Work-at-Home Mom Needs to Explain Resume Gaps

Nancy writes:
Do you have any suggestions on how to explain/validate long periods of professional
work gaps in a resume? I am a stay-at-home mother and need some convincing
and creative ways to describe this recent position on my resume.
I would appreciate any input.

The Career Doctor responds:
I know I risk the wrath of some of the women reading this blog but I
don’t really like to see resumes that under experience list something cute
such as “Household Manager” or “Domestic Coordination Specialist” as job
title for women who stay at home to manage their households and parent
their children. Of course with a traditional chronological resume if you don’t
list something for when you stayed at home you will have huge gaps between jobs.
So you really have three options. First you can take the approach listed
above and make your time at home a category under experience. And while
I realize there are many responsibilities involved — I was fortunate enough to
be a stay-at-home dad for a few months a long long time ago — I still don’t think
from an employer’s prospective that it qualifies to go in this section.
Second you can consider experimenting with reorganizing your resume into a chrono-functional or hybrid resume that
is organized around skills clusters (such as communications leadership
organizational etc.) rather than specific jobs and experience. Unfortunately this
style of resume is on the outs right now because employers fear you are
hiding something by taking this approach.
Third you can look beyond your household and compile all the volunteering freelancing or other part-time or educational experiences you may have had and use those to show
that you were still using and perfecting your skills.
Remember that the goal of your resume is to get your foot in the door — to get you that
job interview — and once in the interview you can decide how to position yourself — your experiences skills and accomplishments — to sell the employer on your candidacy.
Learn more about mastering resumes by using one of more of the excellent resources
found in the Resume and CV Resources
section of Quintessential Careers.
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