Moms Returning to Work – 5 Resume IdeasDec 24th, 2009 | By Bill | Category: Employment News, Resumes
For the past several years, I’ve run a conference for women returning to work after taking some time off to spend raising children. In the past several months, we’ve seen more interest and more questions than ever before. The reason is simple-in this uncertain economy, fewer families are willing to rely on one income, so women who may not have planned to return to work, or balance work with family, are brushing off those resumes and hitting the pavement.
Over and over, we hear the same questions and fears, about those very resumes. You can pay an expert upwards of $800 to create a professional-looking resume for you…but you don’t have to. Here are a few thoughts on creating effective resumes-especially if you’ve been out of the workforce for a period of time.
1. Unless you are a really recent college graduate, your degrees should be on the bottom of your resume. Otherwise, it will seem to a reader that your college experience is most important to you-that shouldn’t be the case. The benefit of hiring someone who has spent time in the workplace is specifically that they are NOT just out of college-they understand corporate culture, rules, and the like, and bring the benefit of experience.
2. Don’t list “mother” on your resume, or make up cute positions to explain time out of the workforce. For example, “Senior Accounting Executive, Brown Elementary School”…if you were the PTA Treasurer. Volunteer work that you’ve done in your spare time is important, especially if you held an officer position, but should be listed as such.
3. Time lapses in resumes in these days of layoffs are all too common-you need not explain time off, if you don’t wish to. You can also, in a cover letter, address the issue simply by saying something to the effect of “I’ve taken a 3 year hiatus from my field to stay home with my children, but I am now ready and excited to return to work, and have done x, y, z to prepare”. X, Y, and Z can be renewing a license, brushing up on a technology course, taking on a project for free, etc.
4. Do include major accomplishments if they are relevant to the position, and quantifiable. If you volunteered for a charity event, for example, and headed the fundraising committee that raised the largest amount ever, state that, give the amount, and briefly describe how you did it-especially if you are applying for a development or event job.
5. Ask friends and/or colleagues for resumes, if you don’t know where to start, and look at what others are doing. If one stands out, model yours after it (without directly copying of course!) And ask for some opinions from those you trust-make sure you have a fresh set of eyes proof it, to catch anything you missed, prior to sending it out.
If you’re at a complete loss, many career coaches and organizations specialize in helping moms head back to work (for a very reasonable fee). Most importantly, don’t doubt the value that your experience brings to the table.
Meghan McCartan is the founder and managing partner of Detours & OnRamps, a forum on the issues facing mothers in the workplace. This successful event has been held in multiple cities over the past several years and continues to grow; Meghan was recognized with an Avon Hello Tomorrow Award in 2006, in recognition of her work. For more information on the forum and for resources to help working mothers-or anyone seeking worklife balance-visit the conference online.
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