If you’re a parent who has taken time off to raise your family, you’ll know what this means. The parenting gap is an obvious gap in your work history that could (before you see me, of course) read – “raising children for X amount of years”. The trap, however, is feeling like you have to hide or overcompensate for this in your résumé or application. Before we address the ‘parent gap’, please remember this – you do not have to justify your reasons for being a parent! Your objective, when re-entering the job market and applying for jobs, is to anticipate and simply address any questions the recruiter might have. What you need to do is simply showcase your relevancy, skills and knowledge directly relating to the position – regardless of the gap.
How to address the work history in your resume
Like every other candidate, your skills, experiences and knowledge are on display. Remember to ask yourself – is what you are including relevant, is it current, and are there any activities you undertook during your parenting gap that relate to this specific position?
A professional profile is an inclusion my clients receive in their resumes that helps to position them in the reader’s mind. This is a great place to address a career gap with a simple statement at the end of your profile: “I’m looking to return to an administrative role after several years of raising my family. I have spent the last six months completing online courses to ensure my skills and knowledge are current.” Don’t forget to account for the time span in your chronological work history as well.
How would using a professional resume writer help me address my career gap? Having a fresh, professional set of eyes can be the confidence booster you need to get out of the trap, but if nothing else – there is one clear benefit of engaging a professional resume writer. As a former recruiter, I see the things people miss. Where you might shrug off tuckshop volunteer or playgroup leader, I see cash handling, leadership and communication. Where you might see answering the phone or doing the books for your family business as ‘nothing’, I see bookkeeping and administration experience.
- Have you done some studying or up-skilling during this period?
- Have you attended any seminars or workshops, or perhaps organised local community events?
- Have you completed a first aid course, or studied up on bitcoin?
- Have you led a Scout group, or taught new parents to baby
- Are you: a) selling yourself short, or b) not able to qualify your day-to-day because it seems ‘normal’ or ‘insignificant’?
Well, good news! I regularly work with clients to draw out what they deem ‘not important’, and finesse what’s relevant and current to your résumé/application. It’s my job to expand on these recent experiences, and pre-empt any questions a recruiter may have about your work history and timeline.
When you break a job down into the skills that go into it, you can build a bridge almost anywhere.
My job is to build that bridge and help you get where you want to go.
As a parent myself, I know how daunting it can seem. A parenting gap is nothing to fear; the trap occurs when people stress about justifying or hiding their choices. You don’t need to explain why you’ve taken the time to raise your family, but you do need to show up with your best foot forward.
For more, see my Free Advice Friday video on this topic over on the Elite Facebook page.
TAKE THE NEXT STEP
I hope you’ve found this useful! If you need a little extra help to address your parenting gap and get you out of the trap, you can book a session with us to dicsuss your needs. Alternatively, you can find us over on our Facebook page where we post regular tips and tricks to help you successfully negotiate your return to work.
Elite Résumé Services is a boutique career consulting service. With a little polish and some new, shiny Elite packaging, you’ll stand a cut above the rest.
Adriana runs Elite Resume Services, a boutique career consultancy that engages with job seekers to create resumes and cover letters, address selection criteria and deliver personalised interview coaching and job readiness preparation. Before starting Elite, Adriana worked in one of the countrys top recruiting firms. She specialised in recruiting contractors across a variety of industries and would receive hundreds of resumes each day and interview countless applicants. All of this knowledge and experience is now directed towards helping Elite's clients achieve their career goals. Adriana works tirelessly to support women who are negotiating their return to the workforce after raising their families, as well as support the partners of our Defence members, who experience career disruption due to Defence postings. These are her own lived experiences, and are particularly close to her heart!