During your time as a stay-at-home mom, you developed numerous skills that are valuable to employers. You refined your organizational skills, developed interpersonal skills and maintained a leadership role. Including parenting as a job on your resume isn’t typically recommended unless your career directly involves child care or teaching. However, you can document your experience and fill the resume gap created during those years with the right resume format for your circumstance.
Prospective employers want to see your experience and skills relate to the position they’re trying to fill. Focus on career-relevant experiences that showed you maintained interest in your profession and worked to improve your competence while you were out of the workforce. If parenting is directly relevant to your desired position, you may include it, but always maintain a professional tone. Avoid cute job titles and silly job descriptions that detract from your skills.
Emphasize Experience with a Chronological Format
The chronological format highlights your employment history beginning with your most recent job. It’s the traditional format preferred by many employers, but it will clearly show a work gap. Fill that gap with relevant volunteer work, and list activities and experiences that augmented your career skills. Freelance or part-time work, as long as it was steady, can also be included in the chronology. List these experiences just as you would any other position using the job title, the name of the organization and a details of the work you accomplished in order above your previous employment.
Focus on Skills with a Functional Format
The functional format focuses on your skills and attributes instead of chronologically listing work history. If you have few outside activities that correlate to your desired job and no previous work history you might consider this type of resume. It can allow you to capitalize on skills you developed as a parent, without listing parenting as a job. To document your experience with this format, create a section for each work-related skill you have. Use specific examples and list accomplishments, but make each description sound professional and relevant to the job.
Highlight Qualifications with a Hybrid Format
Hybrid resumes combine skill-based focus with chronology. A qualifications summary section at the top lists your skills and proficiencies, followed by a chronological listing of employment and volunteer work. This format immediately highlights your qualifications, including those skills you obtained during your time as a stay-at-home mom. You also have flexibility to include professional development. Include online courses, community classes and independent learning in relevant subjects for your career field. If you maintained a professional license or certification by attending continuing education courses, list those as well.