Bridging the Gap: Tips for Addressing Parenting Breaks on Your Resume.
Taking a parenting break from full-time employment can leave a gap in your resume, causing concern when you're ready to re-enter the workforce. Interestingly, LinkedIn data suggests that 79 percent of hiring managers would hire candidates with a resume gap.
Our article aims to guide you on effectively addressing and presenting this gap as part of your unique career story rather than a professional failing. Get ready because these actionable tips and insights are set to boost your confidence as you step back into the job market!
Understanding Employment Gaps
Job gaps happen. They are breaks in work you did. You may have a gap for many reasons. Sometimes, people stop working to care for their children or aging parents. This is called parenting or family caregiving responsibilities.
In some cases, it's because of an illness or injury.
Many workers faced employment gaps in 2020 due to COVID-19 too. Data shows four times as many women as men left jobs to care for kids during this time! Despite the reasons, 79 percent of hiring managers don't mind if there's a break in your work history.
The next step is learning how to talk about these job gaps on our resume and during job chats.
Addressing Resume Gaps due to Parenting
Addressing resume gaps due to parenting involves owning the gap, acknowledging that you're not alone, and identifying transferrable skills or newly acquired knowledge.
Owning the Gap
Don't hide the gap in your resume. Be open about it. It shows that you’ve taken time off for a good reason, like parenting. Many hiring managers understand this and respect it. In fact, around 79 percent of them would hire someone with a gap on their resume.
Stand tall when talking about your career break due to family care or parenting. This builds confidence in both you and potential employers. Use this as an asset instead of seeing it as a professional failing.
Acknowledging You're Not Alone
Many people face resume gaps. You are not alone in this. Many parents take time off work to care for family. In fact, four times as many women as men left jobs in September 2020 for family care.
Also, most hiring managers understand career breaks happen. As per a study, 79 percent of them are fine with hiring someone who has a gap on their resume. So know that you’re not the only one who took a break from work and it’s okay.
Identifying Transferrable Skills or Newly Acquired Knowledge
During a career gap, it's important to reflect on the skills and knowledge you've gained. Here are some valuable transferable skills or newly acquired knowledge that you can identify:
- Time management: Juggling household responsibilities and childcare requires excellent time management skills.
- Organization: Keeping track of schedules, appointments, and tasks demonstrates strong organizational abilities.
- Problem-solving: Addressing issues that arise in managing a household and children's needs showcases problem-solving skills.
- Communication: Effectively communicating with family members, teachers, and healthcare providers highlights your communication abilities.
- Adaptability: Handling unexpected situations and adapting to changing needs demonstrates adaptability in different environments.
- Multitasking: Balancing multiple tasks simultaneously shows your ability to handle various responsibilities efficiently.
- Negotiation: Negotiating with children or coordinating schedules with family members develops your negotiation skills.
- Empathy: Caring for children and managing family dynamics enhances your ability to understand and connect with others.
- Flexibility: Adapting to the ever-changing demands of parenting demonstrates flexibility in challenging situations.
- Tech proficiency: Being familiar with technology-related tasks such as online learning platforms or managing digital calendars showcases your tech proficiency.
- Financial management: Budgeting for family expenses and making sound financial decisions exhibits your financial management skills.
Organizing Your Resume and Professional Profile
Learn how to effectively include your parenting experience on your resume and highlight your skills, qualifications, and passion to stand out to potential employers. Read more for tips on organizing your resume and professional profile.
How to Include Parenting in Your Experience
- Highlight the skills gained through parenting, such as time management and organization skills.
- Emphasize any volunteer or leadership roles related to parenting, such as organizing school events or coaching a sports team.
- Include any online education or certification programs completed during your time as a parent.
- Mention any freelance work or consulting projects undertaken while balancing parenting responsibilities.
- Use specific examples to demonstrate how your experiences as a parent have prepared you for professional success.
- Discuss any professional development initiatives you pursued during your career break, such as attending industry conferences or workshops.
- Show how your problem-solving and communication skills have been honed through handling family-related challenges.
- Use keywords from job descriptions in your resume to align your parenting experience with the needs of potential employers.
- Consider using a combination format for your resume, which highlights both transferable skills and work experience chronologically.
- Avoid listing parenthood as a job title on your resume; instead, focus on the impactful contributions you made during that time.
COVID - 19 has caused a significant increase in the number of women leaving the workforce to attend to family care. According to a report, four times as many women as men dropped out of the labor force in September 2020.
LinkedIn data shows that 79 percent of hiring managers today would hire a candidate with a gap on their resume. 62 percent of professionals have experienced a career gap at some point in their career. 61 percent of women who have taken career breaks find it challenging to re - enter the workforce.
Focusing On Your Experience, Qualifications, and Passion
Highlighting your experience, qualifications, and passion is crucial when addressing a resume gap due to parenting. Emphasize the skills you gained during this time, such as multitasking, time management, and problem-solving.
Don't underestimate the value of volunteer work or any online courses or certifications you completed while on a career break. Connect your past experiences to the job requirements and showcase how they make you an ideal candidate.
Remember that hiring managers are becoming more open-minded about nontraditional career paths and appreciate the personal growth and dedication parents bring to the workforce.
Tips for Discussing Employment Gap in Cover Letter and Job Interviews
When addressing an employment gap in your cover letter for job interview, there are a few tips to keep in mind. First, be honest and transparent about the reason for your gap. Whether it was due to parenting responsibilities, illness, or any other valid reason, briefly explain it without going into too much detail.
Secondly, focus on the skills and knowledge you gained during your time away from the workforce. Highlight any certifications or online courses you completed, as well as any volunteer work or freelance projects you undertook.
This will demonstrate that you have been proactive in keeping yourself engaged and up-to-date.
