Top 5 Resume Tips for Moms Returning to the Workforce

Moms looking to go back to work after taking time off to raise a child often face a "resume gap." Here are expert tips for getting your resume in tip-top shape to get you hired.

"I'm a pariah."

That's how one mom who had taken a break from the workforce to raise her infant felt when she was ready to get a job outside the home again. Despite her many career accomplishments, a polished CV, and many submitted applications... crickets.

But according to a now-viral LinkedIn post, one quick change to her resume changed everything. The mom, previously a "CMO for a very large, very well-known retailer," received the advice of Robynn Storey, CEO of Storeyline Resumes.

"I suggested," Storey wrote in her post, "that instead of putting the usual 'took some time off' we instead put a little picture of the baby....and a banner that read, 'see below for all of my professional accomplishments, but this little guy is my biggest accomplishment of all."'

It did the trick. That same mom who got "nada" when it came to interviews and offers? According to the post, she "accepted a 300K package with flex time."

It's an unusual strategy, but, Storey wrote, "the more genuine, the more relatable, the more interesting...the better your results. There are no hard and fast rules. Babies and all."

That's a sentiment Colleen Curtis, Chief Community Officer at The Mom Project, agrees with. The Mom Project is a digital talent marketplace and community that connects professionally accomplished women with companies.

An image of a mom at her computer with her child.
Getty Images.

"You have to be comfortable with the story you are telling, in your resume and the rest of your application," says Curtis. "If you are true to yourself and confident in your journey, then that will come across as exceptional."

Working on getting back into the workforce? Here are five more resume tips from the experts when it comes to giving yourself a leg up with your resume:

Call Out Your Decision to Pause Your Career

When returning to work after staying at home with a baby, says Storey, the key is "to communicate and be honest on your resume about the decision you made to raise your kiddos. It is important that your resume is not trying to 'cover' it up. It is admirable and hard to make the decision to put your career on hold to raise your children."

Be Proud

Along those lines, Curtis says to "own" your career pause. "Life evolves and there is no shame in stepping away from the paid workforce to contribute significantly to the success of your family." Be proud of it and communicate it that way on your resume, adds Storey.

Emphasize Your Skills

Passion is not enough. "It's a good start, but you must be able to tie in your skills and experiences to what the hiring manager is looking for," according to Curtis. "Call out the matches between your skills and their needs in a clear and impactful way and be specific in your accomplishments."

Get a Proofreader

Check your work. "Proofread it, yes again," says Curtis. "Make sure there is consistency in the formatting. Look at it in different programs to see if anything looks weird in any of them. Then have one (or more) trusted peers review it for you."

Don't Undervalue Yourself

Just because you aren't being paid to manage schedules, oversee an annual (household) budget, or handle conflict resolution regularly, says Curtis, doesn't mean those things do not have value. Along with many other things you may have accomplished during your time out of an office. "Truly look deeply at your past years and see if you have any new or further developed skills. And, if you have the ability to volunteer, do." Curtis recommended Catch a Fire as a place to lend expertise.

That said, don't beat yourself up if you just don't have the time. "We all know that kids are a 24/7 job, so you may not have time for anything else but that," says Storey. "But if you've volunteered at their school, taken a class, learned a new skill, brushed up your foreign language skills, or anything else, make an entry for it."

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