am finishing up the degree (the position and the tuition waiver would really come in handy in that area), but I know there are going to be lots of applicants with a similar skill set and the degree. I admit it, I am kind of scared to apply just in case they don’t even consider me for an interview, that would just make things weird.

john65pennington's avatar

Leave no time gaps unexplained. They might think you were in prison all those years.

A stay at home mom is 100% acceptable.

I was gone from my police department for 13 years. Upon returning, I included and accounted for those 13 years. Not explaining the gap, leaves their mind open and wondering if you might be hiding something.

Right? Good luck. jp

marinelife's avatar

Yes, just list stay-at-home mom.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I’ve owned my own businesses. There have been gaps in my employment history prior to my being a SAHM.

In the past I always listed and accounted for my time. I also listed references for the times. That way the employer could check on the time period and confirm that was indeed what I was doing.

If you were on the PTA, or volunteered maybe you could use someone from you SAHM time period as your reference.

gailcalled's avatar

@SuperMouse: Does having had experience with the particular library, the local community and the staff give you a leg up?

If I were interviewing three people with the same skills and degree, that might tip things in your direction..

Can you have an informal chat with any of the top-level library staff to feel them out about an application for you?

And I am sorry to sat that applying for any job these days is not going to be fun. How could you not be apprehensive. If you don’t apply however, you do know where that leaves you. Staying at home.

SuperMouse's avatar

@gailcalled I spoke to one of the hiring supervisors today about it. He encouraged me to apply but told me there is no way to say where I will stand in the running until they see all of the applications. I am thinking about speaking to that supervisor’s supervisor to get her thoughts on my applying. I know I am respected and liked here, but another student worker applied for a similar position a couple of months ago and her resume didn’t even make it out of HR. That makes me nervous. On the upside, it was another supervisor who tipped me off about the position before it was even posted and encouraged me to apply. Also, the person who retired from the position that is being filled has agreed to provide a personal reference.

The other side of this is that if I do apply for and get the job it is going to mean choosing a totally different career path for myself. But that’s a whole different Fluther question!

bkcunningham's avatar

I’d do a functional resume focusing on the jobs and the skills I used as opposed to a chronological resume. If you are determined to us a chronological resume, just be positive and honest. Include any classes you’ve taken during that time, volunteer work, school programs, after-school programs you’ve assisted with etc.

I took a two year break from work for personal reasons. I had a job offer and everyone knew my circumstances and I knew I had the job but I still had to formally apply anyway. At the end of my last formal work, where the gap came in, I put: sabbattical for personal growth and education.

Good luck, @SuperMouse. My fingers are crossed.

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