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Résumé Writing Tips for Stay-at-Home Moms Looking to Return to Work

Perhaps one of the most common questions for moms who are considering staying at home for a few years to raise their children is: “If I stay home, how will I explain the gaps in employment on my CV when I do decide to return to work?”

There are actually quite a few answers to this question. For many jobs, an explanation in a cover letter will be sufficient. For other jobs, a more detailed explanation in one’s CV, along with a strong cover letter, may prove necessary.

This article offers some advice on how to effectively create a stay-at-home mom CV that will showcase your skills and experience, rather than the number of years’ experience that you have.

  • Choose a skills-based CV (also called a functional CV) rather than a chronological-order CV. A skills-based CV does not emphasize dates and works best if you have gaps in your work history. You can find free templates and examples of skills-based résumés on our site.
  • Put emphasis on transferring skills from the earlier part of your career. You can do this by having a section at the top of your CV called “Objective” that states your years of experience and what you are hoping to aim for. For example, “With 10 years experience in marketing, I’m looking for a job in…”. You can also call this section “Career summary” in which you’ll highlight your strongest points. For example, “Experienced in working in a fast-paced environment, strong interpersonal, organizational and technical skills. Detail-oriented, highly trustworthy, ethical and resourceful in completing projects and tasks.”
  • Summarize your skills and tasks from your past work experiences and experiences as a stay-at-home mom, without a chronological job history. Organize these experiences into skill categories that correspond to the job for which you are applying. Start with the most important skills first (determine the ones that best match the job description). For each skill you state, provide one or two examples of achievements that enabled you to develop that skill. Use strong action verbs. Also highlight any major duties/responsibilities gained from extracurricular involvement (for example, if you carried out any volunteer or charity work during that time, or if you participated in a school association, etc..).
  • List your education and training.
  • Lastly, provide a brief Work History section with positions held, employment dates and company names.

It is also important to emphasize that you’ve stayed current in your field. For example, keeping computer skills up to date, staying on top of specific industry changes and news.

It is perfectly acceptable to explain during the interview that you have stayed home to raise your family because you had the financial means to do it and it was important to you. You can add that you have now reached a point in your life where you can give your employer your full attention and work on your career. You may even find that some employers are relieved to learn that you will no longer be away on maternity leave, so this can actually play in your favour!

Do you have any experiences you’d like to share about returning to work and the difficulties you faced while writing a résumé and going through the interview process? If so, we’d love to hear about them in the comment section below.

About the author

With diplomas in both technical writing and communication, Savannah has been working as a technical writer and translator for 15 years. Born in France and raised in the UK and the US, she has been living in France for many years and thus is perfectly fluent in both French and English.