If you’ve been out of the workforce for a while looking after your kids, you might be wondering what to put on your CV to cover the time you’ve been a stay at home mum.
Whether you’ve been home a year or two or 15, the dilemma can be the same for many women.
Employers legally aren’t supposed to discriminate against you because you’ve got kids and potential caring responsibilities (you know, when your kids inevitably catch every gastro bug and disgusting cold that’s going around). But we all fear that they actually will and you can’t prove that’s why you didn’t get an interview.
Of course there are jobs around that specifically say they would suit a mum returning to the workforce after being home, which is fantastic, and if only more employers were flexible, welcoming and understanding that just because a woman has put work on hold for a few years to raise her kids doesn’t mean she doesn’t have skills and experience from her pre-kid work days and what she has gained as a household manager.
1. Don’t Lie
First of all, there’s no point lying about it. There’s also no point pretending it didn’t happen as this can backfire and make it look like you have a serious gap in your work history that, if they want to jump to conclusions, someone looking at your CV might assume you’ve been fired or haven’t been a stable employee.
2. Use A Different Term Other Than “Stay At Home Mum” (SAHM)
Having the term “stay at home mum” on your CV when you’re returning to the workforce can potentially turn employers off. We all know that you work your arse off every day keeping the house running and the kids fed, clothed, bathed and taken wherever they need to be taken to. But for some, the perception of the stay at home mum is that she doesn’t really do much at all… and if the person in a business who is recruiting has that idea, they’ll be wondering what you could possibly offer.
Instead cover off that period with a term like “parental leave” or “caring responsibilities”.
And if you are in an interview and they ask you, definitely be upfront about it and assure them that the reason for this gap in your work history is because you have been at home but you’re ready to return to the workforce, and talk up all your skills!
3. Make sure you list all your skills
Just because you’ve been at home parenting the kids and running a household doesn’t mean you don’t have skills that you can bring to the workplace. It’s likely you’ve become a master at budgeting, negotiation, time management, multi-tasking, have honed your research and decision-making skills and keeping the little buggers happy requires exceptional customer service, right?
Similarly if you’ve been doing things like using social media and writing a blog, you can demonstrate you have sound knowledge of social media, publishing and communication.
If you’ve been helping out on school committees or at the canteen, or involved in your kids’ sporting clubs and so on, you can list any skills gained in these endeavours too. This can include cash handling, food preparation, customer service, working collaboratively on projects to deadlines, marketing skills, event management experience and so on.
If you’ve done any short-term freelance assignments, advisory or consulting work at all during your years out of the workforce, make sure you list this too.
4. It’s easier than you think to gain new skills. too.
In this day and age, there are all sorts of online training courses you can participate in, either for free or for rather small fees to become accredited. This can show that your time out of the workforce has been spent, in part, gaining new skills that you can bring to an employer.