Writing your resume as a stay at home mom can be an intimidating experience. I literally just went through the process of finding a flexible job after being a stay at home mom for almost six years.
You also might be feeling extra stress given the health crisis. Or extra pressure to get a job and contribute to your family income. I totally get it. I’m right there with you!
But try to take things one day at a time. Getting a job is a process. Try to make small job search-related goals and accomplish just one thing each day.
When you break the process of writing a resume down into easy steps, it’s totally doable. Whether you’re applying for an online / remote job, a flexible / part-time job, or a traditional full-time job, I’ve got you covered!!
Whether or not you realize it, you’ve acquired an enormous amount of transferable skills during your leave. Skills that you can market in just about any industry and job type.
As daunting as it can be to start the process of updating your resume during a career transition, this article will help you learn five key resume tips for moms that break the process down into simple, easy steps (you got this, mama!).
See related: The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Resume
Resume Tip #1: Determine your career goal(s)
Are you looking for full-time, part-time, and/or contract work? How do you want to work? Do you want to work strictly from home? Or are you willing to venture outside the house and work in some high demand areas like healthcare, customer service, or errand / grocery delivery, etc?
If you aren’t sure, spend some time reflecting on which job situation will best meet your current needs. If you’ve got young kids in the house with you right now, you might consider a job that has flexible hours. That way, you can work when the kids are napping, doing homework, or late at night / early morning before the kids wake up.
If you are thinking of making a transition into a different field but you’re not yet sure where you want to go, writing your resume will be challenging. You can conduct research on sites like FlexJobs, LinkedIn, Indeed, and Simply Hired, and to find out which types of positions are available in your field of interest. Read about the job functions. Do they sound appealing? Also pay attention to the qualifications. Do you need to attain additional training or certifications? Can you afford to spend time taking courses?
There are many additional resources designed specifically to help moms returning to the paid workforce. A relatively new phenomenon called “returnships” are paid internships designed for both women and men who have taken a long hiatus from their professional careers (usually for family reasons). Path Forward is a program that partners with major corporations and provides these types of paid learning opportunities, as well as free job search seminars.
See related: The Ultimate Guide to Finding a Job
Resume Tip #2: Target your resume to a specific position
Once you figure out what your current career goal is, you want to tailor your resume to every single position you apply for. You might be thinking: why do I have to tailor a different resume to every job? What if I am applying for many jobs within the same industry? Even if you are applying for similar jobs, every job has a very specific list of skills and qualifications, including keywords.
Print out the job description and highlight all the keywords and qualifications the employer is seeking. Next, do a “background check” of all of your related skills, qualifications, and accomplishments and be sure to include these items throughout your resume.
Once you get one well-written draft of your resume, updating and targeting it will become easier and less time-consuming!
For example, you can see (and download) the resume templates we’ve carefully tailored for specific industries and life situations.
Resume Tip #3: Only include the most relevant information
I’ve been writing and editing resumes for nearly 20 years, and one of the most common questions I get asked is: how long should my resume be? The answer is: let the job description be your guide. The employer tells you exactly which information they want to see on your resume in the job announcement. If a past position or skill set doesn’t relate to the job for which you are applying, you can leave it off.
The golden rule for experience on the resume tends to be that if a position dates back longer than ten years, leave it off. However, let’s say you are applying for a position in marketing, and you have similar experience dating back 15 years. Should you include it? Absolutely!
Resume Tip #4: Categorize your resume according to the position for which you are applying
If you have a gap in your paid experience or you are planning to change career fields, creating a category under your contact information titled “Summary of Qualifications” or “Professional Profile” can be a useful way to showcase relevant skills. Use the job description to determine which skills to highlight.
Is your most recent work experience unrelated to your current career goal? You can create a category under your Summary of Qualifications titled “Relevant Work Experience” or “Relevant Skills” to highlight your most applicable experience. Under this category you can create another category titled something like “Additional Work Experience” to list additional, less-relevant positions.
Resume Tip #5: Craft a compelling, kick-butt cover letter
As tempting as it is, try not to just repeat information from your resume in your cover letter. Research the company and find out their mission, goals, projects, as well as challenges. How does the company’s mission relate to your work philosophy or goals? What specifically can you do to assist the organization?
Don’t be afraid to show a little of your personality. Unlike the resume, your cover letter is written in the first-person, allowing you to share first-hand about your passions, strengths, and interests.
Also, if you’ve got any gaps in your experience you are concerned about, cover letters are a great place to address them. But don’t go into too much detail or be too apologetic. Address the gap briefly, and then stress how you can contribute to the company and its goals.
It’s important to also tailor a cover letter every time you apply for a job. I network with hiring managers all the time, and many tell me that the majority of cover letters they receive (if candidates even bother to write one) are not targeted to the position or company. In order to make yourself stand out among the thousands of job applicants out there, crafting a well-written, targeted letter will make you stand out! Check out The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Cover Letter and The Four Step Process to Addressing Gaps in Your Cover Letter.