If you have chosen to take a few years off to spend with your family and focus on being a mom, you probably have some reservations about whether your old resume will still hold up. Business changes quickly and being out of the game, even for a few years, can put you at a disadvantage.
If you feel insecure about your ability to get back into the workplace, you are not alone. Millions of stay-at-home moms are getting ready to return to work this year. The key is to focus on how to sell yourself using your resume. Setting yourself apart from other candidates is all about showcasing your skills and what you can do for the team.
Your education and job experience remain an advantage, regardless of your time away from the job. It’s essential to present your resume in a way that highlights your skills, career accomplishments, and steers the focus away from your absence. Keep in mind that as a parent, you will add many new skills and knowledge to your soft skill set that can be used in the professional world and should be showcased in your resume.
Employers are less worried about a career gap on your resume than they are about your unique skill set. Don’t shy away from your years off the job. You can include some of the soft skills you have learned as a parent and showcase your independent achievements. After all, negotiating with a cranky toddler is a masterclass in conflict resolution, which is easily applied in the workplace. Let’s look at a few resume tips to help moms like you that are returning to work achieve their career dreams.
1. Review the Market
After a few years, a lot can change in your industry. You may have kept up with a few friends from work while you were at home, but that doesn’t mean that you have your hand on the pulse of your business. Every industry evolves with new advancements and technologies, and it’s important to know what is new in your field.
Before you start revamping your resume, take some time to review your market and find out what is new. Do some research into the latest industry news to get you up to date. You can check current job postings in your market and determine what kind of qualifications new employers are looking for. You don’t want to end up attending your first staff meeting and realizing that you don’t know what is going on.
2. Include a Cover Letter
Most modern companies don’t require a cover letter to be attached to a resume, but it is still an excellent introductory tool. Let your resume speak for your skills and experience, and use your cover letter to focus on your soft skills, goals, and achievements. Your cover letter is the space where you can highlight the achievements during your time away from your careers, like your volunteering, education upgrades, and certifications.
Your cover letter should be simple and straightforward. This is the place in your CV where you can fill the gaps that your resume may leave for potential employers. You don’t need to get too personal or reveal all the details of your life story; however, your cover letter should act as more of a personalized introduction for recruiters.
3. Skill-Based Format
With thousands of online resume templates available, it can be challenging to pick the style that will work the best for you. As a mom returning to work, you want to highlight your skills and take the focus off your time out of the industry. It’s best to avoid a chronologically styled resume template as they will make your career break more obvious.
A modern resume that allows you to focus on your hard and soft skills, accomplishment, and goals will work better and get more attention from recruiters. Employers are less interested in your employment gaps than what your specific skill set can bring to their company.
4. Mirror Job Description
The great thing about using a resume template is that it can be repeatedly edited. Once you have your basic outline, you can customize each version to match the needs of individual employers. After you review a job posting, rework your resume to mirror the pain points that the employers are looking to solve. This will give employers a clearer picture of what you have to offer and how hiring you could be the solution to their problems.
Take your time studying current job listings to get a feel for what current employers are looking for. There may be a difference in industry language or a new emphasis on education that wasn’t present in the past. Mirroring your resume to adapt to current job descriptions is an effective resume strategy.
Heading back to work after spending a few cherished years as a mom can be terrifying and exhilarating. Don’t be intimidated by your absence from the workplace. Show your confidence by creating a resume that highlights your skills, achievements, and experience and gets the attention of recruiters.