When I had my daughter I took about a year off work – so I have some first-hand experience of being a stay at home mum (but far from an easy career option!)
I have also had another gap in my career of approximately 4 months, when I moved from one area of the country to another.
Even though I did a little work on and off during these periods re-entering the workplace was still not straightforward!
The biggest problem stay-at-home mothers have when writing their C.V.
A stay-at-home mum will have gaps in their career experience which need to be filled.
Gaps on a CV are generally not liked by employers or recruitment advisors who tend to suspect that during this time the potential employee may have lost skills and abilities they previously had.
Employers also may have concerns that a stay-at-home mother have lost their work ethic and drive (a very unfair assumption!).
What you need to do, as a stay-at-home mum returning to work, is to fill those gaps.
Filling the Gaps in your C.V.
List the skills you have acquired and used at home, describe each of them and put them into your C.V.
You can’t lie and say you were in a job when you weren’t, but you could say something like:
“During my career break, I did the following things and activities… “
You may have done charity or voluntary work (helping out at the playgroup or nursery, for instance) anything along these lines will help.
If you know you are going to become a stay-at-home mother – Prepare!
Firstly, if you know you will be taking a career break make sure you have an online profile before you leave your job and your work colleagues. They can be important in the future.
Keep in contact with your industry and the people in it!
If you want to return it will be a lot easier than if you have lost those contacts completely.
Join Linkedin or other business-oriented social networking service.
Maintaining your links to previous colleagues can be used to kickstart your job search when you return to the workplace.
Another thing you can do which can really help is to keep up to date with industry news. Read online material and the occasional journal or magazine. Know what is going on in your area of work.
When you do decide to return to work you should then be up to date and you won’t lack skills and knowledge.
Common concerns stay-at-home mums have when writing their C.Vs
The most common concern I see amongst the stay at home mums who come to me for advice is the same loss of confidence anyone who has been off work for any length of time feels.
They may feel they are not very useful in the workplace because their skills are out of date or rusty (This is where reading the odd industry article can really help)
The most important thing is to try to build your self esteem.
Look at your C.V. as a useful tool that you can begin to use again – Consider the following:
What else could I put down on this C.V?
Could I go on an I.T. or an online course?
What could help me gain skills in areas I used to feel more confident about?
You could consider doing an evening course or training in the day once a week for 1-2 hours – you’d be surprised how much that could help rebuild your confidence and connections with other people.
Lastly, make sure you use a good C.V. guide and follow them through – You could start by downloading my CV writing rules).
Identify areas of weakness and then try to gain and record as much experience as possible to put on your C.V. – and before long you’ll look good on paper, and hopefully feel better in person!
Have you got any tips or experience of returning to work?
Have you had to return to a job or career after a period of not working? if so was there anything that helped you which I haven’t included above?
If there is get in touch and let me know – I’m always looking for new ways to help people get the career they want!