Thirdly, emphasize your enthusiasm and commitment to reentering the workforce. Show employers that you are motivated and ready to contribute to their organization by discussing your career goals and how this position aligns with them.
Additionally, use specific examples of how you utilized your professional skills during your career break. Discuss problem-solving abilities, effective communication skills, and strong planning capabilities demonstrated in various contexts outside of formal employment.
Lastly, remember that many hiring managers today understand and appreciate candidates with resume gaps. In fact they often value the unique perspectives and experiences these individuals bring to the table.
By following these tips, job seekers can confidently address their employment gaps while showcasing their qualifications for potential employers.
Preparing to Reenter the Job Market
Refresh your professional presence, connect with your network, and strengthen your skills to prepare for reentering the job market.
Refreshing your professional presence
To reenter the workforce after parenting, you need to refresh your professional presence. Here are some steps you can take:
- Update your resume: Include any relevant skills or experiences gained during your time away from work. Highlight any certifications, online courses, or volunteer work you have completed.
- Polish your online presence: Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and showcases your skills and accomplishments. Consider joining career platforms like The Mom Project, which connect employers with parents seeking flexible job opportunities.
- Network: Reach out to contacts in your industry and let them know you are returning to the workforce. Attend networking events or join professional groups to expand your network and stay informed about job openings.
- Strengthen your skills: Take advantage of online classes or certification programs to update your industry knowledge and enhance your skill set. This will demonstrate to potential employers that you are committed to continuous learning and growth.
- Boost your confidence: Reentering the job market after a break can be intimidating, but remember that you have valuable skills and experiences to offer. Focus on your professional accomplishments and remind yourself of the value you bring to a company's success.
Connecting with your network
Connecting with your network is an important step in reentering the job market:
- Reach out to friends, family, former colleagues, and professional contacts.
- Let them know that you are actively seeking employment and ask if they have any leads or referrals.
- Attend networking events, both online and in - person, to meet new people and expand your network.
- Utilize social media platforms like LinkedIn to connect with professionals in your industry.
- Join relevant professional groups or associations to find opportunities and build relationships.
- Stay active and engaged in your network by sharing updates about your job search and industry trends.
Strengthening your skills
To prepare to reenter the job market after parenting, it's important to focus on strengthening your skills. Here are some ways you can do that:
- Take online classes or enroll in certification programs related to your field or industry. This will help you stay updated with the latest trends and enhance your knowledge.
- Attend networking events and connect with professionals in your desired field. Networking can help you learn about job opportunities and gain insights into the industry.
- Seek volunteer roles or freelance work that align with your professional interests. This will not only allow you to gain hands-on experience but also demonstrate your commitment to continuous learning.
- Consider consulting or coaching opportunities where you can leverage your expertise and support others in their career development.
- Invest time in personal and professional development through reading books, listening to podcasts, or attending webinars that are relevant to your career goals.
Additional Advice for Parents Re-entering the Workforce
Parents re-entering the workforce after a career break may face some unique challenges, but with the right guidance and mindset, they can navigate this transition successfully. Here are some additional advice for parents returning to work:.
- Emphasize your transferrable skills: Take stock of the skills you have developed during your time away from work, such as multitasking, problem-solving, and communication. Highlight these skills on your resume and in job interviews to show potential employers how valuable you can be.
- Update your professional profile: Make sure your online presence accurately reflects who you are professionally. Update your LinkedIn profile and other career platforms to showcase any recent certifications or volunteer roles you've taken on during your break.
- Consider part-time or flexible options: If full-time employment is not feasible at the moment due to childcare responsibilities or other family commitments, explore part-time or flexible job opportunities that align with your interests and skillset.
- Seek support from a career coach: Working with a career coach can provide valuable guidance and help boost confidence as you navigate the job market again. Coaches trained in co-active methods like those offered by Coaches Training Institute (CTI) or Katrina Georgiou Coaching can provide customized strategies tailored to your specific needs.
- Leverage networking connections: Reach out to former colleagues, friends, and acquaintances who may be able to offer guidance or refer you for job openings within their network. Networking events and online communities focused on professionals in similar situations can also provide valuable resources.
- Stay up-to-date with industry knowledge: Take advantage of online courses or certification programs that allow you to gain new skills or refresh existing ones related to your desired field of work. This demonstrates commitment to ongoing professional development.
- Self-care remains important: Remember that taking care of yourself is crucial throughout this process – mentally, emotionally, and physically - ensuring a healthy work-life balance will contribute positively towards both personal well-being and professional success.
By following these additional tips, parents re-entering the workforce can feel more confident and prepared for their job search. With determination, perseverance, and a focus on showcasing their valuable skills, they can successfully transition back into fulfilling work roles.
In conclusion, addressing resume gaps due to parenting is about owning your experience and acknowledging that you're not alone. Emphasize the skills and knowledge you gained during that time, organize your resume to highlight relevant experience, and confidently discuss the gap in cover letters and job interviews.
Remember that employers understand the challenges parents face, so focus on showcasing your qualifications, passion, and readiness to reenter the workforce. With a strong strategy in place, you can successfully navigate this transition and land your desired job opportunity.
Related Topics: You may also be interested in learning about preparing to return to work after parental leave, tips for staying productive at work as a new parent and balancing work and family tips for working parents.
I have been helping people build remote careers for over 20 years, so they can enjoy the same location and financial freedom that I do.
After graduating from the London University of the Arts, I worked as a journalist, then become a direct-response marketer. Launching my first online business in 2000 allowed me and my family to relocate to the other side of the planet to live a better life. I was one of the first digital nomads and still love the lifestyle that remote working allows me.
I'm now an ambassador for the concept of remote working. I help people build online careers, follow their passions and live the lifestyle of their dreams.