Hiring managers will throw your resume straight in the trash.
Whether you’re a new mom who took a year off for her baby, or a dad who quit his 9-to-5 for several years to raise his kids, getting back to the workforce can be tricky. Parenting is arguably the toughest job in the world, but the time away from the office can throw a wrench into job applications.
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Of course your stay-at-home period helped hone some of the most important skills out there. At this point, you’re better than ever at resolving conflicts, juggling multiple deadlines, and figuring out how to finish tasks way more efficiently.
Tricks for going back to work after a career break:
- Accentuate the positives on your resume
- Get out there and meet people
- Consider a part time job first
- Make sure your skills are up to date
- Be ready to explain your career break and rehearse your explanation
- Stay positive while job hunting
- Expect a lower salary
- Stay organized and seek guidance
But how do you fit that on your resume? According to recruiters, you shouldn’t.
Listing stay-at-home parent duties on a resume isn’t going to impress a hiring manager, one recruiter writes on parenting forum Mumsnet. She says she’s seen more and more moms listing their day-to-day duties as resume points after a long maternity leave—and it totally turns her off. For instance, spelling out how busy you were doing laundry and getting groceries “while impressive as an exhaustive list, doesn’t really mean much when applying to an office-based role,” the recruiter writes.
The one thing employers actually look for on a resume:
“If you want to make that indelible first impression on a hiring manager, you must show movement and real progress, and quantify your accomplishments with real, hard data,” Brian de Haaff, CEO of Aha!, wrote for Huffington Post. “Your results-focused resume will present a more accurate snapshot of who you are and what you can do—and clear the way for others to see that too.”
Take, for example, a descriptor like “Successfully trained the customer success team to improve customer communications.” Although the task itself sounds impressive, De Haaff suggests trying this instead: “Created 25 template responses and trained the customer success team, reducing average response time to under two hours.”
Taking time off to raise your kids is commendable, but framing it wrong could sound like you’re shaming the person reading your resume. For instance, never imply that parents who don’t stay at home are doing their kids a disservice. “You never know if your interview panel will consist of a [full-time] working, single mom like me who finds it pretty insulting that working means her children apparently lost out on ‘the attention they needed and deserved,’” the recruiter writes.
That said, paternity or maternity leave doesn’t have to turn into a questionable gap on a resume. The recruiter on Mumsnet said she didn’t mind when parents simply listed “stay-at-home mom” on their resume without the bullet points.
Plus, any other work you’ve done during maternity leave, like blogging or volunteering, could definitely catch a recruiter’s eye in a good way, says recruiter and career strategist Jenny Foss. “Depending on the types of positions you’re applying for, anything from planning charity auctions to recruiting volunteers to bookkeeping for an after-school club can be relevant,” she writes on The Muse.
Now that you’re ready to start your job application, watch out for these resume mistakes that could cost you the job.
Grammatical errors and misspellings may be the number-one cause of employer frustration with resumes. According to a 2013 CareerBuilder survey, 58 percent of employers said resume typos were one the biggest reasons they did not hire employees.
[Source: The Independent]