How does your resume read? Cum Laude graduate, rising star, VP for ten years, mother of three for five years? I spend a lot of time talking to moms who are interested in re-entering the work force on a flexible basis through contract or project work. Their number-one question is “What do I do with the “gap” in my resume since my last full-time job”? How do you explain that, although you’ve been out of the workforce for five years raising children, you have kept your certifications current, you have remained immersed in your industry, you have been a leader in the community, and--with three kids under the age of five--you have become a multitasking chaos management pro?
There are several ways to demonstrate how you have utilized and enhanced your professional skills while focusing on your family:
Acknowledge Your Choice
I firmly believe that employers welcome sincere and honest candidates, so be upfront about the reason why you have a “gap” in your corporate experience. Confidently state that you chose to off-ramp in order to focus on your family responsibilities. But, you can demonstrate that your professional skills did not take a hiatus by using some of the ideas below.
Include Your Volunteer Experience
In standard professional resumes, your extracurricular volunteer experience is usually relegated to the end of the page. For the “Professional Mom” resume, bring it front and center! Did you chair the school fall festival that resulted in a 120% increase in attendance and double the profit? Did you put your marketing skills to work for a local non-profit? Did you hone your leadership skills by running the PTA or a committee in your church? Take a good look at all the “non-paying” roles you’ve played and you’ll see numerous professional skills that you’ve kept active.
Highlight Project Engagements
Whether you’ve accepted short-term projects from a former employer, used your professional skills to help out a friend who owns their own business, or have found opportunities through companies like Mom Corps , short-term projects are a great way to keep your skills sharp and your professional network active. Employers will be impressed by the demonstration of your ability to proactively seek opportunities that fit into your current life-style choice.
Don't Forget Your Entrepreneurial Activities
Much has been made in the national press about the “Mompreneur” – the women who have opted out of traditional professional life and have found ways to earn income by starting a business. Make sure to acknowledge any entrepreneurial activity that you have experienced. Have you represented a home show line or hosted a home show? Have you turned an artistic gene or crafty hobby into a product for sale? Employers will be impressed by your initiative and business acumen!
Most of all: Show confidence in your abilities, both as a mother and as an employee.