Returning to work after a break of any sort; whether looking after children, caring for elderly parents or recovering from ill health can be daunting and it’s understandable. You probably feel like you have missed out on a lot of technological changes, or law changes and you start lacking self-confidence. And how do you feel that confidence when that blank space from your work gap in your resume is staring back at you? Here are some tips:
Tip 1: Be Honest and Upfront about your Job Gap
Nothing beats honesty and attempting to hide the gap is deceptive. It is okay to state in your chronological Resume the period where you took the gap and state that you took time away and state the reason why you took time off. There are many reasons people take time off and if an employer is going to hold that against you, it’s not a company worth working for.
Tip 2: Always start your Resume with a Personal Statement on the Top
Your personal statement should be the highlight of your resume. It should state all your achievements briefly such as “increased sales at Auto Car Sales by 50% in the first 3 months”, “reduced accounts receivable by 70% in 6 months”. Include volunteer work as well. The personal statement will be your deal breaker as to whether the employer decides to read further or not so make sure it’s short, sharp and sells your achievements and skills.
Tip 3: organizedFocus on skills that can be transferred to the work environment
Try and highlight your skills so that they match the skills the employer is after. If you were a stay home mum and ran the school PTA, you can sell that skill as a Management skill and strategic planning skill. If you helped manage a major school renovation project, you will have excellent project management skills organised and coordinated the school fair then you would have excellent planning, organizing, fundraising skills. So, you’ve added new skills to your Resume which you probably already had but are just reinforcing here.
Tip 4: Do not list Domestic Duties or Childcare Activities on your Resume
As tempting as it may be at times, do not refer to yourself as the “CEO of the home” or the “Director of the Home” in your Resume. Instead just state that you were a full-time mum looking after children or whatever other reason that prevented you from working outside the home. Giving yourself those titles make you look silly and immature, not to mention they may put your professional capabilities to question.
Tip 5: Focus on you Skill Set, Experience and Maturity
Apart from technical skills, employers value other skills such as communication, negotiation, problem solving, decision making, motivating, project management – these are skills that most stay home parents would have developed through their day to day interactions with teachers, doctors, other parents etc. So, sell those skills as well on your resume. That may set you apart from those already in the job.
Now that we’ve got your resume sorted, all we need is for you to start building your confidence by upskilling yourself in the area of work you are going to. If you are returning to your previous line of work, research on what changes have come about since you left. If you are going to a new role, check what is required for that role and do the necessary courses whilst you apply for those positions as it takes between 6 to 12 months to land the job you want. Follow the tips below and you should be less inundated about landing that first job after your break.