An AOL reader asks, "I am currently a stay-at-home mom, but I want to start back at work as soon as possible. I'm intimidated when it comes to submitting a resume, because I don't have much work experience. I have been home for two years with my son. What do I put on my resume to explain this gap in work?"
1. Focus on volunteer experience.
Just because you didn't hold a paid position during the time you were taking care of your kids doesn't mean you haven't done any work that has provided value to someone. Perhaps you helped a spouse or family member with business tasks or ran events at your children's school. Or maybe you did work at local community center or place of worship.
2. Showcase functional skills.
Think about the skills you developed through these volunteer tasks. Perhaps you built up skills as a homemaker or volunteer in project management, event planning, administration, fund-raising, Web design, travel arrangements, teaching, or cooking. These valuable skills are easily transferable to paid opportunities.
3. Highlight relevant past experience.
Just because you haven't used a skill in a few years doesn't mean that the skill is obsolete. Describe what you did in your past jobs that is still relevant in the current market. For example, if you used quantitative, customer service skills in your last position, these skills will still be relevant.
4. Quote your cheerleaders. Gather testimonials from organizations where you have done volunteer work or from friends/family you may have helped with a project and include this information on your resume. These testimonials can showcase a candidate's personal and professional attributes in an authentic way and elevate your skill set in the eyes of the employer.
5. Develop an online presence.
Make it easier for hiring managers and recruiters to find you by creating searchable online profiles on the top social media and online identity sites. You don't have to be currently working to have a profile on LinkedIn, ZoomInfo, or Google profiles.
In addition, be transparent when explaining on the resume what you have been doing for the past few years. It is better to account for the time as a stay-at-home mom on the resume than to neglect to reference the employment gap and let employers come to their own (and possibly incorrect) conclusions.
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