Mom Who Reentered the Workforce After 7 Years Tells Hiring Managers To Consider Parents With 'Resume Gaps'

Parents who have stepped away from their careers can add incredible value to their workplaces. One mom, who successfully navigated a resume gap, wants hiring managers to remember that.

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Photo: Getty Images/Marko Geber

Parents who have stepped away from their paying jobs will tell you this: Running a household and caring for children demands skills you used in the workplace. It also forces you to quickly acquire new ones along the way.

Yet full-time parenting experience doesn't always translate on paper. While we're finally normalizing the practice of adding parenting to your resume, many people who took pauses from their paying careers are left with unexplained gaps on their resumes and the fear that they may never get hired again.

Prabha Kannan was one of these parents. Kannan spent seven years working (yes, working) as a stay-at-home mom before getting hired at Apple, where she became a managing editor. Kannan reflected on the experience of re-entering the workforce in a viral LinkedIn post celebrating her last day at her dream job.

"When I started at Apple in 2017, I'd just come off of a 7-year run as a stay-at-home mom with some light freelancing on the side," Kannan wrote. "With that dreaded 'resume gap,' I figured I had no shot at transitioning back to the workforce and doing meaningful, challenging work. But Apple took a chance on me then (and several times again over the next 4 years), and for that I'll be forever grateful."

Kannan is encouraging other hiring managers and employers to take note. "If you're a recruiter or hiring manager, please consider candidates with resume gaps, especially mothers looking to re-enter the corporate world," she wrote. "The life experience and executive skills moms build during those gap years are unparalleled. In fact, the head of HR for a large tech company reinforced this when she told me her hiring philosophy: If you want to get shit done, hire a woman. If you want to get EVERYTHING done, hire a mother."

She's right. Parenting teaches you to power through a never-ending to-do list, to prioritize, to multitask, to remain on top of so much information, to be incredibly responsible and organized, and to communicate effectively (if you can reason with a toddler, you can reason with anyone). While we're waiting on the rest of the world to understand how well these skills translate to the workplace, Kannan shared a bit of advice for other parents looking to transition back into their careers.

"First, reframe your 'resume gap' as a 'resume gift,' a period of growth, ambition, and self-investment," Kannan tells "During my resume gift years, I volunteered with the PTA and my alumni association, and I took writing classes that helped me get pieces into major publications. Even though this wasn't full-time work, I was able to prove my hustle to potential employers when I was ready to re-enter the workforce. The sad truth is that the industry isn't ready (yet) to consider parenting experience on par with traditional work experience, so parents need the foresight to go into those pause years with intention and purpose."

As for listing your parenting experience on your resume, Kannan advises speaking with a resume consultant who can help you present and amplify your qualifications. Making the transition from stay-at-home parent to traditional employment can be tricky, but Kannan believes we're starting to see positive change.

"These last couple of years have been eye opening. We already know that so many women have left the workforce during the pandemic because of child care issues, burnout, and layoffs," she says.

Kannan reminds us that the women's workforce participation rate is at 57 percent and the lowest it's been since 1988.

"The situation was already imbalanced against women, and the pandemic has only exacerbated the disparity. But now, we're starting to see the balance tip in our favor, with reports of more job openings than unemployed workers. If recruiters want to fill those jobs, they will need to look at people with resume gaps. Period."

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