Challenge for Parents: Returning to Work
There are several millions of women and about two hundred thousands of men are considered stay-at-home parents in the United States of America. That means that these people have left their jobs to care for a child or children after their birth. There is definitely nothing wrong with that as not everybody believes that leaving a baby with a nanny or babysitter is a decent alternative. However, many people face problems when trying to return to work. It is obvious as they have been out of workforce for a while and it is not so easy to prove to a potential employer that you are still are qualified professional who could bring value to the company. How to fill in the employment gaps on a resume? What kind of things you should say in order to be considered for the position even though you have been out of workforce for a couple of years? These questions we are going to address in this article.
Developing an Effective Resume
First of all don’t try to make up things in order to cover up the gaps. It will likely do more harm than you think. Remember that if hiring authorities will catch you on a lie you will have zero chances on getting hired. If they spot an employment gap that is only a disadvantage that gives you way more opportunities than the first option. So be honest and explain the gap in a cover letter. Hiring managers are people after all and they can understand the situation. They just need a candidate who match their requirements and if you prove you do then your employment gap due to stay-at-home parenting will not be that important. So focus on emphasizing skills and proficiencies that are important for the employer. That is your best chance to be seriously considered for the applying position.
Most women and men when they stay at home are not just baby sitting. Yes, they also do laundry and staff like that, but there is usually more than that. There are a lot of at home parents who are involved in volunteering usually and that is a good thing. For some reason job seekers often mistakenly assume it will be of no interest to an employer which of course isn’t true. Another alternative is freelancing which allows combining work and care for the baby at home. Leveraging tools like these on your resume can significantly help you get invited for a job interview. Remember everything you did (it doesn’t even matter whether you were paid for it) and put all activities relevant to the job opening on your resume. Anything from community involvement to continuing education will help you look better. So why waste the chance?
Many of those parents trying to reenter the workforce ask whether it is worth giving yourself a job title as a parent. Well, for most people the answer is going to be ‘no’ unless your parenting is somehow related to the job you are trying to get. For example, you are aiming for the position of a day care person in an organization that serves children. Otherwise, you better avoid putting parenting as a job on your resume. There is no need to dress it up with fancy job titles. Keep in mind that your resume shouldn’t be about how many jobs did you have, but rather what kinds of skills you possess and whether you keep using them actively. That’s what you should focus on.
The purpose of any cover letter is to persuade an employer to give your resume a chance and contact you regarding an interview. Therefore, there is no place for long explanations about why you were out of the workforce. It is all about what makes you a strong candidate for the job (i.e. your accomplishments, skills, past experience, etc). Most people tend to turn a cover letter into an explanation letter which is a huge mistake. Ideally, you should develop a cover letter that will emphasize what you can bring to the company, not why you have employment gaps on your resume.