July 23, 2014

Resume: SAHM Returning To Work After a Gap

When Kristen Clark, an HR professional, returned to work after the birth of her first child, a daughter now four, she didn’t mention the gap in her resume when she’d been at home.

In retrospect, she thinks that was a mistake.

Kristen Clark and her daughter

“I used to have an empty space on my resume, which I would openly explain during interviews, but I am sure that there were many times that my resume was disregarded before that point.”

Why did she decide to go with the most conventional description?

“I only added the “stay at home mom” line after I began my current position and saw the many negative things that are hidden in employment gaps (i.e, long stretches of unemployment following a nasty termination),” Kristen explained.

Kristen had written a blog post about how to address employment gaps, “To tell you the truth,” and thought she should heed “my own advice and not look as though I was hiding something.”

“When I was ready to go back to work after being at home, I did not have anything to fill that gap on my resume, and I think that my resume was probably passed over many times as someone who had just been unemployed for a long period of time.”

Are these terms right for a resume? Chief of Home Operations, Stay at home parent, full time parent/mom, house manager?

Should a mom returning to paid work outside the home use a title like Chief of Home Operations (COHO) or home manager in their resume to cover the period when she was a home looking after children or even elderly relatives?

Kristen says:  “As for the term ‘stay at home mom,’ I have seen many variations (stay at home parent, full time parent/mom, house manager), but many of those feel to me like women are trying to overcompensate … as though the role of Mom isn’t good enough.”

“That’s what I did during that period: I was a Mom who stayed at home with my daughter.”

“And now I am a Mom who works in an office during the day. The term is simply a preference for me.”

Our thanks to Kristen for generously providing her resume as an example for other women. Yeah!

Download Kristen’s Resume >>

If you’d like to help other moms returning to the workplace, please send us a copy of your resume (julie@momstowork.com) and we’ll post it.

It may also be a way to get publicity if you are job seeker!!!

Follow Kristen on Twitter.

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Filed Under: Cover Letters & ResumesFeaturedMoms Returning to WorkWorking Moms Resources

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About the Author: Julie Power is a writer and editor with experience in both the United States and Australia. After living in the United States for 16 years, she recently returned to live in Sydney with her husband and twin boys (9 years old). Follow @juliepower





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  1. Katherine says:

    I blanched when I saw that blank listing “stay-at-home mom” on the resume without any further comment. Weren’t there ways you were active in your community during that time? Whether it’s organizing playgroups (or even participating in them) or fundraising for school and religious organizations, or managing your household finances/budget/health care decisions, wasn’t there anything you did during that time that would bear on your professional life? I’m not sure of the right answer but I wonder if there’s some better way to present it. The at-home moms I know are so busy all the time; when I look at everything they manage to accomplish, I think that any corporation would be lucky to snag them.
    .-= Katherine´s last blog ..Spreading the Love- Baked Macaroni &amp Cheese Recipe =-.

  2. Kristen says:

    Hi Katherine,
    I stayed at home with my daughter for only 10 months, so I was really very focused on her and our home during that period. I have seen many resumes that list volunteering and household management responsibilities, and I think that you are absolutely right that they should be included and tied to skills used in the business world (that piece is very important-everything on a resume should showcase how skills can be used in the workplace) This is one of those cases where a resume is an individual document. I was a mother during that time. Period. That was my focus, so that is what I state on my resume. And, for me, I feel that is enough justification for that period of time.
    Kristen

  3. [...] HR exec Kristen Clark’s advice: she left a gap that she later regretted. She’s even given us a copy of her resume to show [...]

  4. Nice blog right here! Additionally your web site lots up fast! What host are you the use of? Can I get your affiliate hyperlink in your host? I wish my web site loaded up as fast as yours lol
    Resume Builder´s last blog post … 1

  5. Dionne says:

    Hi Kristen,

    Is it possible for you to repost your resume again? I am just now reading your blog and was hoping to see your resume as I am a mother of 4 who too is returning to work with several blank periods in her resume. I have been searching online and have found it quite difficult to find an example of a sahm’s resume!! Thanks in advance!

  6. joy says:

    Hi Dionne, Thanks for letting us know about the broken link! The link is fixed and her returning to work resume can be found at http://www.momstowork.com/wp-content/uploads/MotherResumeKristenClark.pdf

    Thanks so much!

    -joy

  7. Shymali says:

    It was also a nightmare for me when i decide to resume the career after the birth of my baby, but fortunately om sai creche vasundhara enclave of Delhi helped me a lot. I joined the service tension free.
    Shymali´s last blog post … Delhi creche

  8. Adeline Bergemann says:

    I’m not sure if it’s possible to find a job in a country in the language of which you don’t speak even a word (I guess). Russian and Polish are indeed quite similar in oral, but I think that even though that it won’t help you a lot.

  9. Gina says:

    Im at a stand still. I have been at SAHM for 21 Yrs.. My ex left me and my four kids + (I had his cuz daughter) 5 kids in all. 13,11,10,10 and 10. I was able not to have to work for a living but I pulled a lot of shifts at school, church and community for others who had to work. Now to my problem. My ex has let’s say ‘No longer giving me money’. Not sure if he will ever be able to. He was or is a lawyer. Never gave me what the court ordered as for statement not a penny. Im seeing a lawyer for that… I need a job we have very little money. So a resume is needed. I have done a lot of voulntering over the last 21 yrs. For paying work outside the home : While in college I worked my last year of college. Then we moved and I worked about one year while preganet with our fist child. Then I became a full time SAHM.
    I can’t find a exsample of a reume with that many years of SAHM as I have. The last of my kids will be leaving for college if I can find aid this fall. I would appicate any advise.
    I have been on line all day reading and your site sounded like you have your act together.

  10. Nncy says:

    I am a stay at home parent of a special needs pre-schooler. My time away from the work force has been focused on building and managing the team of service providers who work with my child. How would you reference this (if at all) on a resume without breaching your child’s confidentiality or creating a negative impression?

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